BMGT 469M: Doing Business in Singapore and Malaysia

May 19th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Trip Overview:

The growth of Singapore over the past thirty years has been one of the greatest business successes ever.  Singapore has no natural resources, and had no industry but today it has become a truly global city.  Singapore has grown so fast because it takes full use of its citizens.  Singapore definitely fostered an incredibly strong entrepreneurial spirit.

Trip Details:

  • Estimated cost is $2350, not including airfare or personal expenses.
  • Included: UMD tuition, UMD $250 Education Abroad fee, lodging, multiple group meals, any required cultural activities, travel within countries.
  • Not included: personal expenses, most meals, trip insurance and international airfare.
  • Students are advised to purchase refundable tickets and travel insurance to counter any inconvenience caused by a change in the program’s itinerary.  Once the course is confirmed and you are admitted, the Faculty Director will provide a recommendation for international flights.  You are then urged to purchase your tickets for travel to/from the country.

Payment Information:

The program fee is divided into four separated charges that are applied to your account over the course of the fall semester:

  1. A non-refundable $50 application fee is due at the time of application.
  2. Upon admission, students are responsible for paying a $250 non-refundable deposit.  This amount must be paid online within a few days using a credit card (it is not charged to the student’s account).  Applications understand that if admitted to the program, they are responsible for paying this deposit, which is non-refundable under any circumstances.
  3. UMD $250 Study Abroad Fee.
  4. The remaining balance will be due upon registration.

All four charges add up to the published program fee.

Company Tours:

On December 27, 2011 forty University of Maryland Business students traveled to Singapore to partake in an amazing experience. This global immersion program led by Dr. Wellman introduced these students to a whole new culture. By visiting around twenty-five different companies the students had begun to grasp how different business cultures can be. This was a life changing experience and all students involved had an amazing time.

Click an image to learn about the companies that we had visited:
 

 

Cultural Takeaways:

Our class also were able to see the culture differences between Asia and America.  This can be seen in Americanized places such as Pizza Hut and McDonalds.  In Pizza Hut they serve “Curry Chicken” pizza and the food is served in bento boxes.   In McDonalds they serve a “Prosperity Burger” which is meant to bring good luck to its customer.  In Marina Bay Sands we learned that the Asian culture highly values the year of the dragon.  Singapore also has very strict laws but in turn, it makes it one of the safest and cleanest countries ever.

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Marina Bay Sands

May 18th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

One of Singapore’s two Integrated Resorts, Marina Bay Sands famously stands along the coast as one of the signature buildings in Singapore. For our trip to Marina Bay Sands, everyone got a behind the scenes look at the hotel, the casino, and the Infinity pool. This was followed by a presentation by MBS representatives.
The presentation focused a lot on the casino. It was interesting to see how they try to build relationships with the gamblers there and to create a point reward system. Also it was surprising to learn that Singapore could overtake Las Vegas in gambling revenue in the next 10-15 years. The biggest game at MBS is baccarat, and they have baccarat tournaments that create a lot of revenue. It seems as if the $100 charge for Singaporeans to get into the casino doesn’t really hurt business much. Singapore charges its citizens $100 to go to simply enter a casino, so it is interesting that Singapore will be able to overtake Las Vegas because they don’t even want their own citizens gambling.

Student Quotes:
“Marina Bay Sands was, in my opinion, the best visit of the trip. THe amount of different things that we were able to see was incredible. Being hosted by so many executives was amazing and I am truly honored that I was afforded this opportunity. I thought the presentation and the enthusiasm the professionals had toward the industry was impressive.”

“Marina Bay Sands is an incredible structure and it was awesome to get an inside glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. This one of the most impressive hotel/casino/resorts that I have ever seen. Words can’t describe how happy I was with this visit today!”

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Universal Studios Singapore

May 18th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Brief explanation:

Universal Studios Singapore is a theme park located in Resorts World Sentosa. It is the second Universal Studios theme park to open in Asia and has attracted millions of visitors since its opening in 2011. The company brings a unique entertainment experience to visitors by providing rides located in themed zones, designed to remind audiences of their favorite movies. These zones include Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, Lost World, Far Far and Away, and Madagascar.

