Traveling to Singapore for Casework - Not "All Work, No Play"

Recently, L.E.K. was hired by a leading global nutrition company’s R&D department to help optimize organizational effectiveness and position them to win in local markets across the globe. With a large portion of their forecast growth in Asia, it quickly became apparent that drawing market insights and identifying areas for organizational improvement should be done at the company’s Asian headquarters in Singapore.

A week before I started on the case, my manager reached out and asked if I would be interested in traveling with the managing director for the week-long trip to Singapore. Although the trip was during the weekend of July fourth, I decided I couldn’t pass up such an amazing experience this early on in my career. Three weeks later, I found myself settling into my cozy business class bed / seat with ~14 hours of travel ahead.

Once we were settled into our hotel in the heart of Singapore, the MD and I enjoyed breakfast while planning for the week ahead. We had a full schedule of management meetings with director- and manager-level stakeholders in Singapore and Shanghai. Throughout our trip, we used these meetings to understand local market dynamics and how the Asia and U.S. R&D teams can more efficiently and effectively work together. As the week progressed, our conversations shifted focus from information gathering to working hand-in-hand with the client to solve these key issues. As an Associate, it was rewarding to be an active participant in these conversations that were essential in shaping the outlook of the business.

The MD and I also traveled to the outskirts of the city to tour the core manufacturing and research facilities in the area. This was my first time testing out head-to-toe safety gear: a full body suit, goggles and a helmet to name just a few of my new accessories. Touring the facility helped bring some of the issues we’d discussed throughout the case to life and gave me a better understanding of the products the company was making.

While we were there for business, the trip was by no means “all work and no play.” It was a first trip to Singapore for both of us, and we took every chance to absorb the amazing culture around us. We were also lucky to have a great host from the client who introduced us to the city’s best cuisine. If you make the trip, trying the chili crab is a must! In addition to great meals, we toured the enormous malls that connect the city and we spent an evening at Singapore zoo’s famous night safari. Most of the evenings ended with drinks at the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel which boasts a breathtaking view of the city.

When it was finally time to head back to the U.S., I couldn’t help wishing we had more time. Working firsthand to solve problems that were core to the success of the company is not an opportunity many people have one and a half years into their career, let alone doing so halfway across the globe. I’m confident L.E.K. will continue to provide these rewarding experiences as I progress in my career, and I can only hope another trip to Singapore is in my future.

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