Shanghai Chapter Hosts BYU Professor
Shanghai—China’s most populous city—is now home to a growing BYU Management Society chapter—the only one in mainland China.
“I arrived in Shanghai in August 2011 and noticed there wasn’t a chapter here,” says Sean Luangrath, former chapter president. “After collaborating with other alumni, along with Helena Hannonen and Rixa Oman, we were able to get a chapter organized in April 2012.”
The young chapter has evolved from nearly all expats into a group comprised of nearly equal numbers of local residents and international alumni.
“Today the mix of members is about 60 percent expats and 40 percent locals,” Luangrath says. “The active president is a local Chinese member which helps in the chapter’s transition to complete self-sufficiency as expats leave to different locations.”
Following Management Society tradition, the Shanghai chapter hosted its first large event in May this year. The conference featured Tom Foster, a renowned global supply chain management professor from the Marriott School.
Foster focused on best practices and global trends within the supply chain industry in his evening address at Shanghai’s Hong Kong New World Tower.
“Professor Foster’s presentation was very relevant to our Chinese audience,” Luangrath says. “A large portion of the business here involves supply chain, and the members are keenly interested in adopting and optimizing it in China’s unique environment.”
The business environment isn’t the only thing that sets the Shanghai chapter apart. It is operated to comply with China’s religious policies too.
“Chinese policy prohibits local Chinese members from meeting with expats for religious purposes,” Luangrath says. “Because of that there are no prayers during meetings or any church-related discussions. We focus solely on professional networking and promoting moral and ethical leadership.”