Malaysia and Singapore: Engage, Connect, Listen, Learn, Grow

My name is Lindsay Stewart and I am in my fourth semester of the Master of Business Administration program with an emphasis in International Business. My goal is to work in the Pharmaceutical industry in a global general management role, where I can leverage my leadership, strategic thinking and people skills to help drive business success. Working in the Pharmaceutical industry gives me the opportunity to improve global health and literally save and improve the quality of life of our customers.

I will be participating in the spring break study abroad program called Leading Global Teams. I am fortunate and extremely grateful to have received the Ellsworth G. Simmons Scholarship for International Leadership. I am excited to continue to learn how to effectively lead global teams and engage with local people in both countries. While we cannot expect to truly understand these cultures in such a short period of time, we can begin to appreciate the various perspectives and the diversity within Malaysia and Singapore.

I have always been interested in working with people from different cultures. My father was the Vice President of Human Resources for Pfizer Inc. and has traveled around the world conducting business. From a young age, I was exposed to some of the challenges of leading global teams, including understanding the different approaches to conducting business from country to country, meeting face-to-face and establishing reliable channels of communication, overcoming language barriers, understanding body language and subtle cultural nuances, resolving conflict and being away from family. I have also, however, seen the incredible opportunities and rewards that leading global teams has presented my father: developing friendships with people around the world, immersing yourself in other cultures, visiting new countries and learning to treat people respectfully within the context of their cultures. I even have the opportunity to visit with one of his friends while I am abroad in Malaysia.

Malaysia and Singapore, while located on the same peninsula, have very different cultures and there is incredible diversity within the culture of each country. I am excited to engage with the people and begin to learn about the cultures in both countries, learn how to build meaningful relationships, leverage different perspectives for the benefit of the business, create a truly inclusive work environments, resolve conflict and celebrate success in both countries. There is nothing more valuable than being able to apply my learning about international business in a real-world setting. I am looking forward to challenging myself in the Singaporean and Malaysian business environments.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am so grateful to the University of South Florida and the Simmons Family for empowering me to participate in this trip.

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