Orfalea Students Explore Tokyo and Taipei

In December, 24 Orfalea College of Business students ventured to Taipei, Taiwan and Tokyo, Japan to explore Asia’s evolving industries on the latest Orfalea International Business Tour. The students, who represented a variety of the college’s business concentrations, were led by Dean Scott Dawson and Assistant Director of Advising Lily Clark.

The adventure began in Taipei on Dec. 11 with a sight-seeing tour of the city, where the group learned about Taiwan’s relationship with China and how that impacts connections with the U.S. and beyond. The next day, the group began its business visits with a stop at the American Institute in Taiwan, which aims to advance the interests of the U.S. and protect American citizens in Taiwan. Next, the cohort explored Big Sun, which manufacturers solar photovoltaic (PV) cells.

Thanks to a series of Cal Poly alumni connections, the students were able to connect with EY’s Taipei office to discuss global accounting and assurance careers. Solidlite was the group’s last stop, including a survey of the corporation’s LED light production and discussing how the company is growing into the horticultural lighting space.  The group finished its time in Taiwan with a cultural tour to the mountainsides of Wulai where they learned about the indigenous Atayla tribe through folklore, wedding ceremonies, song and dance.

After a short flight to Tokyo, Cal Poly’s students were ready to immerse themselves in Japan’s distinct culture and business practices. The group learned quickly of the nation’s effort to change office culture and the shift in worker expectations. No longer are workers expected to spend their entire career at one company; the country is trying to encourage more innovation.

The adventure began with visits to CBRE, a Tokyo commercial real estate leader, and Softbank. After a tour through Tokyo’s sights and cuisine, the students took a day trip to Kamakura to explore its famed temples and shrines while learning about the region’s religions and cultural practices.

Back in the city, the students were wowed by an exclusive tour of the Tokyo Applestore. They were also treated to exclusive access to the city’s Salesforce office, thanks again to the help of alumni in the company. The final business visits included Square Enix, a video game developer, publisher and distribution company that produces role-playing games like Final Fantasy. The group’s last stop was one of the most enthralling: Olympus. The cohort toured the camera manufacturer to talk about the evolving industry of media, video and online content.

In just 10 days, the group was back in the U.S. with a wealth of insights they plan to take back to their classes, clubs and internships. The trip is just one of many Orfalea International Business Tours happening throughout the year to give students access to international perspectives and new career opportunities. Tours have recently ventured to Ireland, Spain, Morocco, Germany, Cuba and New Zealand. For more information, visit https://www.cob.calpoly.edu/studentservices/study-abroad/.