Category Archives: International Study Tour

How TMMBA curriculum ties into the International Study Tour

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):

Global Strategy

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:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leading Organizational Change
  • Competitive Strategy
  • Domestic and International Economic Conditions

Singapore, China: Excites, Adventures and More

Guest post by Xiaoyuan Su (TMMBA Class 2012)

As a native Chinese, this International Study Tour to Singapore and China is special to me, as Singapore is a nation with a majority of population as Chinese ethnically, and China is my homeland.

The trip was exciting, and I think it is different for each person. When I did a survey during the farewell dinner in Beijing, a majority of the non-vegetarians think the most exciting portion of the trip happened in Singapore. However, as I observed, ISTers spent more money in China, especially in the jade market and tea store. For Westerners, Singapore is more comfortable and China may be more interesting (Quote from Lisa). While some classmates especially like the Singapore guide Lim’s comments during her guidance for us, I am not a fan of Lim, who kept complaining that Chinese from mainland China are willing to take jobs at lower salaries etc.

The company visit to GE Water was great. As we had a case study of GE in our leading organization change course, we were well prepared to the culture of the company. At the same time, the director of GE Water gave us a high-profile presentation and Q&A. Singapore Airlines was fantastic, the onsite experience of emergency handling training field, the pilot room, and the first-class cabins were all exciting. I hope there were not too many of us got offended when the presenter of A*Star stated that only a few students there know UW as more go to MIT to pursue higher education. As I learned from a friend of mine who is working for A*Star, Singapore students have multiple sources of funding so that they can get admitted by elite universities without the need to get sponsored by scholarships there. It’s interesting to mention that three of the four presenters of our company visits in Singapore were from foreign countries and all of them apparently work and live there happily.

I might miss a lot of fun in Singapore during the free time on March 14. I gave a talk on recommender systems (which is my research topic) at Nanyang Technological University. I was 15 minutes late due to a series of episodes, and found a group of young researchers sitting in the room waiting for me, each having a representative paper of mine in his/her hand. I got many good questions during the talk, and I used the TMMBA professors’ (especially Bigley and Ali?) favorite answer to handle the questions: I will get back to this question soon. After the talk, the hosting professor asked me to attend a research meeting with his graduate students.

What’s the buzz in China? Is it shopping? I hope not. Telling the truth, I really don’t know what the true values of the jade works are, even if they are authentic, jasmine+gold, and whatever; and I don’t have a close estimate of the sales margin of the fancy teas. I bought 50-yuan rose tea from the market Jack (the popular Chinese guide) led us to and none for jade as I have many jade products at home already. So I hope the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Hotong tour are much more interesting to my classmates. Otherwise, eating out for Peking duck, drinking at night bars, massaging, exploring the street at night are also fun.

Wait. Did we visit any companies in Beijing ? Yes? at least Amazon. The supply chain management principles are applied well in the Amazon fulfillment center in China. The purchased products are efficiently dispatched to ordering customers there. We visited the office of US China Business Council, which made our trip to China appearing official. The TEDA visit happened in Tianjin, another big city in China. The port city appears dusty everywhere, which is a reflection of China: the factory of the world develops fast at the cost of environment. TEDA administrates a big economic and industry zone of the city of Tianjin as it hosts foreign companies, JVs, and incubates startups with attractive policies. We also visited two foreign company-controlled local logistic companies, one with a small conference room, one was presented by a less-than-fluent English speaker (where TMMBA turned to be PMBA in their greeting display in the lobby).

Almost an adventure in my homeland. I extended my stay in China to visit my parents and other extended family members in Suzhou, a neighbor city of Shanghai. I spent an afternoon and evening for our high school classmate reunion, a special reunion for me. During the dinner, when I tried to show off my recently acquired US green card to my classmates, I found the one in my wallet was something else (I took that by mistake due to a hectic pre-trip rush). The mistake forced me to stay two more days in China as I have to hold my own green card to get out of China and return to USA. I therefore had chance to spend more time with my parents, my brothers and their families, and my friends in my hometown. As I was lucky enough to get timely help from a Chinese lady who was returning Shanghai from Seattle and took the green card to me, I did not get stranded aboard because of my insanely careless mistake. However, I had one more problem: I got a cold during the two days beyond schedule.

