KUCHING – Twenty-one university students will get a rare opportunity to meet with and learn from some of the region’s top company leaders when they embark on a 12-day study tour from 12 April to 24 April.
The tour will take the Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus students who are in their final year of their degree in international business to companies in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok.
“This is an intensive business trip which will provide the students with exposure to some of the most well known companies and government organizations in the ASEAN region,” said Nicolaos Giannopoulos, a lecturer with the university’s School of Business and Enterprise who organized the tour.
Giannapoulos, who will lead the tour, said the tour will involve meetings with top-level executives from each organization and tours of the organizations.
“At each of these meetings, the best officials and business people from these organizations will talk and brief the students with first-hand knowledge of the cultural, political, economic and regulatory issues they face in doing business in the ASEAN region,” he said.
In Kuala Lumpur they will visit organizations such as Public Bank Berhad, MISC Berhad, Genting Berhad, Bursa Malaysia Berhad, Bank Negara and MATRADE.
The students will be given briefings by high level delegates. For example, at Public bank, the Chief Operating Officer will brief the students.
Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank, the two largest banks in Thailand, are among their stops in Bangkok. Also on the list are PTT Exploration & Production, Thailand’s largest petroleum and natural gas producer, refiner and exporter, and a rare opportunity to visit the Asian Development Bank where the country’s director Jean-Pierre Verbiest will speak to the students.
In Singapore, they will have a guided tour of semi-conductor manufacturer STATS ChipPac’s manufacturing plant. A visit to the Economic Development Board of Singapore, which is involved in the promotion of international business into Singapore, is also on the agenda.
“Even for me, this is an incredible opportunity to listen to and learn in person from experienced leaders in ASEAN business affairs,” said Giannopoulos.
“Students have a chance to listen to and ask specific questions of these delegates about the respective organization and the international aspects of their business. The information they receive from these meetings can be used and incorporated into their research work and project,” he said.
Among the students on the study tour is Tanzanian Stephen Obed, who said, “The trip is an opportunity to learn more practically and see for myself the working of these companies in the international business arena.
“The interesting part is that we are visiting companies that are affected by the present economic condition and it would be interesting to learn how they plan to mitigate and outweigh the situation.”
For Malaysian student Chan Tyng Tyng, meeting with senior management staff of these companies means getting first-hand knowledge how a company manages its business outside the country.
“I have always been curious how they do this, and at the same time we will also learn about the business culture of other countries,” she said.
Last year, 18 students took part in the tour. Upon their return, students are required, as part of their assessment, to produce a major research paper involving a case study of at least one of the companies visited and documenting its success, advantageous and disadvantages.
This would involve investigating and evaluating the economic, political, regulatory, regional factors which have impacted on their business decisions.
They are to demonstrate a comparative knowledge between the business issues / practices here in Malaysia against those in the countries visited so that they will become more aware of the ASEAN environment in which they will eventually be working in and contributing to.