Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Going Beyond Borders | Singapore

Graduate Education is a learning experience with a higher level of qualifications and expectations. It is undertaken by eager individuals to broaden their knowledge on their field of specialization. The Master in Business Management program of Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) aims primarily to produce competent human resources needed in the management of private and public sector organizations and cooperatives and in the development of new enterprises. One of its thrusts is to expose students to the actual world of business locally and internationally.
On July 14, 2011, 9 MBM students together with Prof. Milagros Narido, MBM Coordinator, Dr. Alita Roxas, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Ms. Merlyn Salimbangon, staff of the Marketing Department, ventured into an educational tour with the main objective of learning business operations, cross-cultural differences as well as new perspectives in business and life in general.
At 10 o’clock in the morning, they visited the country’s regulator of the capital market – the Philippine Stock Exchange located at Ayala Triangle, Ayala Avenue, Makati City. It has another trading floor located at Pasig City which will eventually be closed to minimize costs and have a centralized monitoring of the stock market. 
The group was accommodated by Ms. Mary Jane dela Rosa, a staff of the PSE’s market education department. She happily welcomed everyone and made an initial lecture on the history of PSE as well as refreshing the terms: stocks, stock market and stock exchange. She then led the team to the conference room overlooking the trading floor. Each cubicle is rented by a brokerage firm responsible for facilitating trading of a company’s stocks to various clients. Most of them are old to reflect credibility but there’s also the youngest broker whose age is 20.
The lecture included the benefits of investing in stocks by emphasizing the great returns one can have. As said, the higher the risk, the bigger the gain. To offset this risk, one can actually choose “blue chips” stocks or safe stocks offered by giant companies such as San Miguel Corporation. All publicly listed companies are required to submit a written report of the company’s status a couple of hours after each board meeting concerning the stock market. Violation of this requirement suggests sanctions including withdrawal from the roster of companies allowed to continue trading publicly. She also explained the significance of the colors on the wide screen as well as the names of the companies reflected in it. 

