Global Network

The Perks of Having a Global Network

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Richard Coller. As a Corporate Relations General Manager at S P Jain, having a great network is essential for him. I find Richard an expert in networking. So, I decided to ask him few questions in his area of expertise.

Why is networking important to you?

“It keeps me in touch with the outside world. By being introduced to new people, there comes new opportunity. The art of networking ensures that personal communication stays alive. Networking offers me more business connections and opportunities.”

Is it important for everyone regardless of their working role?

“It is important to remember that networking does not always happen in a professional environment. Building social relationships or as we call it ‘families and friends’ is also regarded as networking. In principle, both professional and personal networking is the same. Both begin as a basic communication between people who share a common interest in certain areas, for the purpose of opening up new opportunities for both parties. In fact, certain industries do not necessarily need professional external networking facility, such as the back of the house or the support function as much as the front of the house people. Yet in general, it is important for every single person to exercise their personal connection in order to bring them into a whole new world of opportunity.”

How do you develop your network?

“There are a couple of things I do to develop my network. One of them is by being a part of a few professional associations. Also, I do research on what networking functions are available. Every time before I go to a function, I have to make sure that I have a clear goal or purpose in my mind. Usually that goal will sound something like this, ‘I need to connect with at least three people today.’ Besides that, I trained myself to uphold the key principle of networking which is to always question how I can help, not what I can get from the other person I am connecting to.

Here’s a good example. I met Karen Anderson from Consider It Done Australia at a networking function organised by Sydney Olympic Park Business Association (SOPBA). Since then, I have built a strong long-term relationship with her. What I can do to help her is offering students who can potentially work as interns or part-timers for Consider It Done. While on the other hand, Karen helps S P Jain by doing some creative workshops and real-world skills programs for the students.

When we start developing our networks, we need to focus more on building the relationship rather than on offering what we can sell. Particularly in the Australian context, going to a networking function and try to sell is a very undesirable move.”

What are the different methods of networking?

“Besides joining different association which offer active networking activities, informal networking like after-work functions is also another method of networking. You can also do it online through LinkedIn or even Facebook. Remember to be mobile and not getting stuck with the same group of people all the time at a networking function.”

Is there one single most effective way to build an effective network?

“Be genuine is the key. We also need to be ethical and moral. I strongly believe that personal face-to-face approach is always the best way to build an effective network – particularly in the business environment. In the end, people like to do business with people whom they like, know and trust.”

What makes an effective global networking?

“Firstly, it is the commitment. It is not simple to build an effective global network especially when dealing with people from different parts of the world with different time zones. Secondly, every networking activity needs to produce results and serves a purpose. If it doesn’t, it will just waste everyone’s time and energy. Last but not least, depending on the industry you are in, you will need exposure to the greater business around the world to make global networking effective.”

What are the key advantages of having a strong global network?

 “By having a strong global network, you will be exposed to different business environments, economies, climates and trends and other forms of international intelligence. This exposure gives you a competitive edge than the rest. More importantly, it provides global opportunities for you to develop your potential work exposure in other countries.

For instance, S P Jain hosts an annual event for educational advisors and counsellors from all over the world in the Sydney campus. At the last event we had, I connected with the Manager of International Relations and College Counselling from The Olympia Schools in Hanoi, Vietnam. To date, we keep in regular contacts, sharing information on education and general studies. I find this very valuable for me and I believe for her, too.”

In summary, networking is not an event where you schmooze and booze without any specific intention other than being seen and socialise. It is more than a platform where you can collect and distribute business cards. It is really an opportunity for you to build mutual relationships which at some time in the future can bring you to greater places.

So, start joining networking events and update your LinkedIn profile. Let’s do it for the right reason and in the right manner, hence the network will return to you in many ways.

2014 Alumni Dinner

On Thursday, 09th October 2014, S P Jain held the 2014 Alumni Dinner at S P Jain Sydney campus. Many postgraduate and undergraduate alumni who now reside in Sydney attended the event along with their partners and family. Everyone looked happy and satisfied with the canape and the three-course meal that evening.

In a nutshell, it was very delightful to catch up and listen to their successful stories. Many more exciting alumni events to come!

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BBA Graduates

My Global Experience with S P Jain

This April, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from S P Jain School of Global Management. As I started the next chapter of my life, I started to reminisce what I had experienced in the past four years. I spent first two years of my study in Singapore and the last two years at the Sydney campus.

Through this unique twin-city model, I have gained wonderful experiences. Whilst I have a range of experiences, the three most remarkable things are:

1.       Social Networking

Though, it may sound too cliché but this is, in fact, one of the most valuable things in our lives.  I studied with other students from over 13 nationalities in one classroom. Classroom discussions felt like the smaller version of the United Nations. Some of them became friends, some became good buddies.

Why is social networking so important?