TMMBA visit to A*Star in Singapore

2012 TMMBA International Study Tour guest blog by Ben Morales & Stephanie Casey

Similarities and differences to a company visit in the US

We would compare the A-star campus visit to a company visit in Silicon Valley.  Silicon Valley is home to many of the world’s largest technology corporations, and known for world-class engineering and product development.  A-star is similar to Silicon Valley in that it has a focus on research and development for biomedical sciences, physical sciences, and engineering and has established itself as the premiere research institute in Southeast Asia.  Dr. Seng was able to paint a broad landscape of how A-star fits into the global view of premiere institutes such as Carnegie Mellon, but also zero in on how it is influencing Southeast Asia and its role in Singapore.  This perspective was unique to Singapore and very different from a company visit in the US.

A*Star’s global mindset

In my observation, A-Star is key to the Singapore government’s strategy on how it will continue to grow its economic engine—via bio-tech and high level engineering activities.  That said, the mindset of A-Star is to recruit and partner with the best minds and companies around the world.  They recruit heavily from all over the world, and even though they lose some of Singapore’s brightest minds to Stanford and Harvard, Dr. Seng works diligently to bring those students back after their education.  Additionally, Dr. Seng pointed out that Singapore is within a six-hour flight of two-thirds of the world’s population.  This statistic was incredibly powerful as we realized China and India account for a majority of the world’s population, and that an organization like A-star can have an even greater advantage when they are geographically positioned so close to these burgeoning populations.

The company culture

Given its engineering and scientific focus, the A*Star culture appears to be an entrepreneurial one.  One in where there is a high level of collaboration, experimentation and risk taking.  That being said, there is a lot of pressure to produce.  A lot of money is flowing through the institution so it’s imperative that they launch or license products and file patents to sustain the organization.

Doing business in Asia

It appears that doing business in Asia is less complicated than I originally perceived.  The economic growth in the Asian market (at least in Singapore and China) appears to be fueled by big brands entering these markets without hesitation.  Initially these companies entered these markets through joint-venture licensing deals and evolved to wholly owned foreign entities (WOFE’s).

The growth potential and relative immature nature of the China markets has some companies (i.e. Godiva) making significant investment plans based on performance of like brands vs. the typical quantitative analysis usually performed in other mature markets.

Tianjin Economic Technological Development Area

Guest post by Sumedha Kukreja, Class of 2012 International Study Tour participant

天津经济技术开发区TMMBA student at TEDA during the International Study Tour

On March 19th 2012 morning, we took a 30 minute bullet train ride to Tianjin. TEDA is about 38 km away from Tianjin downtown. It is considered an important part of the Tianjin Binhai New Area.

TEDA stands for “Tianjin Economic-Technological Development area”.  It was established in 1984. TEDA is divided into 3 industrial parks: TEDA industrial park, Yet–sen Scientific and Industrial Park, and Microelectronic Industrial Park.

We were met by Jianning Li (representative for Chicago), Peidong Lin (representative for Dallas), and Yu Xiaoran (project manager for section of Europe and America).

Before TEDA was marked for development, the area was used to harvest sea salt. Most of the development has taken place in last 30 years. Motorola was the first company to set up a factory in this area. By the end of the year 2010, about 4870 foreign funded enterprises from 74 countries were represented. In the first 10 years there was 25% growth in GDP. In recent years growth has slowed down as the cost of doing business in TEDA has increased. As of the end of 2010, total investment in this area has been over $62.2 Billion. Progress of TEDA has been boosted by its superior geographic location. Its closeness to Tianjin Port allows it to have access to over 400 ports in 180 countries worldwide. Also, to the west is the Tianjin Binhai International airport, which is a major airport for the transportation of cargo and passengers.

Some of the major companies that have invested in this area include Samsung, Honeywell, Toyota, GlaxoSmithKline, Coca- Cola, KYOCERA Solar energy, and TOHO Lead Recycling. It was interesting that when Toyota set up manufacturing in TEDA, its numerous suppliers followed it to the area.

