Doing Business in Asia (Singapore)

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During my pre-business school days, one of the things that impressed me the most about NYU Stern was its extensive Doing Business in (DBi) Program. Having studied abroad in Spain during my undergraduate years, I was eager for the chance to study internationally again. DBi seemed like a great way to combine my work and school commitments, allowing me to see more of the world while knocking out some course credits.

So, over winter break, I participated in the DBi Asia (Singapore) class. Over the course of the 2 weeks, the 42 participants (both full-time and Langone students) in DBi Singapore took a dive into how business is conducted throughout Asia.  The DBi program included classroom lectures, workshops, corporate visits, cultural events, and sightseeing opportunities. This 3-credit DBi was an intensive, two-week class, and is truly ideal for Langone students looking to mesh their studies with international travel.

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This was my first ever DBi course, and to say it exceeded expectations is an understatement.  Prior to arrival in Singapore, our group project teams met up at Stern to complete our pre-arrival project, a sociopolitical/economic written briefing report on a major Asian country.  Once in Singapore, the academic components of the program were housed at the National University of Singapore (NUS).  At NUS, we studied topics ranging from marketing strategies and back-office services administration to corporate governance and survival in emerging economies.  We conducted negotiation simulations between American and Asian companies, experiencing firsthand how important understanding different cultures is in negotiation tactics.  We learned about how tradition and family firm dynamics can affect the GDP of major Asian economies.  We visited three successful Asian corporations, including an eastern medicine company, a beer distribution company, and Singapore Airlines’ training facilities.  Our classroom discussions really drove home the points learned in the corporate visits.

On the social side, NYU and NUS executed a program to help us truly experience Singapore.  We explored the various cultures that make up the melting pot of Singapore, including visits to Chinatown and Little India. We admired the largest collection of Singapore’s orchids at the renowned botanical gardens, and we drank Singapore Slings at the famed Raffles Hotel.  Every touristy whim was covered by our program’s coordinators, and we all were extremely grateful for the chance to see the noteworthy sites with complete ease.

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Given the flight from NYC to Singapore was 24 hours long, my friends and I took advantage of the relative ease of traveling around Southeast Asia.  My DBi adventure started a weekend early, when a few students and I met up to celebrate New Years’ Eve in Bangkok, Thailand.  While in Bangkok, we spent a day shopping in the local marketplace and marveling at the delicious, authentic Thai cuisine.  We also ventured into the Thai suburbs to experience a floating river market.

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The DBi included a long weekend in the middle of the program, encouraging us to further explore Singapore’s neighboring countries. Some friends and I used this break to travel to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  In Vietnam, we rode on the back of motorbikes as part of an authentic local food tour, trying out local delicacies such as beef pho and banh mi.  We learned firsthand about the Vietnam War by exploring the Cu Chi tunnels.  These experiences taught me more about the Vietnamese perspective than any textbook could.

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The DBi program is an invaluable way for NYU Stern students to gain global perspectives through hands-on, experiential learning.  A lot of learning does happen on site at West 4th and Greene Street, but there’s something to be said about learning through immersion.  I am grateful for the new friendships I made during this DBi program, as we all have experienced something truly special and relatable together.

Dara Heimowitz

About Dara Heimowitz

Dara is a student in the Langone Part-time MBA program specializing in Leadership and Change Management and Global Business. She is the AVP of Philanthropy for the Langone Student Government, and the VP Langone of the Jewish Students Association. Dara is also a member of Stern Women in Business, Business Analytics Club, and Cellar. Dara loves that she gets the opportunity to help people in her full-time role as a Human Resources Business Partner.

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