Majoring in International Relations at mighty Beijing University, third-year Emmie would prefer to be studying something related to media. The main problem, she says, is that international realtions is too politicized a field and one rarely learns anything with real substance. As is the case with so many others who are unhappily wedded to their courses of study, Emmie ended up in International Relations as a result of her Gaokao score. Otherwise, she has no major complaints about life at Beida. She gets along with her three roommates and feels lucky that she doesn’t live with five or even seven.
Her two-month summer internship at the PR company Ogilvy will hopefully set her on a more favorable path, which should allow her to work in foreign companies after graduation. Often, majoring in something like international relations would only lead one to a government job or, at best, work in a state-run company. Emmie points out that foreign companies in China and state-run companies operate in completely different systems. Advancement in the latter depends almost completely on relationships, whereas the situation is somewhat more standardized with the foreigners. Of course, she acknowledges, foreign companies must operate effectively in the guanxi system if they are to succeed in this country and degrees of localization vary a great deal from one company to the next.