To promote TEDA the organization has set up offices in 9 locations around the world. In order to attract investors, TEDA provides “one stop “service for investment policy consulting and procedure consulting to projects approval. I was not expecting the transparency and fairness in legal system, which TEDA promotes.

To support the investing companies and to attract prospective employees, TEDA has constructed schools, university, childcare centers. Tianjin has 55 higher education institutes, from where 60,000 students graduate every year. TEDA has partnered with various colleges and technical vocation schools across China to build adequate Human Resource pool.

What struck me was the amount of effort Chinese government was putting in to attract foreign investment. Tianjin looked like a busy city with heavy traffic. Apparently the infrastructure is not able to keep up with the development.

Another thing, which was striking, was the smog and the high level of pollution in air and water. TEDA officials commented that their goal in near future was to reduce carbon emissions. To this end they are working with different international companies to promote environmental sustainability. They are making efforts to create a sustainable environment, but the effects are not yet apparent.

Overall, I felt that China has made deliberate efforts to promote economic growth through financial and economic support and the lessons learned in areas like TEDA are being applied to develop new areas.

GE – Singapore Water – Technology Centre at NUS

One of the companies we visited in Singapore is GE – Singapore Water. The National University of Singapore (NUS) and GE launched the new Singapore Water Technology Centre back in June 22, 2009. This is GE Water’s first collaboration with a university in Asia-Pacific located on NUS Kent Ridge Campus with S$150 million (US $100 million) investment. The vision is to develop and test technologies in areas such as desalination, water reuse and generation of ultra-pure water for the semiconductor industry.

We wanted to capture a couple of things with the picture below. First, we had our picture taken with the GE logo outside the building as they don’t permit any cameras inside. The employees are very adamant about not letting anything leak out of this research center. In other words, this is a very secure environment to work in. It’s also a very hot and humid environment to work in! Singapore is located just one degree north of the equator. So the climate is very tropical. We were all soaked in sweat once we stepped out of air conditioned space.

The company culture

Our speakerwas Dr. Adil M. Dhalla, who is the director for the Singapore Water Technology Center. Dr. Dhalla has a master’s degree in chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. He earned a doctorate in chemistry from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Dhalla has co-authored 16 issued U.S.

We identified three major themes to take away from our speaker: innovation, global career growth, and global footprint.

Innovation – GE continues to innovate on products and services that solve big problems around the world. GE understands the global needs, both private and commercial for clean, potable water and is hard at work to develop ground-breaking solutions to meet those needs.

Global Career Development – We were excited to learn about GE’s heavy investment and focus on employee career development. This aligns with the GE case study we covered in the leadership class. Opportunities abound for GE’s employees that show promise and drive.

Global Footprint – It was amazing to learn about GE Singapore Water’s vision to produce clean and reusable water not just within Singapore, but wherever it is needed at a global scale. GE has offices, technology research centers, and plants on every continent. Adil showed us a current map of GE offices, and they covered the globe. They coordinate their efforts with video, phone, email, messenger – virtually any medium you can think of to stay in close communication. This allows them to pursue projects virtually anywhere in the world.

We were very impress with GE’s culture to innovate, ability to grow employees at a global scale and change the world with its product and services, and we thank Adil for his hospitality during our visit

International Study Tour – Singapore Airlines

Guest post by Jessica Efta, Class of 2012

Our visit to Singapore Airlines started with Hank from Public Affairs giving us an overview of the company, beginning with the following mission statement: “Singapore Airlines is a global company dedicated to providing air transportation services of the highest quality and to maximizing returns for shareholders.” Two core components of the company’s culture can be seen in this mission statement, “global” and “quality.”

As a global company, Singapore Airlines flies approximately 17 million passengers per year.  Pretty impressive, considering Singapore itself has only 5 million citizens. The airline now flies to 63 destinations in 34 countries.

Singapore Airlines is known as a higher end airline, and a very strong culture of quality and customer service pervades the company.  Artifacts of the company culture for high quality can be seen in the entryway, where the flight attendants’ attire is proudly on display behind glass.  We were told that flight attendants receive double the amount of training compared to the industry average.

