Tsinghua SEM and Facebook Jointly Launched the Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Insights from Silicon Valley Course


On December 14th, 2016, Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (Tsinghua SEM) and Facebook jointly launched the “Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Insights from Silicon Valley” course at Tsinghua x-lab x-space.


The 2-credit course will be delivered in the spring semester 2017. It opens for sign-up to all enrolled students of Tsinghua University and is coordinated by LI Jizhen, Associate Professor, Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Tsinghua SEM. It aims to boost students’ interest and ability in innovation and entrepreneurship by integrating guest speaker talks, academic sessions and team projects. Guest speakers from Facebook, local guests from various related fields, together with Tsinghua SEM faculty will introduce to students the most popular science and technology hot spots and innovation and entrepreneurship topics from Silicon Valley, to encourage Tsinghua students to think about the future with a global perspective. Through experiential learning, students will get insights into Silicon Valley's latest innovation and entrepreneurial practices, discuss them in groups combining innovation and entrepreneurship theories, and improve their business plans. With the guidance of mentors from both sides, students will complete their final presentations and develop project demos. The final winners may expect surprise awards.


Professor QIAN Yingyi, Dean of Tsinghua SEM, Professor GAO Jian, Senior Associate Dean of Tsinghua SEM, Dr. Vaughan Smith, Facebook VP of Corporate Development, Professor LI Jizhen, course coordinator from Chinese side and Associate Professor, Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Tsinghua SEM, MAO Donghui, Tsinghua x-lab Executive Director, student representatives, course teaching assistants and operation staff attended the launch event.


In the brief opening, Professor LI Jizhen expressed a warm welcome to all attendees, and introduced Facebook guests present. He also gave a brief introduction to the course. This 2-credit course will be launched in the spring semester 2017, the course opens for sign-up to all enrolled students of Tsinghua University and is coordinated by Professor Li. Professor Li and a number of speakers from Facebook, as well as local guests from related fields, will lead the students to discuss the innovation and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.


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LI Jizhen, course coordinator from Chinese side and Associate Professor, Department of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Tsinghua SEM, chairs the event


Professor QIAN Yingyi, Dean of Tsinghua SEM delivered a welcome speech. He introduced the original intentions of setting up the course. In particular, he pointed out the affinity that Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook and a member of the Advisory Board of Tsinghua SEM shares with Tsinghua SEM. He expressed his gratitude for Facebook’s continuous support to Tsinghua SEM and Tsinghua x-lab. Dean QIAN hopes that the course will expose Tsinghua students with the latest development in science and technology from Silicon Valley as well as from China. It will encourage Tsinghua students to think about the future with a global perspective. Dean QIAN believes that the course marks a new milestone in the Facebook and Tsinghua SEM collaborative relationship. Finally, Dean QIAN wished the course a full success.


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Professor QIAN Yingyi, Dean of Tsinghua SEM delivers a welcome speech


Afterwards, Dr. Vaughan Smith, Facebook VP of Corporate Development made a speech. He explained why Facebook would like to set up the course in Tsinghua SEM in cooperation with Tsinghua x-lab, and hoped the course would have a positive impact on the students of Tsinghua University and even in China. At the same time, He introduced Facebook’s corporate culture, including aiming high, making innovations, and moving fast. He also pointed out that Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality are parts of Facebook's current and next stage development. Finally, Dr. Vaughan Smith thinks that there is a vast space for Facebook to develop in the future. The achievements so far are only 1% of the overall goal, and the pursuit of innovation will not stop.


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Dr. Vaughan Smith, Facebook VP of Corporate Development makes a speech


Later on, Dr. Vaughan Smith answered questions raised by the students present and teaching assistants. LIU Yansheng asked why Facebook’s campus has high levels of happiness among employees. Dr. Vaughan Smith is proud of this point. He believes that everyone has a desire to change the world, therefore giving each employee opportunities to realize their own value is the most important reason why Facebook has high levels of happiness. XIAO Ziyan asked, "In what way would you say is Facebook different from other technology companies?" Dr. Vaughan Smith said that Facebook is mainly based on people, so they want to hire employees who care about connecting people. This is the secret of Facebook products’ success. LIU Wenrui asked, how to understand the sentence "the secret of success is to make mistakes" for people in the early stage of entrepreneurship? Dr. Vaughan Smith believes that failure is not the real goal. The real goal is to learn from failure. Just as Facebook's corporate culture advocates “Fast”, the more times the enterprise fails, the faster the learning process will be.


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Q&A session


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launch event


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group photo


Dean QIAN and Dr. Vaughan Smith on behalf of Tsinghua SEM and Facebook exchanged gifts. Dean QIAN presented a magnifying glass as a gift which metaphorizes insights to Dr. Vaughan Smith. Dr. Vaughan Smith presented a book “The Hard Thing about Hard Things” which was written by the first batch of Internet pioneer Ben Horowitz who summed up his nearly 20 years of entrepreneurship, management and investment experiences. (By Li Yawen, Zheng Anran, Liu Jiang, Huang Pei)