 The ringing of the bell will be made at the beginning and end of the trading session at 9:30AM and 12:00 noon, respectively.
The Trading Platform
 The group thanked Ms. MJ for a fun-filled and inspiring discussion. Then the group went to Ninoy Aquino International Airport to prepare for the 4:55pm flight to the next destination.
At 9:00 o’clock in the evening, the group arrived at Changi International Airport, Singapore which is considered to be one of the world’s best international airports. They were welcomed by Mr. Bernie Mantos, the President of the MSU-IIT Alumni in Singapore.
The next day, the group prepared to visit Mycofarm - the largest producer of mushroom in Singapore as well as Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd. – with their Tiger Beer as Singapore’s first locally brewed beer.
On their way to Mycofarm was a bit challenging. As strangers of the said country without a travel agent to guide them, the group “probed” by referring to a map, asking bus drivers and reading the guideposts in each station. Thank God, a Singaporean freely offered a suggestion what route are they going to take. It was such a relief because Seletar West Farmway 5 can be reached by riding two different buses, and a walk is needed to find that far flung area. Everyone was so glad to reach the entrance of Mycofarm, (sighs…hehe)
 The participants were welcomed by the general manager of Mycofarm and were further introduced to Mr. Johnny Lim, the production and marketing manager. After a brief introduction, they went to the “plant” where mushrooms are grown. The “plant” includes a number of air-conditioned buildings to facilitate proper nurture of mushrooms. The group was amazed with the sophisticated way of cultivating mushrooms and accordingly, it’s very expensive and only Singapore in Southeast Asia invests into such kind of technology. The team tried to taste the “raw” mushroom and some of them grinned…hehe. The most exciting part was the cooking demonstration where Johnny did the effort. Ma’am Narido and Ma’am Roxas also volunteered and enjoyed the activity. Then, the group enjoyed eating the dish with satisfaction and delight. It served as their lunch because it was already past 12:00 noon. After taking of photos, everyone thanked Johnny and the general manager for the accommodation. The group bade goodbye at 1:30pm.  
A glance inside the air-conditioned buildings
The next visit was at the Acia Pacific Breweries Ltd. located at Alexandra Point, an extreme opposite of Seletar. The team decided to take some snacks before proceeding toAPB. They were welcomed by the company’s tour guide to its showroom and production facilities.
They name it as the “Brewery Tour” where everyone gets the chance to learn the history of the company through multimedia presentations. A journey to the brewing and packaging facility followed where one can smell the beer, hear the sound of the machines operating and the colorful lights in the Tiger Tavern – a bar type lounge in which the visitors can enjoy the various types of beer. Mind you, it’s bottomless. If you love beer, this is the perfect place for you to plunge in. The group tasted some of these like the Heineken, Anchor Smooth, ABC Extra Stout, Baron’s, the Guinness and the original Tiger beer. It was a simple "trial" moment but the beer showed its effect when 2 of the ladies Ms. Leah and Ms. Nenenplayed billiards with some men there. Everyone cheered and the winners of course are from the visiting team! Kudos! Wew!!!
Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd is one of the major players in the beer industry. It has its branches in more than 10 countries. The manufacturing plant in Singapore can produce 40,000 bottles of beer everyday. The most popular beer product is the Tiger Beer with a high market share in Singapore, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Cambodia among others.
The group left the place at almost 6 o’clock in the evening. Thank God, the company visit has ended. The group explored further Singapore by visiting its tourist attractions. They visited the Merlion, the symbolic statue of Singapore, Universal StudiosSentosaBugis Street,ExpoMarina Bay Sands, Esplanade and a lot more. They enjoyed riding a cable car, sightseeing at the Marina Towers, conquering their fears at the Galactica – the biggest roller coaster in the region, and the creative Revenge of the Mummy ride; being surprised with a relatively small “dragon” ride, witnessing a Hollywood live shooting at theWaterworld, and walking, walking, and walking where everyone got tired and would have wanted to sit along the streets, streets, streets.hahahaha…
 The educational tour ended on Monday, July 18, 2011.  It was a long journey of fun, learning and appreciation on the new perspectives about business and life in general. Singapore is a showcase of discipline, cleanliness, continuous development, great tourism and a foundation of great hopes for our country. Their people, their culture and aspirations are really amazing. Their love for their environment is equally impressive that anywhere you can find trees despite the tall buildings and the like. Their mode of transportation is highly convenient especially so that the MRT has a way to interconnect the various routes consisting of theNorth South Line (Red), East West Line (Green), North East Line (Purple), and theCircle Line (Yellow). These lead to different locations at your convenience. The government really has invested in its infrastructures, tourism and even people where every citizen there has a ready job.
Singapore is indeed a good example of where our country may be heading. It may take time but small steps are advised. A point of comparison has no room for debate considering various factors but seeing how Singapore started and grown is a great way to emulate.
The group would like to thank Mr. Bernie Mantos for his willingness to help the organizer coordinate with the companies to visit and even for the accommodation. Thank you Sir for doing the booking. More thanks to Prof. Milagros Narido and Dr. Alita Roxas for the patience, understanding and support. To the managers and other personnel who warmly welcomed the team for the company visit. To the alumni of MSU-IIT who met the group and spent a couple of hours for bonding. To their kababayans who find time to mingle with them. To the tourism of Singapore, thank you for the free map that served as their guide wherever they go. To those who joined the tour for the trust and confidence that it will be successful. And to those who in one way or the other has contributed to the success of the undertaking. And most importantly, to the Almighty Father who has been their ultimate protector and giver. Thank you so much.
There has been moments of mistakes and re-routes during the entire tour but it made the venture really educational in the truest sense of the word. The group has indeed learned in terms of enhancing self-confidence, appreciating cross-cultural differences and relating the theories to the actual world of business.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. God bless…

Photo Credits:

Jerame Beneros
Marjorie Filoteo
Asia Pacific Breweries

Thanks :-)


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