I arrived to Singapore with little expectations of what the city, office, culture, and people would be like. I was excited to start, but like a cub stepping out for the first time, I was anxious about jumping into the real world in a new unfamiliar place known to be the ‘lion city’… Three weeks into my experience now, I can safely say that I have enjoyed every aspect of it thus far.
Let’s start with the cherry on top - the people.
The people have shaped everything about my experience so far. They have welcomed me to their office, teams, culture, and city and I feel like a local “lah” (a popular non-formal Singlish phrase) - well almost.
For a “hustling” city, it’s easy to get lost and go unnoticed, but I have been taken aback by how friendly people are in Singapore. Everyone is fluent in English as well, which makes it very easy to communicate and settle in relatively quickly.
My colleagues have been wonderful at making me feel at home, whether by taking me around for taste bud adventures, introducing me to their friends, showing me around the city the way the locals do it, or enriching my vocab with Singlish (thank you Keat and Elni!)- they have been amazing! I am surrounded by a mixed group of local and multi-cultural young and driven people who I already have formed good friendships and memories with.
Being an Avenger
Global Fashion Group was founded over a year ago as an over-arching company that links its 6 fashion retail e-commerce brands and 27 markets under one umbrella. A team of 15 to 20 ‘Avengers’ sit in Singapore working on the overall strategies from operations to performance enhancement to market expansion.
The office has a lively ‘big family’ feel and a great balance of hard work and good fun. I was warmly welcomed in my first week and sat in for an exhaustive training where I got to learn about Global Fashion Group (GFG), its different ventures, and more operational topics that are particularly relevant for my module.
Throughout the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to sit on conference calls with GFG ventures all over the world, from Zalora in South East Asia to Dafiti in South America. I have been given the opportunity to interact with different departments, ask questions, and be involved in thought processes.
I am currently working on an investigation to test the feasibility of introducing a new operational strategy for a group of sellers. I have been learning a lot about the industry, specifically the operational side of it and the different implications of balancing efficiency, cost management, and customer/seller experience. I’ve also learned a lot of technicalities about e-commerce platforms in order to better understand the implications of my suggestions.
So far I have really enjoyed my autonomy in structuring my project and working with the team to identify challenges and opportunities, as well as testing ideas with the different stakeholders involved. My manager and I will be visiting several warehouses and venture offices to better understand the challenges on the ground, starting with a visit to Kuala Lumpur.
What I’ve learned so far:
- The e-commerce industry is a very dynamic and agile space with growing competition, where every detail matters.
- The operation function is one of the most complicated aspects of running a business, especially a fast growing one that requires lean and efficient processes.
- Building a lively team environment is a great motivational tool to build comradery.
- Chili crab is actually sweet and egg yolks can taste good if they are in salted egg buns.
- In order to adapt to 85% humidity on any given day, having a "big hair, don't care" attitude is key to survival.
I am looking forward to spending the next couple of weeks exploring this region further; from business and leisure trips with great company, to more Asian Karaoke nights, and mastering the art of eating noodle soup with chopsticks and a spoon.