This year, for the first time, the international study trip of Cross-Cultural and Conflict Management for the MBA students took place in Penang, Malaysia, on October 14–19, 2019. In collaboration with the Graduate School of Business at the University of Science Malaysia (GSB USM), the trip included activities at GSB USM itself and company visits, as well as self-exploration around the island of Penang and participation in GSB USM’s Academic Showcase – an event celebrating the school’s 10th Anniversary. The participants were 14 students of Young Professional MBA, 5 student of ASEAN MBA, and 3 exchange students taking the course.
The trip kicked off in the morning with a casual welcoming session in one of the student lounges at USM. Moderated by Dr. Salmi Mohd Isa (Deputy Dean Academic, Career and International of GSB USM), the heart-warming session introduced us to several faculty members of GSB USM, with our SBM ITB delegation members having their part as well. We shared our thoughts about the brief experience in Penang. Still in the same lounge, the afternoon session was a casual forum on ASEAN business, with Dr. Chu Ei Yet and Dr. Chan Tze-Haw being our prominent speakers.
On the next day, we went for company visits, where we had to travel to the industrial area of Penang – the other (Eastern) side, across the sea on the mainland. The first stop was Jeruk Madu Pak Ali, where we learned not only about pickle making but also about the company culture and leadership style, among others. Not to mention, we learned about the different meanings of “Jeruk” between the Indonesian and the Malaysian.
Not that far away from the location of the first company in the industrial area, ViTrox Corporation (a company that “designs and manufactures innovative, leading-edge and cost-effective automated vision inspection equipment and system-on-chip embedded electronics devices for the semiconductor and electronics packaging industries” as its website says) was our second stop. Also labelled “Campus 2.0,” the goal of which is to create a learning environment in the workplace, ViTrox introduced us to its company culture, including its core vegetarian principle and eating custom for employees. As part of our immersion, we had to experience some snippets of the culture first hand.
Both companies provided us insight about two distinct realities of doing business, with one similarity arguably being their concern for sustainability (including care for their employees).
Having further explored Penang, the students were also scheduled to participate in the Academic Showcase as part of GSB USM’s 10th Anniversary. Each student group, represented by one member, presented not only in front of the judges and larger audience for about 3 minutes each but also by the poster stand when the judges went around exploring the posters and their ideas a bit more. The opportunity to present was a privilege and a learning opportunity for us. The academic showcase event ended with a series of talks featuring innovation experts from around Malaysia discussing issues of innovation, sustainability, community, among others. The event took place on October 18-19, 2019.
Finally, the entire trip was concluded with a debriefing session featuring Dr. Salmi Mohd Isa and Dr. Ooi Say Keat, discussing students’ observation and key learning points during a week-long trip. Cross-Cultural and Conflict Management is offered as an elective course for MBA students in Bandung. This was the first time that all students taking the course were able to do a study trip collectively at one place. Our big thanks to GSB USM, through Dr. Ooi Say Keat, who helped us arrange such a meaningful visit.
The visit indeed helped us get closer… and understand… by working together…