Vision of Daphne Halkias and Paul Thurman

When Daphne Halkias and Paul Thurman joined our team, we recognized that their agreement demonstrated a commitment to devote some of their valuable time and energy to our mission. Of course we were grateful, but we were also curious: how do their own perspective and goals align with ours? We asked them, and they’ve agreed for us to publish their joint responses here.

§ Why is it important to experience China from the inside?

“Many students believe that emerging economies can be successfully studied via textbooks, quick one- or two-week visits, and/or some videoconferencing. Nothing could be further from the truth! Unless you’ve been on the ground–and seen China not just from Beijing or Shanghai but from some smaller towns, villages, and rural districts–you haven’t really experienced the country, the culture, and the climate in which one of the world’s largest emerging economics is growing. 

So often companies, particularly from the West, only ‘visit’ China to then return home to proclaim they have ‘done business’ in China. This has proven wrong over and over, again. One must study with the locals–and experience local flavors, tastes, cultures, and manners–in order to really ‘do business’ in China. This is best accomplished with both classroom and on-the-ground, practical instruction…and the Oxford Bright Scholars Program provides precisely the rich combination of both, supported by a global faculty, in order to not only engulf but to engage and to empower participants in China’s fantastic personal, business, and cultural heritages.”

§ What do you believe makes this program useful?

“The Oxford Bright Scholars Program is useful specifically because it is (1) in-country, (2) directly in-volved in Participants’ learning and living (not just a handoff to others), and (3) in-culcating by creating ample opportunities for participants to both live and learn in China in ways that most business executives can only dream of. Those with local experiences and networks/contacts clearly rise to superior levels of international business and academic performance compared with others (and other programs) that simply try to train people from afar. In-country, involved, and inculcated:  these are the key program differences!”

§ What’s a feature of the programme that you are particularly excited about? 

“I am very excited about the opportunities that the Oxford Bright Scholars Program offers to participants in terms of summer work in China. So many other program only offer introductions–which only spread resumes around to firms that may or may not be interested. This program, however, works actively with successful employers to find solid matches between a participant’s interest and the firm’s needs thereby creating a solid summer internship/practicum experience that can be leveraged in the future–both on a participant’s resume and beyond. In fact, some summer internships become full-time offers upon graduation.  This is another key Oxford Bright difference: working in-country with participants to find in-country employment and internship experiences!”


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