By Victor Dietrich, Junior Project Manager & HEC Lausanne Ambassador
What a pleasant stay in Shanghai! Six months ago, I arrived from my small village of fewer than 200 inhabitants to Shanghai, a megalopolis with its population size three times that of Switzerland! After a first visit to China last summer with the China Hardware Innovation Camp (CHIC), where my team prototyped and manufactured a connected product in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, I had the pleasure of working as a junior project manager for swissnex China and as an ambassador for HEC Lausanne in China. I was excited to be part of this highly dynamic and innovative environment that has a rapid adoption rate and a clear plan to become a leader in many technology areas by 2025.
I joined the Innovation and Entrepreneurship team in October and had the opportunity to work on various projects with different tasks to accomplish and learn from this experience. I remember my first project where we participated in China's largest trade fair, the CIIE. I had the pleasure of organizing an event where we presented swissnex China's activities and projects as well as a presentation of Swiss start-ups to thousands of local audience. In the following months I had the opportunity to participate and represent swissnex China at events such as the Sino-European Health Technology Innovation Week in Nanjing, and the opening of the Sino-Swiss TechnoPark and the SSBICom in Chongqing. At these events, I have gone out of my comfort zone by giving speeches to more than 200 people. I also had the chance to visit exciting companies and see how innovative some players are. Cainiao’s autonomous warehouse and its hundreds of robots were incredible. Landspace and its rocket projects were fascinating. I also enjoyed visiting one of the Siemens factories and discovering all the project management tools that have been implemented in the production line. My last major project was to assist in organizing the Swiss Pavilion at CES ASIA with more than 20 Swiss start-ups joining us to represent the Swiss innovation ecosystem, and to join the competition to win some of the highly coveted startup awards. This role gave me the opportunity to meet exceptional people I could not have met in other situations and to build a quality network.
For HEC Lausanne, the organization of events was fun, and the very encouraging participants were always happy to participate. The Shadow Banking conference with Prof. Ying Liu received much positive feedback and generated a lot of interest through many interactions. Supporting exchange students and organizing alumni gatherings was also fun, although it was not always easy to stimulate the alumni community. I also appreciated the opening ceremony of the China Economics and Finance Center, at which the Dean of HEC Lausanne was present, and where I participated in a round table discussion with other stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem.
My experience at swissnex China has been much more than just work. I had an incredibly fun time with this wonderful team. There are so many impactful moments that I simply can't include them all here. The retreat in Beijing with the whole group was great. The countless lunches, dinners, brunches, and drinks. KTV, small getaways and other weekend activities were fun.
I want to thank all the people at swissnex China for giving me this opportunity. Working and spending time with great minds has inspired me and I look forward to seeing you all again soon. More than just colleagues, I found many friends here.
I would recommend China to all the sceptics as China has much more to offer than what we can read in the news or see on the TV. The Chinese are incredibly friendly and generous, even though communication can often be the main problem. Chinese food and its eight distinct cuisines has a lot to offer.
The next steps for me will be to write my master's thesis on artificial intelligence in China. But first, I will travel to Japan and Korea, as well as showing my family a little bit of China and add a city or two to my long list of Chinese experiences.