July 20, 2015, by Academic contributor

The Blog

Nottingham MBA students enjoy a global experience studying with people from all over the world and having the opportunity to participate in a number of international business study tours. Study tours include California’s Silicon Valley (with a focus on technology start-ups and equity investment), China (a week-long business and cultural tour to China taking advantage of Nottingham’s unique connections with China), Lehigh University (including visits to blue-chip companies in New York City and Washington DC, a tour of the White House and Capitol Hill, and time at the Lehigh campus in Pennsylvania).

In a series of special blogs we hear individual perspectives from current MBA students who recently took part in a Study Tour to Malaysia and Singapore.

The Blog (by Sonia Benitez Quiterio)

First click

Singapore skylineI didn’t know how was going to be the end of this story but I wanted to live it, to feel the
oriental breeze of the winter mixed with the spring in a distant space from this island that has
been home for some months. Businesses? Yes Businesses, but the experience should wrap
everything, should extract the why of the east side of the world.

The first night

Tonight will be a long night, I won’t go to bed because I have to get up at 3am to get ready and
to start the way, and I am not going to make it. Craig has spent some hours with me until
midnight, promising that he will take care of Roger who is my plant, my green and purple plant.
The nights in Malaysia will be hot and I am not prepared for that.

That morning

I arrived early, not at 4:30 but at 4:45; the weather is perfect, raining and cloudy, it is cold but
I am used to, the University looks empty and the lake looks craving for a duck swimming in its
dirty waters. Almost everyone is there, new faces, new smiles, new expectations to fulfil…the
first counting, we are 10, no 11, we are, we just are.

Is so easy to sleep everywhere, I am prepared for that, this time the bus 2.5 hours to London,
and now 12 hours, is like traveling to Mexico, but no, no this time. I will forget this bit and I will
board this A380 that might take me to the east side of the world, Asia for first time. We are
Nottingham University Business School, we are one unit, we are 11 again and soon probably
12, we had the hoodie with its name, we are here to show to the world where we come from
and where we are going.

The flight

No complications, no liquids above 100ml, no weapons, no danger, just people around waiting,
new faces, new talks. It’s quite interesting to observe an international group of “students”
traveling like in high school, without a proper uniform, without parents’ advices, just their souls
and them together. My goal for the plane: Sleep, eat and sleep, no talks no plans no
networking, just enjoying the uncomfortable tourist class seat. What is interesting here? We
all are different, abysmally distinct, 840 people breathing in the same aerospace, enclosed in
a plane powered by GE engines, such a big combination! Soni you slept a lot during the flight,
yes that’s why I lost my phone, I threw it through the window.

The heat

Malaysia is hot, humid and multicultural, full black dresses everywhere at 34C, I don’t
understand human minds. Stepping the Oriental ground for first time is familiar to me, maybe
I lived here in my past life. The group is complete, we need a shower, we need some food, we
need to walk around, well I won’t use “we”, because everyone needs completely different
things at the arrival, I am ready to explore, wait no, I am not, the heat can kill anyone. I am too
used to UK whether.

Walking like lost people is the next step, under this intense sun, then strange food, new taste,
the conversation is cool, the smiles are real and the first food together looks like a success.
Ringgit? No I don’t have, I need to borrow from someone. It looks like we are so used to
different currencies, it looks like we have been here for so long, I want to escape and walk
under the shade crossing glances with one of the three cultures that coexist here, all together
as a unit. The language? English, everyone can use it, this is a UK colony, it doesn’t surprise me.
Fancy for a walk through the city? The photography art starts, walk to Petronas twin towers,
walk into the crowd, contemporary dance in the middle, noise, sun, sweating like crazy, green
view, crazy walk. I want to come back, I need to. I will give an advice, if you fly 720 minutes, try
to be at time to go up to Petronas Twin Towers, it worth.

The temple

The group looks excited, we are 12, or 11, I always lose the count. We are ready to visit Batu
Caves, we are ready without small white humans (Gift courtesy of Paul), I wear flat shoes, yes,
this time is necessary. The place is magic, is amazing, is hot and humid, full of new things, and
impregnated with the essence of Lord Murugan who stands in the entrance with a spectacular
body of 140 ft. Who made this spectacular figure?? Is gold? No, is 24 million rupees, 1550 cubic
metres of concrete, 250 tonnes of steel bars and 300 litres of gold pain. Not bad,
Food is good, is kind of tasty…with some worms, that’s why I always try to avoid eating in
suspicious places. The juice is more than amazing, fresh, tasty, fresh, sweet, fresh, cold, fresh.

