Guest post by Roann Lubang, Class of 2012
The following courses came to mind during my visit at both Singapore and Beijing (in no particular order of priority):
Because I had no real background knowledge of Singapore, I was extremely amazed with the westernization and development of the country. I remember glancing at the hotel newspaper and reading that Singapore is 3rd most competitive city in the world (New York being #1 and London being #2).
Geographically, Singapore was definitely in a perfect location to serve as the “Asian Hub” to globalize any business in the Asian countries nearby. As we’ve learned in Global Strategy class, when it comes to selecting a centralized location for a company’s headquarters, geographic location is key, especially when exporting/importing goods into easily accessible ports.
Professional Communications (Nonverbal)
Unlike in Singapore, our interactions with the local people in Beijing were more challenging because not everyone spoke English. Often times, we had to rely on body language and other nonverbal cues to understand what someone was trying to communicate.
When we were trying to negotiate with vendors at the Great Wall of China and/or other local markets, I sure was glad that numbers are quite universal. It was easy for both us and the vendors to write and or enter in the calculator the price we were willing to pay for their goods.
Though we haven’t taken this specific class until this spring quarter, I’d say we experienced a lot of negotiating with the street vendors at both Singapore and Beijing. Negotiating is all about making a collective decision on something, such as a price for a good.
As we’ve learned from our pre-meeting trip regarding shopping at Beijing, vendors actually enjoy negotiating with their buyers. If you don’t like their price and walk away, the vendors will actually follow you and ask, “Okay, how much then?” to get a feel for how much you are actually willing to pay and then there could be a bit of back and forth or meeting in the middle or else you can try walking away again to see if they really aren’t willing to budge on their price. I thought this experience was quite exciting too, but it sure does become costly once all the little things start adding up.
Operations and Supply Chain Management/Statistics
I’d say the airport experience to and from Asia reminded me so much of both Kamran and Martha’s classes. Because I was traveling to and from different countries, there were multiple lines I had to line up through: getting off and on the airplane, security screening, customs/declaration, etc. I couldn’t help and joke around with my classmates about M/M/1 lines and M/M/C lines and “jocking” for the what-seemed-like shorter and faster lines.
And because I personally have this paranoia about checking in my luggage, I couldn’t help but wonder the probability of the airlines losing my luggage. Come to find out, by the time we arrived in Singapore, both Tom and Tsun’s luggages were lost somewhere between Washington, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Singapore. I didn’t think that 2 out of 22 people (almost 10%) were that likely to experience such frustration – especially when we had company meetings the next days where we had to be dressed in business suits.
Strategic Marketing Management
I think that the last company we visited in China was the most interesting and fascinating. We visited Motorola and were expecting to hear about supply chain management, but instead heard a presentation on marketing in China.
I learned that working in marketing in China involves three parties: the government, the people, and the media. Unlike the United States where we are blessed with the freedom of speech, everyone involved in media experience a lot more pressure from both the government and the people. It sounds like both Chinese businesses and external businesses in other countries have to be extra careful how they portray the key players in the Chinese government and its people. Otherwise, they’ll have to be prepared to apologize publicly and find a way to re-establish a harmonious relationship with the Chinese.
Other classes that came to mind during our trip to Asia included the following, but my blog would get too long in explaining how they were all relevant:
- Leading Organizational Change
- Competitive Strategy
- Domestic and International Economic Conditions