Student travel blog: Marketing 4800 visits Singapore and Malaysia
Marketing students visited Jamek Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, wearing coverings provided by the mosque.
I’m Catherine Hinkebein, a junior studying Finance & Banking. This spring, I had the opportunity to take Professor Brady Hodges’ first-ever Marketing 4800: Entering Global Markets Course. I was one of nine students, and we worked with two U.S. companies wishing to expand into Southeast Asia. All semester, we researched the ideal market entrance strategy for the companies. Finally, in May, we had the opportunity to travel to Malaysia and Singapore to explore the region we spent months researching. We also had the chance to present our findings about the companies to the United States Embassy in Singapore.
Our 30-hour long trip to Malaysia began with a flight to Newark Airport in New Jersey, before departing the U.S. for a 14-hour flight to Tokyo, Japan. While only a brief layover, I added it to my bucket list for a future visit after getting a glimpse. Then we finally landed at Midnight in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Our group began the first day with a tour of the city. 64% of the country practices Islam. Because of this, we had the chance to explore beautiful places of worship and witnessed a lot of uniqueness in culture. We visited the River of Life, a top ten waterfront globally, and the Jamek Mosque, where the employees provided us appropriate coverings to wear.
Tuesday was my favorite day in Malaysia. We visited the Batu Caves, one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. At 272 steps to the top, this was our exercise for the day and the view was worth every step. That night, we visited the KL tower, the 7th tallest tower in the world.
Wednesday, we were fortunate enough to have a company presentation from Gwen Yong, Country Manager from FIS Global. She was inspiring, and I learned a great deal from her. She even brought us all hand curated gift baskets of her favorite Malaysian goodies.
Thursday, we began to pack for Singapore, polished up our presentations to send off to the Embassy, and then visited Thean Hou Temple, the temple of the Chinese Sea Goddess Mazu. We ended the night at HeliPad: a helicopter landing pad by day, turned rooftop bar at night.
After a day of travel to Singapore on Friday, we kicked off our first day with a walking tour of Merlion Park. Merlion Park offers views of the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the Merlion Fountain, and the Singapore Flyer. We ended this busy day with a Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo. It was cool to see the unique nocturnal animals.
Next, we had a free day, so my classmates and I visited Gardens by the Bay. It consists of multiple indoor gardens full of exotic plant species and the Flower Dome which is the largest glass greenhouse in the world. Cloud Forest is redesigned each year with a new theme, and it was Avatar when we went. We returned that night for a light show, and it was breathtaking.
Monday was the big day. We rehearsed one last time before taking our presentations to the U.S. Embassy. We had an audience of embassy employees and industry experts. It was nerve wracking to present to such an experienced audience, but we worked so hard to be prepared and did well. They enjoyed our presentations and offered meaningful feedback. That night, we presented to the companies virtually, 10pm Singapore time, 9am in Missouri. We also provided the companies contact information for the Embassy.
The next day was a major exhale, knowing we killed it on the presentations the day before. We traveled by cable car to Singapore’s Sentosa Island, where we ziplined through the tropical forest, relaxed on the beach, and did an ocean floating obstacle course.
Our next day: bittersweet. This was our last full day in Singapore. We visited the top of Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which provided panoramic views of the island, shopped on Arab Street, and had a farewell dinner at a Fire Ramen restaurant.
However, for my classmate, Melissa and I, it wasn’t farewell. She and I made a snap decision that night at dinner to change our flights, giving us three more days to explore the island country on our own. It seems no amount of time would be enough to take in everything Singapore has to offer.
Before this trip, studying abroad never felt like something that was in the cards for me. Now, I am deciding where to go next. I am so grateful to Professor Brady Hodges for curating this incredible program, to Trulaske Abroad for making it possible, and to Mizzou for constantly fostering an environment that encourages students to learn through experience.