It was only 8:00 a.m. and I could barely distinguish the blue and red BlueStar corporate logo through the dark grey Beijing skies. The towering building was home to just one division of ChemChina’s $28 billion dollar global empire. Before walking into BlueStar,s headquarters for the first time, I could tell that this was not going to be a typical consulting engagement. In addition to producing specialty chemicals, BlueStar also operates a franchise of over 500 fast-food noodle shops across China called Malan Noodle. BlueStar had just received $600 million in strategic investment from Blackstone, an American private equity firm, and it was my job to work with the BlueStar team to help redesign critical business processes in advance of a planned initial public offering overseas. I entered BlueStar’s office fully aware that relying on my Mandarin skills to communicate would be far from the most challenging aspect of this assignment.
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