On 17thApril, the 4th annual Coventry University/International College, GDUFS Trade Fair took place. Originally planned as an exhibition with visiting lecturers, the event had to be changed and morphed into a ‘Virtual Trade Fair’. In the event Fred Parker, Fred Marcowitz and Dan Liu , Coventry University staff based at GDUFS, formed a panel with four other Coventry University lecturers that asked the students ‘company’ groups probing questions about their business ideas. Professor Sulanaya Sawang (Associate Dean, Global Engagement), Judy Finlay (Head of East Asian Strategic Relationship), Xin Tang and Yongying Zou (both part of the Academic Partnership Unit based in International College) also asked questions during the three–hour event. It was very well received by students who appreciated the questions from the panel which made them realise that they need to take a broader perspective when researching their company.
the Virtual Trade Fair
The main fair was followed by an Award Ceremony, again online, four days later. This provided recognition to the students for their hard work with Vice-Dean Annie Yang (GDUFS) and Vice-Dean Sand Liu (GDUFS) handing out awards for Best Website and Most Innovative Business Idea respectively. The ceremony was notable for the inaugural Dr. Donald Finlay Award for Best Speaker. Don Finlay, who passed away in September, 2019, had a long relationship with GDUFS and it was fitting that the award was presented by Vice-Dean Sand Liu, who not only had a long professional relationship with Don, but also was a close friend. It was Don’s original idea to start the project five years ago and the award recognizes his desire to allow students to be creative and excel in their studies.
Although lacking the inclusivity and buzz of the face-to-face Trade Fair, it still provided students a valuable learning experience and recognition for their hard work. To replace the marketing displays that students would normally prepare a new task of creating company ‘websites’ on SWAY, was so successful that it will be carried forward into next year’s project.
Overall, it was a great example of how senior management from both CU and GDUFS; CU teaching staff based in China; and APU staff support each other to provide a fantastic learning experience for students on the Coventry 2+2 programme.