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Engineering x business, interdisciplinary education from ZJU
Date:05/08/2022 Article:ZHANG Yi; CHEN Qilisha; LI Songjiao Photo:Interviewees




Cross-border cooperation between students and faculty "on a whim"



The cooperation between Zhejiang University-the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Institute (ZJUI) and the Zhejiang University International Business School (ZIBS) has been nurtured in the International Campus' inclusive, cross-cultural and innovative atmosphere. The students and faculty living in such an environment naturally have a vision of more possibilities for the future, and ZJUI student ZHU Yunlang, class of 2017, is one of them. In his sophomore year, he tried to open up a second track for himself after being frustrated with studying mathematics and submitted an application to join the research group of Professor BEN Shenglin, Dean of ZIBS, and started to explore in the field of FinTech.





▲ ZHU Yunlang participated in the Global Fintech Center Forum of Zhejiang University (fourth from the right)



Under the guidance of Prof. Ben, he participated in two sessions of the Global Fintech Innovation Case Project in cooperation with AIF and Ant Group to study and analyze the development experience of unicorns/leaders in various fintech fields (digital payment, digital currency and blockchain, insurtech, etc.) to provide reference for industry practice. He is also involved in several index projects, such as "Future City" and "China M&A Index” and explore how to further develop fintech innovation in China by analyzing the data performance of each index.



图片包含 户外, 人, 草, 男人


▲ ZHU Yunlang



Through his initial understanding and practice in business, ZHU Yunlang realized that the essence of studying business was still studying mathematics. This made him think that it was not a good decision to give up because of his bad math skills, and the experience of working on a project in Professor Ben's research group made him realize that he needed to take advantage of his engineering background. So, he decided to choose Operations Research, one of the most mathematically intensive fields in engineering. According to ZHU Yunlang, Operations Research is more closely related to applied mathematics, and contains important components of the Financial Engineering toolbox such as stochastic processes, optimization theory, data analysis, etc. Operations Researchers can be found in many engineering and business schools in top universities. It was his background in business and industry during his undergraduate studies that laid a solid foundation for him to find a development direction.





Cross-curricular offerings and innovation and entrepreneurship incubation



In 2022, ZJUI and ZIBS upgrade their cooperation from a "spontaneous" one between faculty and students to a new stage of cross-curriculum development and innovation and entrepreneurship incubation platform.


In the spring semester of 2022, a series of "cross-shared courses" were created in the cross-innovation atmosphere of the International Campus, providing a guarantee for cross-cultivation of students from the three institutes of the International Campus. Many ZJUI students have taken courses such as "Blockchain and Digital Currency” “Topics in Chinese International Trade" "Topics in Chinese Marketing" and some ZIBS students have entered ZJUI classes such as "Biosensors" "Advanced Data Analysis" and "Artificial Intelligence." In the cross-collision between engineering and business, students were able to gain deeper insight into the current needs of society and use their strengths to strive for a better future.


In addition to the above cross-shared courses on campus, Professor WEN Wu of ZIBS also offered a special course "Introduction to Financial Technology" for ZJUI students. For engineering students to enter his classroom, Prof. WEN Wu said, "The course ‘Introduction to Fintech’ can help students to quickly get started with the knowledge of Fintech, so that they can improve their understanding of the theoretical foundation of Fintech, the impact of Fintech on the traditional financial industry and the current development status on top of their own engineering foundation, and thus have a deeper understanding of the future trend of financial technology and industry development. Some students, through their study in the last semester, have stimulated their interest in innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of FinTech and have also taken the initiative to contact the ZIBS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center to exchange their business ideas. The cross-curricular training approach organically combines cutting-edge technology development with actual social needs, which can meet everyone's multi-level and multi-faceted development needs and enhance overall competitiveness."


ZHAO Chenxu, students from ZJUI, who took “Introduction to Financial Technology” and “Blockchain Course,” said, "Both courses are very beneficial to students who are interested in pursuing a career in the business field. The instructor taught about the development and application prospects of digital currencies worldwide, and most interestingly, Prof. WEN Wu also encouraged us to study NFT on our own. It was fun for students with diverse backgrounds to team up together to explore the emerging industry!"




▲ Students conducted mock previews at the ZIBS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center


In addition to the cross-curricular offerings, the ZIBS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center was created to meet the needs of students and faculty for innovation and entrepreneurship. In the ZIBS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, the incubated projects of ZJUI and ZJE undergraduate students in the "Internet+" College Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition are taking shape under the guidance of ZIBS professors. Meanwhile, the ZIBS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center also arranged offline mock previews, and after the instructors' guidance on various parts such as presentation skills, competitive advantages, innovation highlights, and business plans, the students from the international campus won 1 Gold Award and 2 Silver Awards in the "Internet+" provincial competition in 2022.



First bloom

Preliminary achievements of compound student training



As a graduate of ZJUI Civil Engineering Class of 2022 and a new member of ZIBS Master of Finance (iMF) Class of 2024, LIN Lan is both an old friend and a new student of the International Campus. She is brave to explore and switch tracks; her gorgeous interdisciplinary turn from civil engineering to finance is enviable; competitions, student work, social practice, and travel ...... she never stops measuring the world.



▲ LIN Lan



As soon as she entered the school, the atmosphere of ZJUI's cross-disciplinary and innovative cultivation laid the foundation for her to explore more possibilities in the future. The civil engineering major has strong engineering characteristics and a wide range of learning objects. In the required civil engineering course "Introduction to Computing: Engineering and Science" "Economics of System Engineering" and the general course "Microeconomics, " she seemed to see a different direction for development. After LIN Lan participated in civil engineering related internship in the summer of her sophomore year, she realized that she was relatively better at management and coordination, and the direction of her future development might need to be adjusted. So, she decisively adjusted her track and prepared to make an attempt in the field of finance. With the advice of her ZIBS senior, she carefully devoured a book specializing in the finance field to enrich her theoretical foundation and used her existing strengths in engineering to build up in a targeted manner. Finally, she was successfully admitted to the ZIBS Outstanding Undergraduate Summer Camp. In the summer camp, she not only participated in the courses presented by famous experts and corporate executives from home and abroad, but also got the opportunity to fully communicate with relevant professors and experts face to face. It was this attempt that really made LIN Lan determined to study at ZIBS.