First business day

Walking in heels never has been my favourite sport, but this is the start of the day. We reached
too early, why? The group was sweating, but excited about the talk. The talk was cancelled,
next one was so plane. Nepal? Amazing talk, high Energy from the speaker, my dreams is to
visit Nepal and look through the eyes of Pokhara Lakes and the reflection of the Everest over
it. The lunch amazing, I am fan from now of this food. Is completely tasty.

The group forgot me in Malaysia, they set out to Central‘s bank gallery…the group forgot me,
and left me alone in that hot place! The building is interesting, some paintings profound and
some spaces quite boring. The company was perfect, the talk and the dénouement attractive.

The lost

The way to reach Crops of the future was an odyssey, we got lost several times, but it was
good. The receptions was quite different, between screams and yielding we were received, not
against us but against the probable author of the lost. I disapprove completely that behaviour,
before any schedule, the respect for everyone should exist, I don’t have anything else to say.
The university is quite nice, a lake in the middle, green everywhere, experiments, games with
the ground and interesting proposals for the future. The world should follow this direction,
otherwise next generations won’t see the earth at all.

Nirvana Asia the best! This place should be a theme park, or a temple, not a cemetery. Quite
beautiful, the concept is interesting, but it is just for somebody that believes in future lives.
When I die I want to be cremated and thrown to the mountains in the middle of the snow.
The dinner in KL Tower was the best part of the day. James Wong is smart and really kind, he
was late but when we arrived the night changed. The food good, the place fine, but the view
was stoning. It remembers me my dinner at 360 in Germany, maybe taller tower.

The plate

The visit to Sengalor said a lot about Asian culture, is not about manufacturing things, there is
a purpose behind and there is a big involvement from the people to belong to the whole
process. Psychological perfect process. The hands in the wall are now part of the history of
success. Creating something from scratch, from a grey liquid and shape It with the hands is
amazing, my respect for this people.

Putrajaya is a concept of the sky, everyone would like to live there, but is not for everyone and
not everyone understands it. The talk was a disaster, the questions and the answer were too.
The fruit was amazing. The pictures on the top and the uncomfortable question terrible. NO
comments for that. I f you visit this city don’t talk to people that doesn’t know anything about
this concept of the future.

The best thing is the giant prawn, any size is perfect, but this one is almost indescribable.

The oil

Who can imagine that all can be made with oil? The big eyes, the ones that keep conspiring
against everyone, the ones that rule the world. Sustainability? We should study more that
word, understand it and do something, not just fulfil empty rules that probably are not helping
to the environment. Sustainability is a fashionable word? Just that? A new selling stereotype?

The strike

I’m not fan of Unions, but the rules have established that companies must have one. What for?
Under which limits? In favour of who? Corruption? What is the purpose of the business, the
success is not selling what we produce is selling the why, why we produce this industry? Is this
the truth for Unions Businesses?

Singapore and its magic

Singapore is the city of the dreams, the moderated heat and the big buildings, the high naipes
in the sky, the pool in the top of the world, the multicultural nation with 40% foreign individuals
pursuing a fantasy, the city where the skyscrapers swim in the lake. The city that invites you to
stay, forever.

The city that pays $17K for a pair of shoes, and that dances over the street looking for a coin.
The city that handles the fancy walk against the fancy shoot, the city that destroys the
paradigms of the quick growth, the city that speaks by itself and says you are here to admire
me, admire me and stay, leave your wealth here, stare at me and leave.

This is the best part of the trip, excited for the good food, for the good looking people, for the
big brands, for the fancy smell in the air, for that pool that seduces everyone, for the lake that
surrounds every soul, for the financial talk that describes how the world manipulates the
money and how this powerful country is in the eye of the power.

I cannot finish this story talking more about Singapore, the words are not enough to describe
the moment of silence that we left for the city. Nothing even similar, New York is far, as it is
London, Berlin, Paris or Honk Hong. This metropolis has a unique stamp, this space deserve a
book and a careful description….

Sonia Benitez Quiterio is currently completing a full-time Master of Business Administration

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