Key Takeaways:
For our visit, we were taken on a tour around the theme park. Our host was one of the leading executives at the company. He explained that Universal Studios is owned by a separate company called Resort World. Our host was extremely knowledgeable and explained how the park operates and attracts customers. We learned that the placement of ride attractions is a key technique used to make money. For example, the water rides are located toward the back of the park. Near the end of the day customers will become overheated and tired. As customers make their way farther into the park, they will be more likely to want to refresh themselves and enter the water park area. Thus, Universal Studios makes more money from its placement of attractions. Creating an entertaining atmosphere for guests is another marketplace tool used to attract customers. Universal Studios accomplishes this goal by creating separate worlds modeled off of the settings featured in its movies. Take the Mummy zone for instance, which is constructed with temples and statues of pharaohs. It contains music and food similar to that witnessed in the Middle East, all with the goal of attracting guests into the park. In addition, guests are entertained with street performers as they travel throughout the park. All of these tactics are done with the intention of creating a “one of a kind” experience for their customer so that they will return to the park again and again. By the end of the trip, we had been given an inside look into theme park operations and were now trained in the tactics the company uses to gain loyal customers and increase profits.

Key quotes:

  • “I thought the tour of universal studios was very cool as I have never gotten a behind the scenes look at the operations of a theme park. The amount of detail that went into this park is impressive. I thought our host was extremely knowledgeable and allowed me to really understand the thought and considerations that go into running a theme park.”
  • “Universal Studios was awesome and the Transformers ride was great! I really enjoyed hearing about the park from an executive that knew so much information.”
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Housing Development Board

April 27th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

The Housing Development Board is a government agency that was formed to provide affordable public housing. When Singapore gained independence, they faced a serious housing shortage problem. The HDB remedied this problem by building 54,000 flats in 10 years. This helped improved the quality of lives of Singaporeans by providing housing, jobs, and proper sanitation. The HDB has continued to provide housing to Singaporeans and now 80% of Singaporeans live in HDB flats.

Student Quotes:
“Seeing the standard HDB flats gave insight to how Singaporeans live and gave a stark contrast to the variety of living arrangements in the Unites States.”

“The HDB visit showed the huge rule the government played not only in the business sector of Singapore, but also in the personal lives of Singaporeans.”

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Economic Development Board

April 27th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

The Economic Development Board is a government operated agency that seeks to further develop Singapore’s economic growth by focusing on companies, investors, and manufacturing. It seeks to attract foreign investment, expanding existing industries, and ensuring that businesses are operating efficiently. The students were fascinated by the Singaporean government’s intricate involvement especially when compared to that of the United States government. Through specialized programs such as the EDB and the Media Development Authority, the Singaporean government is able to influence a broad spectrum of fields.

Student Quotes:
“Being an economics major, the visit to the EDB was one of my favorites as I got to learn about the Singapore economy from a macro perspective. Learning about the competition they face from Hong Kong and how they are facilitating such growth is fascinating.”

“The EDB was a great way to apply what we have been observing around the city on a global scale. Learning about Singapore’s success and challenges helped me better understand Singapore for the rest of the trip.”

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BBC News

April 26th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Despite having a very controlling government BBC News is able to act freely in Singapore.  During our visit with BBC we visited with Sharanjit Leyl who was a University of Maryland graduate.  At UMD she earned a double degree in Journalism and English Literature.  After working at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation she jumped on the opportunity to join BBC World News.  The BBC Singapore HQ was very crowded and there were very little employees.  Mrs. Leyl loves her time in Singapore and she stated that Singapore never censors the news.  She stated that the best way to get the hottest news and interviews is through connections.  She tries to keep a good relationship with everyone she meets so that BBC News can be the first to publish a new story.  Although Singapore has very little crime, there is a lot of news around it because of the exponential growth of the country.  There is also a very large start-up industry and Singapore although it has no natural resources, it is set in the future to become a world power.

Student Quotes:

“Sharanjit Leyl was very personable and here journey to Singapore was very intriguing.”

“The BBC studio was so small but I was shocked at how hard the news reporters were working.  The coolest thing was when I was flying home, Mrs. Leyl was on the BBC News Channel.”