This strategy of providing high quality seems to be working quite well for the company.  Singapore Airlines has never posted a loss in its 40 year history.  A smaller airline, it ranks 16th in terms of traffic size, but it is the most profitable in terms of RPK (revenue per kilometer). In FY10, group revenue was reported as $14.5B with a net profit of $1.1B.

We then took a tour of the building, where we got to learn more about what high quality at Singapore Airlines’ really means.  We went inside a demo plane and see a water tank complete with a wave-making machine designed for emergency landing training purposes.  Next, it was explained to us how Singapore Airlines trains their flight attendants.  Our guide explained that the flight attendants must memorize each piece of silverware, glass pairings for wines, and every other detail for the food service (including which glass to use for Dom Perignon champagne). They also must learn the appropriate way to deal with all kinds of passengers—kids, elderly, moms, businessmen, etc. An interesting (and I would assume, effective) approach to “empathy training” is to send their attendants to nursing homes to know how to deal with elderly passengers. They even attend classes on how to fix their hair and apply makeup.  After learning this, I could see why the attendants received double the industry average on training!  For the grand finale, we got to tour the first class and business class sections of the latest plane models, where the value of high quality could be experienced. Seats were wide enough to fit at least two people, and each seat had a footrest and a flat screen TV!  Perhaps one day with my MBA degree I’ll land a job where I can afford such luxury! ;)

What your business needs to know about Media in China?

Guest post by Krishnan Ananthanarayanan, Class of 2012

Media as a whole is undergoing a large transformation due to social media. The number of print media is between 7000and 10,000 (depending on whom you ask) and will be squeezed into a niche corner of the market.  Television in China is a $2.25B industry and the government regulates the content. For instance, there are bans on reality shows, shows that pertain to time travel and crime related programs.

Websites in China on the other hand allow many of these banned contents primarily because a forward-looking board of the government regulates them. There are websites such as the micro-blogging website Sina Weibo, which are very popular amongst the Chinese, and these websites can be used for effective marketing. The Chinese investigative media is also very strong. It is okay to criticize policy but it is NOT okay to criticize the top leaders of the party. The Chinese government does a good job at keeping international crimes alive in the minds of the Chinese and uses this as propaganda and as an effective control mechanism. Cultural awareness is key to running a successful business in China. Due to the history of attacks, Chinese sentiment can easily turn against foreigners in China. It is also critical to be sensitive of cultural issues not just within China but also across the world. For instance, Japan an advertisement showing the imperial lions bowing to a Toyota. This advertisement was never screened in China, but Toyota got a lot of heat after Chines bloggers found this advertisement on international websites. The history of wars with Japan only added to the heat.

It is also critical to realize the role of media in the Chinese government. In the United States and in other democratic countries, the media represents an independent voice and its role is to question government policy. China however follows the Leninist movement in which the Party is all-powerful and the role of the media is to serve the government and not to question it. It is critical for a foreign national to realize this key difference. Once this difference is understood, it is easier to understand all the other aspects such as censorship, control over the programs, bureaucracies for obtaining a license to host a website etc.

China places a great deal of importance on the consumer more than that of other western nations. On “National Consumer Day”, reporters run investigative reports on companies on Television and it is up to the company to defend its position on the issue under discussion. Top companies such as McDonalds have come under fire for selling inferior quality goods in China. The Chinese consumers take quality very seriously. If a company is suspected of selling inferior goods in China to make up for profits, the company is very likely to be ostracized and will find it hard to gain a strong foothold. Companies should go beyond seeing China as a low cost manufacturing center and start seeing it as a global market with a large population that has a big appetite for high quality products from across the world.

Global Expansion: Godiva and Amazon

Guest post by Dina Vaccari and Kevin Croy, Class of 2012

TMMBA students Kevin & Dina with Godiva presenter
Kevin & Dina with Meagan Dietz of Godiva

It was amazing how relevant our TMMBA courses were during our visits to Singapore and Beijing, both during cultural tours and company visits.  The Global Strategy course taught by Kevin Steensma was particularly relevant, especially during our visit to China.  Many of the companies we met with spoke to the entry strategy options along with key points to consider when entering a new global marketplace; class discussions had previously exposed us to many of these factors.   A trip to an Amazon fulfillment center located in China gave us unique insight into the company’s  operations in addition to their global  expansion strategy.

