Enlightening and transformative journey of my campus life in Shanghai

(study.edu.sh.gov.cn) | Jul 14, 2023

Editor's note: We have asked expats living in China to share their stories about the cities they work and live in. Zeno Jager is from Australia and he participated in the Antai MBA program at Shanghai Jiao Tong University from 2019 to 2023. Presently, he is employed at King & Wood Mallesons in Australia.


Zeno Jager (third from left) engages in group discussions with his classmates at the Xuhui campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Reflecting on my time as a student at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, I can't help but feel that it has been an incredibly enlightening and transformative journey.

One of the greatest advantages of being part of the university's Antai MBA program is the opportunity to reside in Shanghai, a bustling metropolis that is home to more than 24 million people.

The university campus itself is located in the heart of Shanghai and boasts a picturesque setting with a mix of traditional and contemporary buildings.

I vividly recall the serene mornings before my early classes, witnessing individuals practicing tai chi, playing chess, and enjoying their tea amidst the tranquility of the campus.

The campus is a great base to discover Shanghai. The bund, the numerous museums and parks, can all be easily accessed from the nearby metro. In fact, living here gives you access to explore China more broadly. It's very easy to plan weekend or week-long trips around the diverse regions of the country.

Campus life is also thoroughly enjoyable. You can have a delicious Chinese meal in the canteen with other students during lunch break or before an evening class, celebrate an end of semester dinner with your team, and take part in various activities.

I was lucky enough to complete half my course in English, and the other in Chinese. While not a standard practice at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, this was a solution that the teachers kindly arranged for me to enable me to graduate, having moved back to Australia during the pandemic.

This was not without challenges, as finding yourself in a classroom of 60 or more highly intelligent, ambitious, students can be daunting. But this was all part of the challenge and the fun.

The course enabled me to gain key insights into local Chinese business mentality. Taking part in these classes really allowed me to meet and forge friendships with the next generation of Chinese business leaders, as well as foreign students interested in doing business with China.

The broad range of classes allows students to choose electives that are of interest to them, in addition to the key foundational subjects that we all take part in. I have a particular interest in entrepreneurship, technology, and consumer behaviour – all of which were catered for and excellently delivered.

The students I have met at the university all have unique career plans, whether it's founding a startup, running a local company or a multinational, becoming an investor, or starting a foundation.

There are so many options, and when living and learning with others in this setting, you never know where the next great idea or business partner will come from.

It has been a fantastic few years, and I look forward to returning again over the years and staying in touch with those I have met along the way.


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