Multimedia Universitystudent LEE CHING WEI waslucky enough to participate inan international businessforum in Argentina. Shewrites about her experiencesand advises others to givesuch international events atry, too.
ON AUG 9, with the haze situation worsening, I decided to go to a place not plagued by bad air. And where else than one whose name literally means “Good air”? Buenos Aires!
I did not fly thousands of kilometres just to escape the haze but to attend a special event – the South American Business Forum (SABF).
Earlier, I found out from an e-mail that I had been selected for the forum to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from Aug 12 to 14.
I was excited as only 70 students were selected to take part in the first SABF organised by the Institute of Technology, Buenos Aires (ITBA).
Selection was based on essays submitted by the applicants, their resumes and also on their academic performance.
The theme of the SABF was The Challenges of New Leaders, with emphasis on the three sub-topics of Values, Technology and Innovation.
I chose to focus on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and wrote about the need toidentify the challenges before being able to harness its force.
Since the South American Business Forum was, well, as the name already suggests; in South America, I was also asked to share my opinions about South America in terms of its economic standing.
One of the reasons I strive to participate in similar conferences and dialogues is because I stand to gain more knowledge each time I conduct research related to the topic or issues at hand.
This new-found knowledge is then expanded as I interact with the other international delegates.
The sharing of ideas and views among such a diverse group of participants never fails to give me fresh insights via personal perspectives which transcend into better understanding of the subject.
And of course, I develop new friendships along the way!
The best part about it is meeting new acquaintances and getting to know them better. It is always nice to know that I will have friends I can meet up with should I ever be in India, Kenya or Colombia.
Of course, I will be more than glad to be a gracious Malaysian host to my international bunch of friends too!
I flew to Buenos Aires on Aug 9 and spent 23 hours in the air!
It was by far, the longest flight I have ever experienced.
We only had to cover our air fare to and from Buenos Aires, the rest was taken care of. The Multimedia University Student Affairs Division sponsored RM2,000.
My university president; Prof Datuk Dr Ghauth Jasmon has been very supportive of my past international endeavours by assisting me in various ways. For that, I am thankful.
The forum kicked off at 9am daily, with the first day consisting of plenary sessions involving all delegates in three forums (Values, Technology and Innovation).
The second day was more rigorous as we were divided into smaller groups and in these workshops, we brainstormed, debated and shared thoughts on issues ranging from entrepreneurship to social responsibility, the role of information in building company values to knowledge management.
The first workshop, conducted by AC Nielsen Latin America marketing and client services vice-president Amilcar Perez, was engaging as he shared his experiences in the working world and how he fared on his path to leadership.
In another session, we learnt about the risks and opportunities in investing in Latin America by Citibank Latin America vice-president Perez de Solay.
At the end of the second day, we played the “Beer Game”!
It did not involve bingeing on beer? this weird-sounding but fun game was created by consultant Roberto Luis Carbonell and it showed us how supply chains can be volatile by re-enacting the supply chain through four people in a group; each taking on the role of the manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler and retailer.
As it was a competition, the winning group would be the one with the lowest costs incurred. It was hilarious to watch the groups’ competitive streak going into overdrive just to win the bag of candies.
During my free time, I managed to visit a few places including the Caminito with its prominent colourful houses, the Puerto Madero (a port turned into a posh restaurant area) and the famous Casa Rosada, also known as the pink house which is the presidential residence.
We even attended a tango dance session and were dragged onto the dance floor by the dancers (oh, how embarrassing!).
I was privileged to have had the opportunity to attend the forum at the age of 22.
I was the sole Malaysian not only in this forum but in many other international events like the International Students’ Committee Symposium in Switzerland and the World Business Dialogue in Germany, both held in May.
There is so much more to life; go out there, search for opportunities to participate in such international events to broaden your mind and learn to see things from different perspectives and from another culture.
Trust me, with the right attitude, the exposure will do you good!
I hope that I will inspire many more young Malaysians to go beyond ‘just studying’ and getting good grades.