LINC Singapore | Student Blog
The [Business] World is Indeed Round. -Jake Simon

From all of our blog posts, it seems as though the consensus of the LINC Singapore trip was good.  We had fun, we experienced an interesting foreign country, and we made 39 other friends.  However, while the trip was full of excitement and fun long-lasting memories we will cherish for years to come, the USC Marshall School of Business has taught us that this is not what’s necessarily the most important aspects of an adventure such as this one.  Furthermore, the LINC program, through the company visits and immersion of culture, has taught us the importance of understanding that the world is round and as childish as that may sound, it is a very important thought.  I had so much associated the world with travel.  Any other country that I may have wanted to visit or visited was simply looked at as a destination for a relaxing time with city maps and a swimsuit.

But the business world is round too.

I hadn’t before really considered that business practices could be so widely shared and that there was such a great implementation of globalization and global business that seats itself beyond the naked eye of the globe.  The USC Marshall School of Business LINC program has really opened my eyes to a world that before was too distant to understand - it has created the opportunity to think outside of the USA bubble and to consider that there are lands beyond the sea with emerging markets and opportunities for wealth, success, and extraordinary experiences.  

After coming back and sharing stories with friends and family about LINC, the most common response I get is “And you’re only a freshman?”  This program is unparalleled to international programs outside of Marshall and I believe that the difference it has made - for me at least - will have a lasting impact not only throughout the next three years at the University of Southern California, but through finding a job, a career, then finally the niche for me.

Well, thats all folks!- David McClain Jr.

Now that I’m back home in my hometown of Saint Paul, MN, I truly miss the amazing experiences I had in Singapore. As my first trip to Southeast Asia, it will be one I will never forget. Not only have I learned more about international business and the rising GDP growth of East Asia but I was also able to try new foods, make new friends from Singapore and USC and connect with alumni. 

There are so many things I have been able to take away from this trip. I feel like I finally have somewhat acquired those global eyes Professor Voigt lectured about. To see the many advances in industrialization, technology and business practices is astonishing and makes me wonder how Singapore was able to transform so quickly within a 50 year span. I awe at the capability of human beings when we really work together.

Many people have asked how my trip was now that I’m back in the States. And I simply tell them it was honestly indescribable. I can’t put what I experienced into words. I am just so grateful that I was able to go on this trip as a freshmen in college. 

But man I miss the restaurant Pepper Lunch Express! I’ll definitely have to go back and reunite with that delectable pepper beef dish.

Until next time Singapore!

Smile Because It Happened- Mariana Aristizabal

I finally made it home, all the way back to Colombia. Flying for almost 18 hours back to LA and then 8 more hours a couple of days later to get to Colombia was exhausting, but it was worth it considering how much fun we had in Singapore. It’s still hard to believe that only last week I was in the opposite side of the world with forty of my classmates. As I’ve said before, not many people can say they had the privilege of going to Singapore for an international commerce class in their freshman year; I will always be grateful for this experience.

LINC Singapore broadened my horizons in so many ways. Before this trip, I had always thought that as soon as I finished college I would go back to Colombia and work and spend the rest of my life there. However, after meeting so many happy and successful business people from all over the world in Singapore, it has occurred to me that even though I probably will end up back home sometime in the future, there’s also the possibility of having some international experience somewhere along the way.

Spending time in this country also made me more sensitive when interacting and understanding new cultures. In a country where all the rules and traditions are so different from what I’m normally used to, I had to become more aware of my surroundings and try to act according to what this new culture expected. This applied both in every day life scenarios as well as in business situations. I believe this is a really important skill to acquire, especially if you’re planning on going into business where you’ll have to interact with people from all over the world.

This trip was an invaluable experience. We had the opportunity to visit some incredible multinational companies, meet amazing business people and learn from their experiences, discover how extensive and valuable the Trojan Network is all over the world, experience a whole new country and it’s culture, try new and delicious food, and tour around Singapore to admire all of its amazing landmarks and its incredible architectural wonders.

LINC Singapore 2013 was an incomparable experience that I will never forget.

Back in the Homeland -Zach Miller

This time around I was lucky enough to have an aisle seat for both parts of our flight from Singapore to Los Angeles, and it turned out to be the perfect ending to an incredible trip.  I am now officially back in the states and while it does feel good, the trip will never be completely forgotten.

My sister (a future Trojan) graduates from high school on Saturday, so I have family from all over the country flying in to come celebrate.  One thing that remains constant is that all of these family members continue to ask me about the trip.  This has given me the opportunity to sit back and reflect upon what really went on last week.  It has allowed me to gain some new insight into what we really learned in East Asia.

One thing that I always manage to bring up is the trip’s focus on global business.  Everyone I have told has been astounded by the type of companies that we have visited and are intrigued to hear what I have learned.  I often discuss how culture ties in to business and tell them what I heard about what it takes to be successful in this global growing economy.  This trip has furthered my interest in business and has made me want to study abroad even more, whether that be in Europe, Asia or anywhere in between.

I am truly blessed to have experienced Singapore in the manner that we did and I will forever be grateful for USC and the incredible opportunity that they gave 37 of us. image

Is this real life?- David McClain Jr.

