Hello, my name is Isabella and I went on the Winter Southeast Asia seminar to Thailand & Vietnam. This blog is not only about an amazing company visit I experienced in Thailand, but it is also about how going to these companies connected me with some amazing people. Which made me realize my dream of moving abroad could actually manifest into reality one day. I gained a different perspective on what was possible in my life.
The International Business Seminar Company Experience
What makes an International Business Seminar different from any other study abroad program is the fact that you actually get to go abroad and visit many big-name companies. Sure, all other study abroad programs take you to different places, but IBS takes you and immerses you in the business world of the specific country you are visiting. You really get to see the ins and outs of international business in a foreign place, and it really gives you a fresh perspective. You also get to talk to managers, CEO’s marketing specialists, and many other different people with different professions that work for all sorts of companies.
My Favorite Company Visit
One of my favorite companies visits was to IKEA Thailand. Most people have heard of IKEA; the Swedish company and superstore who are known for all types of “easy” to put together furniture and other household items. However, did you know Ikea is also one of the biggest food-chain restaurant producers in the world? The IKEA brand itself is so big that just by adding a restaurant to each of their stores they actually take the top of the charts in food sales and production. This was crazy to me, and it was also something I probably wouldn’t have known without this visit. IKEA also just banned single-use plastic containers and products in all of their stores and restaurants. By doing this they are cutting back of much of the world’s plastic usage. This was amazing to me because it demonstrates how one company can make a huge impact in the world.
A Different Perspective
Now, while all of the company’s fast-facts and the store tour of IKEA were very interesting, my favorite part of this company visit was just being able to talk to some of IKEA’s employees. We talked to a marketing specialist, a supply-chain manager, a logistics person, and a few other people while on this tour. They each gave us a new perspective on the company and what it would be like to actually work there. Each presenter had graphics and we also had an intermission-break of bubble tea, so the presentation was definitely a hit!
A Glimpse into Bangkok Business
While talking about the company was the main part of the employee’s presentations, each employee also gave us some insight on business in Bangkok in general. Many of them were from outside of Thailand, so they all had first-hand stories of the cultural differences in the business world in Thailand. This piqued my interest because I would not have thought about this issue on my own. For example, Thailand is very hierarchical. Here in the United States, if your superior asks you to complete a task like ordering an extra product, you usually just follow the order and get it done. However, in Thailand, our speaker explained that because it was a hierarchical system, a superior would have to go to someone and be very specific in the task. They would have to specifically give that person the authority to execute what was asked of them and provide all of the resources to do so. He explained it as a respect thing, but it still very different than how business is handled in the United States.
Why these Company Visits Gave me More
The IKEA tour, along with all of our other company tours, was amazing. One of the best parts was finding out where all of the employees came from. Each of the employees came from different companies, had different majors in school, and worked in all sorts of roles. For me, living abroad is something I have always thought about doing. After college, my plan is to pack up and move to a different country, so I knew that actually going and exploring companies in different places was something I wanted to look in to. By going and experiencing these companies and talking to all of the employees I realized that this dream of mine could actually become a very real reality. I met employees from England, Italy, the United States, Thailand, and many other countries. This showed me that people from all over the world branch out and move to different places to work in corporate settings and for different companies. This was so exciting to me because I got to talk to real people that were living my dream. I am so grateful International Business Seminars opened my eyes to this possibility. I know I could not have gotten these experiences anywhere else!