Archive for June, 2014

Kuala Lumpur. Part 2. Better do some work…

June 29, 2014

The storm is approaching……

After an epic trip, a very interesting first day, it was almost time to meet my colleagues that would / could either make or break the trip. It is so critical to be part of a dynamic, enthusiastic group when being part of a trade mission.  The days are very long and a good strong group can drag you along when quite frankly, all you want to do is sleep. I’ll put you all out of your misery straight away, the group turned out to be……

Fantastic.

Initially only one turned up. Once the pleasantries had been done it was onto far more serious matters of a trip to China Town for even more great and cheap food followed by a few hours of haggling to buy things we wanted, not necessarily needed. Amazing experience and one I would heartily recommend. It is a vibrant area of KL, great for people watching and buying umpteen handbags. A good way to end the first day and certainly meant an air of positivity was already surrounding me.

China Town Kuala Lumpur

China Town Kuala Lumpur

China Town entrance Kuala Lumpur

China Town entrance Kuala Lumpur

Day 3

The reason I decided to come early to KL was not to blag a few days holiday, it was to attend the Education Fair which was taking place over the weekend prior to the mission. As we are an education recruitment company, it was perfect timing and gave me an opportunity to meet potential clients under one roof. The exhibition was pretty well attended with international universities, schools and technical vocational training centres present. It still amazes me how organisations who want to work overseas try to generate business over email and phone, If you are genuinely committed to a market, go and meet your potential clients face to face. Having said that, I am glad that we are in a minority and long may that continue! I received a very good reception and companies were certainly keen to discuss their requirements with me.

Malaysia is driving towards a common goal, Vision 2020. By this date, the country aims to be classed as a developed nation and to achieve this, one of the main areas is education, As a company we have great experience of upskilling and providing quality educators to allow a country to achieve its dream. Hopefully we can help Malaysia too.

33rd Malaysian Education Fair

33rd Malaysian Education Fair

This was my first ever foray into the education sector in Malaysia and I left filled with optimism and very enthused about the trade mission.

Day 4

I had planned (honest!) to spend 2 full days at the Education Fair but I managed to see all the exhibitors in one day. So, ‘annoyingly’ I had the day off. My justification was that I had already generated some great leads from the previous day, all emailed and some invited to the forthcoming trade reception. So, with absolutely no sense of guilt I turned into a tourist for the day. I heartily recommend going on the tour to the top of the Petronas Towers, the views are stunning. Again, now I have been I can confidently discuss roles in KL which will automatically elevate us over our ‘competitors’ who have never been.

View from the top of the Petronas Towers 2

From the top of the Petronas Towers

That evening was the first opportunity to meet the rest of the delegation. Now I have been on numerous missions over the years and meeting a new group is always a nervous affair, what if we don’t get on? We are all stuck with each other. Thankfully, nothing is further from the truth and yes, I do observe the bribery act. Great bunch, really focussed, some more sleepy than others, but everyone sharing the common goal of winning business. Brilliant. As usual no names mentioned!

This was shaping up to be a very good trip……….

 

27hrs to Kuala Lumpur. Just another crazy trip in the life of m2r…

June 28, 2014

The calm before the storm…

It is rare that a blog starts with an apology, unless you are a member of the current England football team. I am not and never will be. Thankfully. Anyway, apologies. This blog post is 2 weeks overdue but read all the following posts and you will understand why.

On the 11th June I embarked on our most ambitious business trip yet. A mere 6000 mile ‘hop’ to Kuala Lumpur, crossing the Equator via Jakarta on the way. The journey would last 27 hours. The same time it will take to read these series of posts (joke). To be fair, this didn’t phase me, mainly because I had not done such a journey for over 10 years and that was to Oz for a holiday. So, I had no recollection of what to expect and although I was warned about the humidity, again, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to face.

This trip was another trade mission, organised by the marvelous Training Gateway and UKTI. If you recall, I was part of a delegation to Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi in December of last year. If you have no idea what on earth I am going on about, search the blog. If you are already bored, then go make a sandwich.

This trade mission would last for 10 days, span the hemispheres, be mentally and physically taxing but ultimately spawn new clients and a new network of friends.

Day 1

After 25 hours via Dubai, I landed in Jakarta, along with the trade mission leader. Within a millisecond of clearing immigration I looked as if I had my own comedy rain cloud following me. It was not pleasant or easy on the nose. My traveling companion on the other hand, looked no different, as if she was walking around in permanent air con. It cost $25USD to sweat profusely in Jakarta for all of 2 hours. Well worth it. Following an uneventful if slightly niffy Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur and therefore crossing the Equator for the second time in 4 hours, the epic journey was over. Just the matter of a 90min drive to the hotel. In air con thankfully.

We stayed at the Grand Millennium Hotel in KL, lovely spot for 6 days. Slap bang in the middle of everything which is great, unless you want to sleep. Luckily I was jet lagged to high heaven and therefore sleep, unfortunately, was not on the agenda.

Day 2

After all of 3 hours, I awoke to a brand new view in my quest to develop overseas education for m2r Education.

The view of Kuala Lumpur from my hotel room

The view of Kuala Lumpur from my hotel room

As we are in the business of expatriation, it is very important that I get a good vibe as we, as a business, need to be confident that our teachers will enjoy their new surroundings. So far, so good. I arrived in KL 1 day before I had to do any actual work and 3 days before the actual mission was due to start. I used the time to get a good feel for the city, basically a fact finding mission. It also gave me some time to acclimatise, essential when about to embark on a packed programme which lasts from morning til night, every day. As you know from my posts, no names mentioned, but I suspect certain people will follow my lead next time and not arrive the evening before the mission begins, especially when the journey and time difference can be your enemy. You know who you are!!!

KL is a very interesting city and I was very impressed with how they look after the walking community. There are air conditioned, covered walkways which make crossing some parts of the city an absolute doddle. Generally when I travel overseas for work, I cannot walk anywhere for too long due to the heat, but here, there were no issues. Which was good because I had visions of resembling the witch from Wizard of Oz. You know, the ‘I’m melting scene…..’ I was advised to go to the Petronas Towers. When I arrived, I understood why. Simply stunning.

Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Twin Towers

To take this photo, go the Traders Hotel at night, obviously. Watch out for the pool when you get out of the lift…..

I had the pleasure of using KL’s very good monorail system, it is pretty straightforward to use but for some reason, a 15 min trip to Little India for lunch turned into scene from Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Still, not complaining as I got to see more of the city which all helps in my line of work.

KL certainly is a melting pot and I never felt uneasy at any point. Everyone was very friendly, the city is clean and food, well, stunning and incredible value for money. I was certainly confident of being able to promote the city to would be Teachers and Trainers looking for jobs in Malaysia.

anana Leaf Curry in Little India. £2 and stunning.

Banana Leaf Curry in Little India. £2 and stunning.

At this point the rest of the 28 person delegation had yet to arrive but that would change pretty soon…….