The representative from Godiva Chocolates discussed their decision making process and considerations regarding joint venture, direct investment, or partnership entrance strategy.  Godiva benchmarked their entry against other luxury brand entries, such as Coach and Haagen Dazs, companies that had already entered the China market successfully.  They studied these brands’ entry experience and weighed the pros and cons of each to determine which strategy would be the best for them.  In the end, they determined that the challenges they anticipated with their supply chain, particularly associated with the proper refrigeration of their products during transport, would merit a direct investment and owning their supply chain throughout the whole process to ensure quality and reduce shrinkage.

In addition to Godiva, we also visited Amazon, which brought our Macroeconomics and Operations Management classes to mind.  The population of China is urbanizing and becoming a more consumer-oriented culture, so companies are adapting to leverage this growing segment of potential customers.  Our visit to an Amazon fulfillment center (FC) in China helped illustrate this point because the massive FC we visited primarily handled orders destined for Chinese consumers.  Clearly, Amazon understands the potential of the Chinese market and has positioned themselves to capitalize on this trend.  Operations at the FC were very efficient.  Our tour began at the loading dock on one side of the warehouse where inventory entered the system.  Items were catalogued and routed to holding locations.  As orders were placed, pickers pulled inventory to assemble the appropriate products and prepare them for packaging.  Once packaged, the orders proceeded to an area with workers who labeled them for shipping.  Finally, orders were routed to holding areas until outbound shippers could collect them.  The streamlined process was well choreographed and reminded us of the risk-pooling and queuing concepts we learned about in Operations Class.

Every company we visited or street vendor we encountered  gave us  a new opportunity to  look at things through our new TMMBA lenses.  It was an amazing trip!

Adventures in Singapore

Sara Jones, TMMBA Class of 2012 & Assistant Director

The study tour flew by and I haven’t had a chance to blog. It was a packed trip, but amazing. Here’s a rundown of my time in Singapore. I’ll share more about Beijing in the next post.

Our guide taught us about the local people, culture, and current affairs. 

Our guide, Lin.
Our amazing guide!

Singaporeans are primarily of Malay, Indian, and Chinese descent. This creates a melting pot of food, traditions, and customs.  On non-company visit days we toured Little India, the Arab Quarter, Chinatown, and the downtown area. Lin was a character and taught us about the local culture through jokes and stories while we were on our bus. Here are a few things that stood out to me:

  • The 5 C’s of Singapore: cash, car, credit card, condominium, and country club.  In the Singaporean culture there is a bit of an obsession with material goods. Lin shared that this is due to a cultural importance on impressing others. For example, cars in Singapore are extremely expensive to own, but this is a symbol of status and so many families still own a car.
  • The national bird of Singapore is the crane. Everywhere we drove there were cranes working. Singapore has a huge port that is the mainstay of their economy. We learned that Singapore doesn’t produce much raw material or food and is really dependent on trade. There was also a lot of construction going on all over town.
  • Compulsory savings accounts & housing. Housing costs were crazy in Singapore! We learned that many local homeowners purchase through a public housing program and pay for it out of a compulsory savings account, the Central Provident Fund (CPF). According to our guide, employees have to put 20% of their salary into the fund and employers pay in 16%. Employees may use a portion of the CPF savings to purchase a home through the public housing program. The remaining amount stays in the fund for healthcare and retirement costs.
  • Hawker Centres: I loved the food courts. There were lots of options for dining in Singapore. My favorite was to just head to a local hawker center. These look and feel like food courts, but the have an awesome selection of food and are much better quality than the stereotypical food court in the U.S. Some were outdoor stalls, others were in the basement of malls. All were delicious!

The company visits.

While in Singapore we visited Johnson & Johnson, Singapore Airlines, A*Star, and GE Power & Water.