It is a really bittersweet feeling to be approaching the end of our wonderful stay in Singapore. On the one hand, it’ll be great to go back home and see family and resume my regular life back in America as well as watch NBA playoff basketball but on the other hand I will truly miss the invaluable experiences I’ve had here. I realize how lucky I am and I am now trying to make the days go by as slow as possible.

On Thursday, we had our last 3 company visits: Marina Barrage, DBS and Great Eastern Life. At Great Eastern Life we learned about their new imaGEnation program, which consisted of team members who sought to revolutionize the way the life industry, is run and perceived. At DBS, we learned how the immense growth of GDP in East Asia and insight into the benefits of working and living in East Asia. It has definitely been influential in my future career decisions. I now have a deeper appreciation for the success of business and East Asia and what it has to offer.

Singapore has been a gateway to many opportunities and relationships. At the alumni mixer I met wit an alumni named Steve Choi. He had great advice to offer me and explained why he chose to do business in Singapore. It was very inspiring. I have now developed a relationship that will hopefully last forever. One of the great benefits of the Trojan network!

On Friday, we went to Marina Bay Sands, one of the highest points in Singapore, and were able to see the best view in Singapore. You could see the whole city from up there and even the many ships apart of the expansive port of Singapore. It was an exhilarating view.

As or last day approaches, I can honestly say this has been a week I will never forget.

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-Jake Simon

-Jake Simon

The beginning of the end - Jake Simon

Today marks the last day of LINC, but the lessons we have learned throughout this week, as cliche as this may sound, will resonate with us all in the future. Thursday, we experienced the last couple of company visits including DBS Bank, Great Eastern Life insurance company and the water barrage for Singapore. Friday we toured our last part of the trip at an Asian history museum. After, we put together our final presentations in our individual groups and finally presented them over our last dinner together. Saturday was our free day and a lot of us went to Sentosa. Sentosa is an island off the coast of Singapore that is basically a hub of tourist attractions. Upon entering it, it feels like one big amusement park. That is divided up into different, more amusement parks. There is a Univarsal Studios, the largest indoor sky diving facility, worlds largest aquarium, beach clubs and much more. Personally, I spent the day relaxing in the pool and it was a great end to the trip. It’s 5am now and we have to be in the lobby in a half hour and we will begin our way back to the USA. The experiences we’ve had throughout the week have been so memorable and I’m looking forward to blogging my final entry next week about my takeaway from this amazing trip! Fight on as always!

I Never Thought I Would Meet a Nuclear Physicist -Zach Miller

Sadly, our trip is coming to an end.  We had our closing presentations at dinner last night and we have a free day to ourselves today.  One thing that was common amongst most of the group presentations is the idea that we should all “go where the growth is”.  This has been a common theme throughout most of the company presentations and alumni meetings that we have attended.  An alumni even said that “in 1800s all the smart people lived in Europe, the 1900s all the smart people lived in New York, and in the 2000s all the smart people live Asia”.  These words echoed in my mind the whole trip.

Throughout the trip, I have been able to try all sorts of foods, visit intriguing museums, and be in parts of Singapore that I never knew existed.  This all added to allure of the country to me.  Combining these experiences with what I heard about the rapid growth of Asia, this LINC trip has really made me want to come back.  During the many business presentations that we heard, another common theme was that everyone should be willing to take risks, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.  Putting all of this together, if a job in Asia were to open up somewhere down the road, then I would really have to consider taking it.  This was my first time leaving the US and I always thought that I would stay in the American bubble, but I am no longer sure that is the case.

I will never forget the experiences that I had here as well as the people that I met. Singapore is an incredible place and I think everyone should have try to visit and really see what it is all about.  Go where the growth is and you will never regret it.

Felt Like I was In Avatar- Mariana Aristizabal

Yesterday we finished our company visits with Great Eastern and DBS. They are both incredible companies and their respective representatives gave us great insights on how the life insurance business and banking are being shaped to grow in Singapore. We also got to visit the Marina Barrage, where we got to see models and displays to better understand the purpose of the reservoir in the middle of the city. All of these visits were great learning experiences, but my favorite part of the day was undoubtedly the Gardens by the Bay.

Two enormous glass domes were built in a 100 hectare piece of reclaimed land right by the Marina Reservoir. The largest one is the flower dome. Keeping a perfectly controlled humidity and temperature inside, the dome features multiple areas with thousands of different plants from all over the world. The experience of walking inside is completely surreal; is feels as if you have entered a completely different world. The diversity of plants inside is unbelievable, as they go from huge trees like baobabs to colorful flowers such as tulips.

Inside the other dome is the cloud forest, which in my opinion is even more amazing than the first one. This dome is very tall and in the center of it stands an enormous mountain-like structure. It is completely covered with different plants and flowers and all the way from its peak fall majestic waterfalls. You can take an elevator to the last floor, from which you can appreciate the beautiful scenery, and then slowly make your way down going around the structure. The feeling that you get from walking down this mountain is indescribable; for me, it almost felt like i was walking through the Avatar world.

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