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Air Asia

April 26th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Air Asia is a Malaysian based airline that serves many different Asian country.  It is a low cost, no-frills airline like Southwest Airlines.  This is a unique airline because it is the pioneer of low cost travel in Asia.  Air Asia currently operates more than 142 routes to 78 destinations,with over 400 daily flights.  They are trying to break into new locations but there are very strict rules and regulations in other countries.  Air Asia has been very affected by the views of Richard Branson and it strives to be “Fun & Friendly”.  The company has a very strong Board of Directors that work hard and believe very strongly in the company.  The company also has the feel of a start-up because there are very little cubicles and all employees work next to each other.  The CEO also has a desk in the office and he is very open to new ideas.  Lastly, the company offers free massages to workers that are over stressed.  Unlike Singapore Airlines, Air Asia was more open and it seemed to be a lot less strict.  All of the employees at Singapore Airlines seemed to be more conformed, and it seemed like it was a lot harder of a hiring process.

Student Quotes:
“Air Asia has a great open feel and unlike other companies it seems to treat all employees very well.  It was also incredibly cool to see that the CEO has an open office inbetween other workers.”

“I actually flew home on Air Asia and it was a great flight and all of the employees were incredibly nice.”

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Discovery Channel

April 26th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

We traveled to the Discovery international headquarters where Tom Keaveny gave a presentation about his industry. He spoke to us about the television industry and the cultural differences amongst broadcasting in different countries. At Discovery, we learned about how certain countries do not all broadcast the same channels. The audiences differ greatly between different countries; an example would be that the channel, TLC, is aired in America, but is not broadcasted in many asian countries. Also, in some nations, Discovery cannot broadcast certain programs such as the Whale Hunters program in Japan. For certain ethnic reasons, programs may be offensive in that country and are therefore not aired. Discovery was a great visit because it demonstrated the different barriers and ethnic understandings that it needed to adapt to in order for the company to succeed.

Student Quotes:

“I thought Mr. Keaveny was one of the most entertaining and smart speakers I have ever met! Although he was funny and enteratining, he knew so much about this industry and it was great to ask questions. His answers were funny, to the point, and really insightful.”

“The Discovery talk was one of the best of the trips. I didn’t realize how interesting learning about the Discovery Network could be until this visit. The amount of channels and logistical issues they have to deal with is daunting. However, Discovery continues to deliver top-notch shows that appeal to all cultures. On a side note, I thought the speaker was hilarious, but his answers were always insightful. It was really cool to hear him talk about show types and how people’s preferences constantly change.”

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Petronas

April 26th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

We took a trip to the Petronas Towers in the heart of Malaysia to hear a presentation given by Mr. Md Arif. He informed us about the operations that Petronas is involved in. The company controls the entire gas and oil sector in Malaysia and takes the responsibility of developing this vital resource for the country. In addition to the presentation, we took a tour of the Petronas Towers, one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. In between the two towers existed a skybridge which overlooked the city. It was a spectacular view and put into perspective just how tall the skyscrapers were.

Student Quotes:

“Learning about Petronas was very interesting as they drive much of the economics in Malaysia. The size of the company is extremely impressive and I thought the presentation was fantastic. Of course, viewing the sky bridge was a great plus as well!”

“The presentation at Petronas was very insightful and interesting. learning about the operations and different divisions of one of the largest oil companies in the world was an amazing experience. additionally, their footprint globally is very impressive.”

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Media Development Authority

April 26th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

The Media Development Authority was founded in 2003 with the mission of creating media enterprises in-house to attract direct foreign investments for economic growth and to create new jobs.

The Media Development Authority functions very similarly to the Dingman Center at the Smith School. Singapore is really a unique place to start a business. The general consensus in the business world is that China and India are the future hubs of new industry and innovation. By that logic, Singapore is the perfect location to have a business since both geographically and culturally. It is under this belief that the Singaporean government through entities like the Media Development Authority sends its best students abroad to get the best education they can and use that knowledge to build their own businesses back in Singapore. At the MDA, we spoke with Mr. Michael Yap; a University of Maryland alumnus who is the Deputy Chief Executive of the Regulatory Group and Executive Director of the Interactive Digital Media Program Office. He was extremely successful in his start-up and made an impressive $30 million. Despite the company’s remarkable success, Mr. Yap sold his company and later went on to be in charge of the Regulatory Group. This group overseas all primary policy making functions and makes sure that all business licenses are properly administered.

Student Testimonials:

“It was interesting to see how IDM’s research aides in the changes of MDA’s products. I thought Mr. Yap was fascinating to listen to and a great speaker.”

“Mr. Yap’s experience in business was extremely interesting to listen to. I enjoyed his entrepreneurial mindset and ability to lead large innovative groups.”

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