Finding the Perfect Work-Life Balance
As most of us are graduating within the next year or so, we will be (fingers-crossed) entering the workforce. Along with our new jobs and work lives, we will each need to find our own work-life balance. Our last two days were simply a blast and the combination of events between each of these days, and the prior events throughout the trip, were a great introduction to helping us discover what work-life balance means. From finishing up our business visits to meeting Ohio State alumni halfway across the world and on top of all, kayaking, there was no better way to end this successful trip.
Friday is for Business
Hands on Experience with a Global Tech Giant
Dell was formerly a fortune 50 company, prior to its recent privatization is one the most known technology companies in the world. The company provides software and hardware solutions, from servers to cloud computing, they do it all. Most of us were only familiar with Dell from their laptop and desktop offerings, most notably in the early 2000’s when they focused on a direct to customer offering.
We visited Dell in Singapore, and they tasked us Ohio State marketing students with a hands-on activity. We had all noticed Dell had switched their computer business from direct to customer model to the retail model, but what none of us knew was why. Our task presented by the company was to look at Dell’s business from a retroactive point of view and devise a plan for switching out of the direct to customer model.
Even when you can see the future it is sometimes difficult to paint the picture in between that leads you to that point. We all devised marketing plans and identified key drivers that changed the Dell business model. The Dell head of product management for Asia, sat patiently as we delivered our quickly drawn up plans. To her surprise, and ours, we actually identified many of the market drivers, and developed plans that were similar to Dells actual path! However, it was not all easy, some aspects we had totally missed the mark on or had not seen things in the same way the company had. The executives gave us feedback in terms of the past, but also in context of the future for Dell. We learned that taking a look into the past can often provide great insights, and each of us was happy to be able to get hands on global experience with executives in marketing from the other side of the globe.
Networking, Networking, and more Networking
After we finished the last of the company visits and presentations of the trip (allowing us to take a big sigh of relief), we were given the opportunity to network with Ohio State alumni now living in Singapore over some appetizers and drinks. We had the opportunity to speak with two individuals, Mark and Andy, both of whom have resided in Singapore over 10 years, with both their families residing in the country as well. In fact, Mark had actually met and married a Singaporean! It was an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to speak to them, as they had lots of knowledge and experience regarding international business. We found it interesting to hear where they began their careers and how they ended up in Singapore. Andy, who was born and raised in South Korea, had intended to return back home after spending 5 years working in Singapore but lost track of time. This statement later raised the question, just how much of your life can you truly plan. The dinner was a nice segway from being work focused to a more relaxing and fun atmosphere after all our hard work throughout the day and week. We were able to fully enjoy each other’s company, which included teaching Professor Matta’s first-ever card game…a nice round of BS. But we didn’t stop with the cards there. Card games transformed into magic tricks which captivated a large group of all of us for a fairly large chunk of time. We weren’t sure if magic made the time go by fast or if it was because of all the fun we were having. They do say time flies when you’re having fun, but we like to think magic was also a part of it. Magic makes for a more interesting story anyways.
So from company visits to magic tricks we weren’t really sure if we could top where the evening was taking us, but a large group of us did venture to our stomping ground, Clarke Quay. This was a great way to celebrate our successes throughout the week and to dance off the pressure and worry each group was faced leading up to their respective presentations.
Saturday is for Fun
Island relaxation on Pulau Ubin Island
We couldn’t believe this was our last day and what a better way to end this trip than with a small trip to Pulau Ubin Island to go kayaking…and not to mention a day off from “work” to enjoy the “life” part of the balance (although there was still some physical work involved in the kayak experience). It was nice change of pace to get out of the city, experience some nature, and have a relaxing time. Fortunately, we were all able to stay afloat the whole time and even saw a heron family on top of the rocks. We learned that the sulfur smell in the air was caused by the abundance of mangroves in that area. We ended the morning in Pulau Ubin with a local lunch that offered fresh seafood where you could even see the fish swimming in tanks in the restaurant that they would eventually prepare. After all our hard work kayaking around the island, we treated ourselves with coconut water in the actual shell to quench our thirst.
We like to think we look like we know what we are doing, and no one told us otherwise.
Flower Dome & Cloud Forest
The fun didn’t stop with kayaking though. The Flower Dome and Cloud Forest were more gems in this jampacked city. The indoor garden was beautiful with a multitude of different plants and trees, each unique in their own rights. There was a traditional Chinese music ensemble practicing on a terrace overlooking the garden and it made for a relaxing and culturally stimulating experience. The Cloud Forest was quite the experience as well. The flora was stunning in both of these domes and it was cool to see that all the beauty could be paralleled with sustainability efforts.
Everywhere you turned in the Flower Dome, there was some opportunity to snap a beautiful picture.
Neat structure in the Cloud Forest, and not to mention a great place to cool off from the heat and humidity.
The Last Supper
A little exhausted from all the fun that was had throughout the day, we freshened ourselves up and were off to a wonderful farewell dinner at Blue Ginger, a restaurant that specializes on creating a fusion of Chinese and Malay dishes. The food was outstanding and as the dinner came to a close, the group collectively gave our tour guide Agnes a card and Professor Matta gave a nice speech about the successes of the inaugural Global Marketing Trip. It was a bittersweet moment because we all knew the trip was coming to a close and in a day’s time we would be welcomed back the the US with temperatures in the teens and snow on the ground, but we all had such wonderful experiences and created memories that cannot be replaced. The last activity some of us decided to partake in was a light show at Marina Bay Sands. This show was very engaging as the technology was very advanced. A story was told on a wave of water that was created on the bay and it was coupled with laser lights. It was a great way to end the trip and enjoy the last time we would all be in tank tops and shorts for a long while. None of us would ever take back this experience and our time in Singapore. It was eye-opening, culturally stimulating, and a great opportunity to learn about global marketing while meeting top executives of companies. We were all able to learn what it truly means to balance your work and life, and it will be a trip that stays with all of us for a lifetime as we near graduation and kick-starting our careers.
The last hooray in Singapore was the light show with an amazing view of the skyline at night.