Today was the day we've spent the semester preparing for: our presentation to our Global Consulting Program client. My team had spent many hours, and a few flights, working on our research and deliverables. Weekly late night calls have been the norm because 9 pm in Champaign is 10 am the next day in Shanghai. We even decided to make our presentation bi-lingual, given that one of the two employees we were presenting to did not speak much English. We have two Mandarin speakers on our team, CP and Jay.
We went into the presentation not fully knowing what to expect in terms of engagement and interaction with the client. To my delight, the client's face lit up when we began the presentation in Mandarin, with PowerPoint slides in English and Mandarin. They both began asking questions almost immediately, rather than waiting until the end of the presentation. As a result, we had a very engaging, conversational presentation with occasional recaps from CP and Jay to keep everyone in the loop. The client was very pleased with our findings.
Then, to our surprise, the client took us out to lunch. I picked the spiciest dish, a fried chicken with chili peppers and rice, which produced warnings from the team. But it was the dish our Chinese client recommended - and I could handle the spice. We enjoyed getting to know the clients better over lunch. After an amazing day in Shanghai, a city with the urban grit and pace of New York and the ostentatiousness of Las Vegas, we came away feeling proud of the work we had done.