Karaoke and networking in Singapore by Matthew Jourlait (A’21)

by tuftsigl
Aug 03

I am now nearing the end of my internship in Singapore. This experience has been eye-opening and captivating, not only from a business perspective, but also from a cultural and historical one. Not only have I been able to contribute meaningful work at AmCham, but I have also met individuals from all walks of life and made long-lasting relationships with colleagues and professionals I have met while exploring Singapore.

During my internship, I have learned new skills that I will be able to apply during my next three years at Tufts, as well as in my professional career, such as strategy implementation and analytic problem-solving. One of my projects was to create a new membership category for the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, adding a new revenue stream to the Chamber’s balance sheet.

This project took weeks, as I had to research what programs other chambers were offering in Singapore and in Asia-Pacific (APAC), as well as the costs associated with the implementation of the program. I also researched and presented the benefits that the members would receive, created a pricing mechanism, and laid out a promotional strategy and schedule for the entirety of 2019.

This project tested my capacity to analyze data, to work in a team, to do research, and to present information in a concise and consistent manner. Other projects that I took part in during my internship included creating a live streaming and podcast schedule with advertising pipeline. In the podcast series, I included geopolitical themes such as the conflict in the South China Sea, and how it could potentially affect business in Singapore. I also revamped the loyalty program that AmCham offers members, and personalized membership pitches for each of the 13 committees that AmCham hosts. All of these activities taught me how to think analytically and solve problems in a cost-efficient manner.

My internship provided access to countless networking nights, where I met recruiters, career diplomats, consultants and businessmen. Being an intern at AmCham has given me the opportunity to engage with leading thinkers, regionally and globally. During my time at AmCham, I had the opportunity to sit down with many of these professionals for informational interviews and met with numerous consultants and people working in finance who helped me gain invaluable knowledge and experience through our conversations.

Additionally, I had the privilege of attending a session with Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Congressman Peter Aguilar (D-CA). They spoke to regional directors of US businesses such as Caterpillar, Amazon and HP, and tried to allay their fears of the impending trade war with China and the United States’ retreat from international trade agreements.

Another aspect of this internship that has been extremely enriching are the company tours that I have been able to attend. I have visited the regional headquarters of Hewlett Packard, Google, Pratt Whitney, and Expedia. During the latter, I met a fellow jumbo, Ang Choo Pin, who studied International Relations at Tufts and at Fletcher and who is now running government relations for Expedia in Singapore. Choo Pin helped me understand the wide breadth of professional opportunities that are possible for international relations and economics students after graduation.

As for exploring Singapore, I have been unable to stop eating at the Hawker centers, which are cheap outdoor food markets that serve local delicacies such as chili crab and garlic naan. I have also been to the National Gallery Singapore, where I was able to admire art by local and regional artists. My art history class at Tufts helped me appreciate the different artistic styles and movements on display.

Recently, I met with a group of young professionals from Singapore, and after a networking dinner, traipsed over to a karaoke center, where we subsequently proceeded to embarrass ourselves by singing out of tune. Being able to meet like-minded individuals from around the world has been an enriching experience and working in Singapore has opened my eyes up to the beauty and opportunity that resides in this city-state.