Written by Dexter McKinney, Jr. Syracuse University Public Diplomacy graduate student
Having spent the first of three months in Singapore for my summer internship with Nike/Converse, I am at the brink of assimilation into a very unique and diverse culture. Given the demographic breakdown in Singapore of which Chinese are the majority but Malay, Indian and Filipinos are virtually omnipresent, it is still a struggle to decipher locals from ex-patriots. The ability to embrace a multicultural society while keeping the local population happy has enabled Singapore to reach the success realized today.Once a poor British colonial outpost with limited land and no natural resources, Singapore has become one of the most developed countries in the world. Widely known for having a business-friendly economy with a highly developed marketplace, many foreign workers with different skill sets are attracted to work in Singapore. In the case of Nike/Converse Trading Companies, the vast majority of factories are located in Asia, so having a presence in this region makes sense. It is much easier to travel to China or Vietnam from Singapore, than it would be from Oregon (Nike World Headquarters) or Massachusetts (Converse World Headquarters).
My job as an intern thus far has been to acclimate myself with the business processes of Converse (Singapore Trading Co.) and automate a couple processes. As a Public Diplomacy student, I was very fortunate to have taken Quantitative Skills in International Relations because that class provided the insight for me to suggest and implement a trend analysis. One of the business processes I’m working on deals with defective claim forms for issues with products being shipped. Without going into too much detail, my organization acts as a liaison between factories and Converse USA, Converse Canada, Converse Europe, Converse Shanghai and 3rd party licensees. With such a global reach there is a lot that can go wrong and a trend analysis may help with mitigating certain problems in the future.
One of the fascinating things I’ve learned about Singapore is that they consider the people to be their only natural resource. Despite a geographical luxury of having the busiest shipping port in the world, Singapore relies on the contribution of both local and international talent to sustain growth. With a stellar education system, booming economy and premier gambling resorts (free entry for non-Singaporeans) there is little hardship in attracting people to this gem in Southeast Asia.
As a Public Diplomacy student, I like the concept of being all-inclusive rather then being exclusive. To grow faster, one must be open to the idea of having more people contribute to that growth.