Back in March, a group of Kellogg students embarked on their Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) trip to Southeast Asia. This is part two in a three-part series from MMM student Robin Ayers Lackey ’15 on her experiences meeting business leaders in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Upon touching down at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (completing three of four successful Malaysia Airlines flights), our GIM class was excited to be on terra firma. Earlier that week, we fought the traffic in Jakarta and swam in the waters off of Langkawi, Malaysia. Now in Kuala Lumpur, we were ready to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of the city. The first thing we noticed as our bus neared the city was the stunning height and brilliance of the Petronas Towers. Standing 1,242 feet above ground, the 88-floor twin towers are a signal that Kuala Lumpur is a rising metropolis of the East.
While we enjoyed viewing the Petronas Towers from the ground, we were lucky enough to score a plenary meeting with Adif Zulkifli, a senior executive (and Kellogg alumnus) in a luxurious reception room in the Towers. During our session, we learned about the management challenges and benefits of operating a government-owned entity separate from the government hierarchy in order to maximize returns. We also discussed how Malaysia’s gasoline subsidies lead to overconsumption of gasoline and increased traffic in Kuala Lumpur. After learning about government intervention and deadweight loss in our core Microeconomics classes and witnessing the traffic in the city, we acknowledged the concerns and challenges of the relationship between the Malaysian government and Petronas. Other topics we discussed with Mr. Zulkifli included: management across borders and cultures, safety and environmental concerns, and Petronas’ efforts to holistically build Malaysia’s economy through education. After our meeting, we got to visit the observation deck at the top of the Petronas Towers to get a birds-eye of the rapidly developing city below.
Robin Ayers Lackey ’15 is a MMM student blogger who participated in GIM Southeast Asia 2014.