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A new role in business

Updated: 2022-04-13 08:56 ( China Daily )
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David Chen (second from left) and his team receive the third prize at the Google Cup Entrepreneurship Competition held at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2020. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Undergraduate helps create fresh way of teaching entrepreneurial skills and strategies, Cao Chen reports in Shanghai.

Mystery games have enjoyed a growing popularity in China, with throngs of youngsters banding together to spend hours solving fictional crimes.

This new trend might even spread to the academic sphere in the near future, courtesy of David Chen, a marketing undergraduate at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and his peers from 12 Chinese universities.

The American is part of a team that is looking to incorporate the role-playing nature of mystery games into the pedagogy for the university's international business course.

Over the past several months, the team has been creating scripts and teaching manuals for classes where students get to role-play historically famous business figures in order to better understand their strategies and negotiation tactics.

"We have finished two scripts based on the school's database and will carry out internal tests soon. I'm looking forward to it," says Chen.

The 21-year-old is no stranger to the art of negotiation. According to Chen, he was first exposed to this integral aspect of business when he accompanied his father, who is a businessman dealing with international investments, to conferences and meetings in Asia.

"Observing their meetings was like hearing stories. I had already learned a lot about business by the time I was 16," Chen says. "My father has constantly imparted to me the fundamentals of doing business."

One memorable learning experience, he recalls, took place in Boracay in the Philippines, where Chen and his family wanted to buy some drinks, but had no cash on them as they were all clad in swimming attire.

"When we approached a stall on the beach and explained our situation, the merchant allowed us to have the drink first and pay him another day. We were so glad. When we returned home, my father taught me that showing faith in one's customers would result in customers repaying that faith," he says.

The childhood that Chen experienced has inherently helped him to develop a strong business acumen and an inquisitive mind that never stops asking questions about how to improve things to maximize profits.

For example, when he came across a long line of people outside a milk tea store, Chen recalls that he immediately pondered potential solutions that could leverage the power of computer algorithms to improve the efficiency of resource allocation.

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