Ryan Fick:
Handpicked for China International Experience

Ryan Fick already had a passion for traveling and international business when he was a high school senior considering which college to choose. Since his sister attended WSU, he was familiar with the campus and drawn to the University’s family atmosphere and strong alumni network. But he was still undecided until visiting campus and meeting Finance Professor David Whidbee, then interim dean of the Carson College of Business.

“While attending a Carson College event for prospective students, I learned about all the great opportunities that would be available to me, including studying abroad,” Fick says. “I was given a lot of support and direction by the Carson College staff. It became very clear to me when deciding between colleges that WSU treated me on a much more personal level.”

Yuecheng Lake at the base of Mt. Qingcheng

Fick chose to become a Carson Coug and double major in international business and innovation and change, a path that will help him reach his goal of obtaining a management position within a business that works on a global scale.

Discovering China

Last summer during his sophomore year, Fick received a special WSU invitation to participate in the Discover SWUFE program, a two-week summer experience at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE) in the city of Chengdu, located in China’s Sichuan Province.

Fick, who never dreamed he would go to China so early in his life, was able to take advantage of the opportunity with the support of an $800 Carson College of Business scholarship that paid for his travel.

Fick on the stairs of Laojun Pavilion, on Mt. Qingcheng

“I am extremely thankful for the Carson College scholarship that supported my travel to China and enabled me to take advantage of this amazing opportunity,” Fick says. “I gained immense insight on China’s economic strategies and its political system and built close connections with students from around the world.”

Developing global perspective

The SWUFE experience focused on business innovation and entrepreneurship. Fick says he was most surprised to learn how China’s joint venture strategy works. When a foreign enterprise decides to sell its product in China, it is paired with a Chinese company to help with the transition process for selling in the Chinese market. As a result, the Chinese company gains insight on the foreign company and its products. This in turn allows Chinese companies to create their own similar products to compete in that field, Fick says.

“This was a very interesting and surprising process to learn about,” Fick says. “I originally wondered why foreign companies would agree to a joint-venture. However, I soon learned China’s huge market opportunity (1.5 billion people) gives foreign countries a significant incentive.”

He also learned about China’s five-year plans which help guide the country’s growth—the “belt and road” foreign policy initiative recently added to China’s constitution, being one example. The initiative seeks to recreate the Silk Road trade route by connecting Asia to approximately 60 central and eastern European countries and regions.

“This experience gave me a better world perspective,” Fick says. “Previous to Discover SWUFE, I had little knowledge of China or its culture. The program did a great job not only teaching us about its business strategies, but also about its culture. I can’t wait to go back.”

For more information on study abroad opportunities,
contact Jessica Cassleman, assistant dean and director of the Carson College of Business International Business Institute
at casslema@wsu.edu or 509-335-1246.

Learn more about how you can invest in the Carson College of Business
to help students develop global business perspectives,
or contact Jeff Pilcher, director of development, at jeff.pilcher@wsu.edu or 509-335-8906.