Maxwell Hugh Leary
Maxwell Hugh Leary, Financial Services
Sharing on Singapore Study Tour 2013

Globalization and Singapore, the study tour organized by the Mainland and International Student Services Office (MISS) of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, granted the fortunate students who participated and opportunity to nurture a global mindset and gain valuable insights into several leading enterprises and government organizations. This was made possible through visits and interactions with some of the top individuals of firms such as Hewlett Packard (HP) and C&H Properties as well as government officials under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. My perspective on the culture and history of Singapore as well as the development of a leading Asian country has been broadening and strengthened so as to allow me to apply these new found skills and values to the real world.

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On the education focused portion of our study tour we were able to visit the National University of Singapore and the Holy Innocent High School which provided me with a different angle of how the education system functions in different areas of the world, and to my surprise, it closely resembled that of both Hong Kong as well as the United States education system, this of course is because of the British influence and establishment that was formed. I believe the quality of education at both the high school and university level is very sufficient and clear in its research oriented objectives. Education is of course the backbone of continuing prosperity of a nation.

The business aspect of our trip included visits to prestigious companies such as Hewlett Packard (HP) as mentioned above as well as Bloomberg Singapore, both extremely large, well established firms that carry a heavy influence in their respective industries. Through these interactions and more, I was able to see from the inside how some of the most well-known firms operate and how Singapore's business environment integrates these companies. Singapore is however one of the best places to do business in the world and has been for some time. It promotes innovation and attracts talented people from around the world. The friendly tax system and many incentives from the government make me one day wish to operate my business there.
This leads to the next and final portion of the study tour, we've had education business, and now government. To me, this was by far the most important and valuable part of the trip because the information we gained was the most relevant and useful for my current position as a young entrepreneur. We had the opportunity to visit three inter-related government offices under the Ministry of Trade and Industry which included the National Research Foundation (NRF), Springs Singapore, and the Small World Group (SWG). All are devoted to providing helpful resources to companies or enterprises with the end objective of furthering Singapore's innovation and economic growth. These offices each offer funding of different quantities to companies ranging from start-ups with zero revenue to small and medium size enterprises (SME). The Small World Group, which operates under the National Research Foundation's incubator scheme, even provides office space and mentoring for small businesses. The government seems to be extremely business friendly and wants to attract the most talented individuals and companies alike. These are only three of many offices we had the chance to visit, but I'm sure all the others would be just as intriguing and helpful for different industries.
One of the most interesting things I learned about was the Ministry of Manpower. I was fascinated by how Singapore is able to sustain itself while having little to no natural resources to its own, even water and food must be imported from other countries. This may be the reason why they have the busiest port in the world, along with its geographic location. The country must rely on strategies to attract and retain personnel with valuable skills and drive to maintain their growth and innovation as well as their role in the global environment since they now have quite a reputation preceding them that they must uphold. As Asia continues to rise as a global power, specifically China, Singapore will have to continue to find innovative ways to keep their competitive edge within the region, but with their sound financial infrastructure, strong focus on research and clean tech, and still largely undeveloped land, I believe Singapore will have a strong advantage against its counterparts for at least the next half century to come.
I am unable to neither explain nor define the value gained from this whole experience and the overall positive impact it had on me. I will forever remember this study tour and hope to join similar programs in the future. Not only was the information given to me relevant, but it was also useful in many ways. Also, the connections and network that has been created through this tour will be long lasting and very important for all of our careers as we move forward in life. It was also a great chance for us to listen to others viewpoints from all around the world. The interactions between all our international participants only added to the value of the tour. All is greatly appreciated.