For a business graduate like me, it is important because social networks can open doors to career progression. For an innovator, they are more likely to achieve business success if they have strong networks. A classic example is Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. In MITSloan Management review article published few years ago, it explained why Picasso out-earned van Gogh. Although both were world-known artists with distinctive styles of painting, van Gogh died a pauper while Picasso left a property with an estimated value of US$750 million. A researcher from Emory University School of Medicine found out that van Gogh was an introvert while Picasso was an extrovert; an active member of many social groups. So,why not start the ‘real’ social networking now? What I mean by this is to connect in a deeper engagement than just being a mere friend on Facebook or LinkedIn.You can start catching up with some old friends, visit their home countries or run a Skype video call.  I believe that lifelong friendship is way more honourable than to just die rich.

2.       Global Exposure

In Singapore, everything is superfast. From the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) to the people’s walking pace. People are very hard-working and eager to grasp any opportunity to win over others. As the fourth cleanest country in the world, Singapore operates a zero tolerance approach to littering. For example, there is US$500 – $1,000 fine for littering and $5,500 for smuggling gum.  

On the other hand, life in Australia is way more layback and the weather has more variety than in Singapore. Shopping malls close at 06.00 PM every day except on Thursdays. I see,people living in this country putting high value on work-life balance – which conveys that life is not all about work but also about families and friends. Here, government regulations change over time. A requirement to be a Permanent Resident today may not be the same the day after.

3.       Work Opportunity

I spent my time working on a casual basis in various restaurants as well as on an internship basis in Legacy Group representing Aviva Ltd. in Singapore to earn some extra cash and increase my work experience. Last year, I also worked as an intern at a non-profit organisation in South Sydney Business Chamber as a Digital Marketing intern. After my graduation, I was hired at S P Jain as a full-time Marketing intern.

Besides casual work and internships, I was also active in participating in student-run projects, including Global Dream Run in Singapore and Building Lives project in Cambodia. Plus, I had the opportunity to join AIESEC National University of Singapore and did a social project in China. These experiences helped me to build a solid resume that will benefit me in the future.

In a nutshell, I am grateful that my student life was not all about classroom and textbook learning. As students, we were encouraged to go out in the real world and have a taste of the corporate life. I have developed myself to be a global citizen who is prepared to work anywhere in the world.


How to Become a Leader Someone Never Forgets

If you start reading this blog, I believe it is because you are an ambitious professional who cares about your leadership potential.

Great leaders are the most memorable. These people are known to be the agents who trigger transformation in the company and strive to leave an everlasting legacy and not just a positive mark. They are successful in developing the business and the people.

According to the sought-after leadership expert/book writer/marketing professor, John Davis, there are five behaviours that characterise a memorable leader:

  1. The Brand Ambassador
    A memorable leader is a good brand ambassador – meaning he or she is a good representative of the company. They are what the company wants to be reflected as.
  1. The Imaginative Ambassador
    A memorable leader can solve problems using innovative methods. They do not make judgements before understanding the problem. They are always curious and love finding new facts. At the same time, they are confident in making decisions.

  2. The Knowledge Ambassador
    A memorable leader understands the broader market. They are also known as the “street smart”. Besides his or her great knowledge about the company and what it offers, they are also willing to listen to other people’s inputs and ideas.

  3. The Relationship Ambassador
    A memorable leader makes others feel important and relevant. They value their relationships with their staff and clients and treat them as people, not as transactions.
  4. The Experience Ambassador
    A memorable leader plan and create an unforgettable experience for his or her stakeholders. Be it on a product the company is offering, or be it on a casual one-to-one conversation with his or her subordinates. They can easily create a conducive atmosphere which does not intimidate anyone.

One behaviour is not more significant than the others. They are equally important. A combination of five of them describes a perfect leader. Unsurprisingly, not a single person in the world possesses all five behaviours perfectly. However, there are actually a couple of people who John believes demonstrate all of them very well.

The first person that came to his mind is his former college classmate, Chip Conley, the founder of the successful Joie de Vivre Hotels. Besides his innovative idea in transforming a ‘boring’ concept of hotels into ‘exciting’ boutique hotels, he is also very empathetic in his leadership. Chip Conley is a great example of a good imaginative, relationship and experience ambassador.

The second person is the current CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi. She was named by Forbes as one of the ten most powerful women in the world. As a leader, she has a great knowledge about her business. She is exceptional in building relationships with her colleagues, subordinates, clients and shareholders. Every quarter, she writes a handwritten letter to her executives’ family members expressing gratitude for their support despite the long hours of work and travel.

I, personally, regard John as a memorable leader. As the Dean of Global MBA and MGB at S P Jain Global, he is a great brand, knowledge and relationship ambassador. Naturally, he values the people around him. Through his genuine and simple greetings, he makes everyone feel acknowledged and valued – as simple as that.

So, do you want to be a memorable leader for the right reasons? Trainings, practices and also a good MBA program can help you to become one. But, in the end it all really depends on your willingness and dedication to apply these values in your life.

Here are some points for us to ponder:

  • Are successful leaders equal to memorable leaders or vice versa?
  • Is a company’s success measured only on financial terms?

Please feel free to leave your thoughts or comments below.