At Johnson & Johnson we learned about regulatory affairs for medical devices in Singapore and Asia. J&J setup in Singapore because it’s a hub for access and transportation to Asia and had very attractive tax incentives for international companies. However, medical device is one of the scariest areas for US companies in Asia due to JV and regulatory compliance issues.  J&J participates in the Asia Harmonization Working Party, which is a primary platform for exchanging information about medical device regulations. One thing that stuck out to me from their presentation is the complexity of what they are dealing with in Asia.  For example, before a group of countries can agree on regulations for a device, it first needs to agree that a specific item is considered a medical device.

During our visit to Singapore Airlines we had a presentation on the airline, it’s competitive landscape, and difficulties facing the industry as well as a tour of their flight-crew training center. The presentation was great, but the tour of the training facility was even more fun. The selection process at Singapore Airlines was likened to American Idol. They hold 6 walk-in crew recruitment sessions a year. Applicants have 1 minute to pitch themselves during rounds of panel interviews. After they narrow it down and select the hires, the new crew head to training.  The training program is twice as long as the industry average. It was really interesting to see the training center and how flight attendants are trained– from understanding the airline’s philosophy on customer service to preparing for emergencies.

Water evacuation training area
The water evacuation training room at Singapore Airlines

Performance chart in Singapore Airlines lobby

A*STAR is the Agency for Science, Technology, & Research. We spoke with the Managing Director, Professor Low Teck Seng. A*Star works to promote research and talent that will develop Singapore into a knowledge-based economy.  They have 14 science and engineering research institutes and six centers located on their two campuses, called Biopolis and Fusionopolis. They have three areas of current strategic focus. These are to develop their human capital in the areas of science, engineering, and technology; increase the intellectual capital of Singapore; and promote the commercial application of science and technology in Singapore.

GE Power & Water was one of my favorite visits in Singapore. We met with Adil Dhalla, the Director of the Singapore Water Technology Center. He was an engaging presenter and it was interesting to learn about the water reclamation projects in Singapore. His center houses scientists and engineers that are working to solve global water challenges including seawater desalination and water recycling. In Singapore the Public Utility Board calls their reclaimed water NEWater. It’s potable but is mostly used for industries that require high-purity water.

Here are a few more photos from our adventures in Singapore:

Singapore Slings
Drinking Singapore Slings at the Raffles Hotel

Trishaw Ride
Group trishaw ride through Little India and the Arab Quarter on Day 1

Welcome Dinner
Our welcome dinner at the Jumbo Seafood Restaurant.

Dragon Fruit
Dragon Fruit at Tekka Centre, a Little India market
TMMBA Class of 2012 at Singapore Airlines
Hanging out at the Singapore Airlines training center

3…2…1…Take Off!

Sara Jones, TMMBA Class of 2012 & Assistant Director

I’m sitting in a lounge at SeaTac airport and can’t believe it’s finally here – the TMMBA International Study Tour!  The past week has been a crazy whirlwind of final exams and a business plan project.  I haven’t slept much lately and am actually looking forward to the long flight to catch up.

I signed up for the trip last October. That feels like such a long time ago! We’re heading to Singapore and Beijing where we’ll spend several days meeting with executives during company visits and also get some free time along the way. This is my first trip to Asia and I’m really excited to explore. I haven’t had a lot of time to prepare, but luckily TMMBA gave us a few small travel guides so I can read up on the plane and hit the ground running.

I’ll be writing along the way, but here’s a quick run-down of the itinerary:

Day 1: Singapore tour & group dinner in Clark Quay

Day 2: Visits to Johnson & Johnson and Singapore Airlines

Day 3: Visits to Exploit Technologies (A*Star) and GE Singapore Water Technology Center

Day 4: Some cultural outings and free time

Day 5: Fly to Beijing & free time

Day 6: Visits to US China Business Council and Amazon Fulfillment Center

Day 7: It’s the weekend! Visit the Great Wall and Gaoliying Market

Day 8: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and free time

Day 9: Bullet train to Tianjin. Visits to Damco, TEDA, Port of Tianjin & DP World Terminal Operators

Day 10: Visit to Motorola and fly home just in time to start prepping for spring quarter.


Whew!  It’s going to be jam packed, but I can’t wait to get there and take it all in.