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My Strategy to Move and work in Singapore and possibly China

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mattown
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My Strategy to Move and work in Singapore and possibly China

Postby mattown » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 7:38 am

Hey everyone,

I have a strong desire to relocate overseas to Shanghai, Hong Kong or Singapore. It didn't hit me until recently but I feel with the combination of my skills I could do very well for myself in this part of the world and I feel as sure as ever that this is what I want to do. I've started to learn Mandarin at a very basic level and whatever my career ends up being, I know it will be involved with the business, management and distribution of large, vital sources of data/information and various entrepreneurial pursuits on the side, all involving the growing world market of Sino-anglo relations.

Basically my strategy to move to Singapore is this, well, scratch that I have four strategies. Let me know what you guys think.

1. Apply to jobs directly.

This one seems straightforward to me but is this possible? I've sent out a few resumes but with no response in the last week. To sum my current work experience for the past 3 years, it is a combination of the management of financial data products for a startup in San francisco in addition to outlaying business strategy for them and I've published over 1400 pages in the biotech industry for a consultancy firm. Basically all 2 of my roles since graduating for the past 3 years have been a mix of business strategy, team leading, Oracle SQL,basic programming, Math, analysis, I'm kind of a jack of all trades in the business/finance/data world...

2. Convince my employer to let me live there but work for them in the USA

I talked to the CEO of my company and they may be willing to let me work remotely from ...well where ever I happen to be. I figure I could also use strategy 1 above if I move here but would I run into visa issues? I'd prefer to relocate there permanently (years).

3. Move there under my own business entity.

I currently trade stocks for my dad and I eventually want to get an automated stock trading business up. Could I move to Asia as a business entity easily? I don't have a lot of capital. I'm also working on a GRE vocab website and I hope to make money with this but its not a for sure thing and it will probably fail. Either way is starting a business in Singapore difficult and does it require a lot of capital up front (more so than in N. America which is nil)?

4. Travel there for a long period (1-3 months) but apply to jobs extensively and let them know I'm going to be there. Preferably I want to do this once I have a few years of learning Mandarin in the USA.

What do you think of 1,2,3 and 4?

Anyways so that is my strategy. Have I set unrealistic goals? Please be candid. Also if you need to know more about me here are some of my stats so to speak.


Age 25, no kids, no marriage
B.Sc. Astrophysics top 20 world school for natural sciences
Native English, self study of Mandarin for 3 months now, goal to be fluent by 30 (speaking/Pinyin at least).
Dual citizen (Canada, USA)

Am I being realistic? Am I in a good position? Any thoughts or tips would help.

I should also note that I've dealt specifically with the Asian financial markets and emerging bio-tech niches in this part of the world over my last few years of work experience...however my contacts are limited if not non-exsistant at the moment

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Postby mattown » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 8:11 am

I should also note that I don't plan to drop my career in the USA. I just want to continue to work here until I land something overseas by either 1,2,3 or 4 above.

I feel by the time I'm 30 and hopefully at least be able to communicate effectively in Mandarin, as well as have some senior/ managerial experience, that I'll be in better shape?

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Postby pakjohn » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 10:06 am

There are a lot more qualified people on here that will follow with more detailed advice, possibly contradictory to mine:

You're young, you have a good education and seem to be very passionate about working abroad. Don't burn any bridges behind you and come for 6 months to see what you can stir up.

There are very few jobs here and I think you'd need to be exceptional to compete with the hordes of very highly qualifed local candidates.

Sorry to say I can't recall the origin of this quote: :"Ships are safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships are built for." Follow your passion, take the knocks and adjust accordingly!
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Re: My Strategy to Move and work in Singapore and possibly C

Postby jpatokal » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 10:32 am

mattown wrote:Anyways so that is my strategy. Have I set unrealistic goals? Please be candid.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it :cool:

I don't see any strategy at all in your flow-of-consciousness post, and I can easily see why no employers are interested. A quick scanthrough gets me "management of financial data products", "business strategy", "biotech consultancy", "team leading", "Oracle SQL", "basic programming", "Math", "analysis", "stock trading", "GRE vocab website"... you've got to be kidding me!

Here's a whack of the clue-by-four: no employer wants to hire a jack of all trades who is a master of none and seems to have an exaggerated sense of worth. (Eg. you're doing business strategy at 25, with no formal education or personal experience running a company!?) You've also already been graded F- in Google 101 for not being able to find the countless threads and stickies on this very forum discussing how to go about setting up your own business.

So, my advice: distill that down unholy mess into something specific, and you might have a fair chance at scoring a job. Say, you're the financial data management guru or the man for biotech consultancy. Talking your employer into letting you set up here may also be a viable option, although the process of getting a visa is not entirely trivial, especially outside Singapore.
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 10:53 am

JP, I'm glad you did it. I saw it right after he posted but really didn't have a clue where to start so I walked away from it. You said pretty near what I wanted to say except I'm not so adept at being diplomatic! :wink:

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Postby mattown » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 1:15 pm

I don't see any strategy at all in your flow-of-consciousness post, and I can easily see why no employers are interested. A quick scanthrough gets me "management of financial data products", "business strategy", "biotech consultancy", "team leading", "Oracle SQL", "basic programming", "Math", "analysis", "stock trading", "GRE vocab website"... you've got to be kidding me!

Well...I thought maybe my post came across as naive but I had no idea I'd get a response like this. Maybe I didn't make myself clear, I tried to summarize my skills in a broad sense, if you guys want to know what I've accomplished down to the specifics then that's fine, we can go there, but everything I have said is true and I'm not lying about my experiences, they are what they are, even if they sound silly to you.

Also I do think I'm qualified for business strategy, I've helped my firm in San Francisco achieve a 300% increase in profits this year despite the worst economic slowdown in years and I've helped structure new products for the, hmm, the clients such as the US government (Pentagon) to name a few, oh and I also have over 100s of thousands of stock options for when we go public....I've ran businesses ever since I was a child (portable gatorade stand that employed my whole block when I was 9) and I've incorporated 3 so please don't judge me in that way...

Here's a whack of the clue-by-four: no employer wants to hire a jack of all trades who is a master of none and seems to have an exaggerated sense of worth.

I'm a jack of all trades, it's who I am, maybe this puts me at a disadvantage but I know great companies have hired me in north America so I don't see why no one would be interested in Singapore, its a big world out there. Lots of managers and entrepreneurs are jack of all trades because that is a skill in of itself are you truly serious about this?

Maybe I should ask you this JP, what should I focus on in the next 5 years so that when I'm 30 I have a better shot at applying for overseas positions? I don't see how I have zero strategy, please elaborate?

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Postby irvine » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 2:18 pm

Some of the lessons I learnt of working here in Singapore I would like to share with you, Mattown... bcoz I was once in your almost exact shoes.

1. Sometimes when you bare yourself like that, which is like thinking out loud, or share experience, or asking for feedback... there are ppl to attack you for no reason. Sometimes I felt they're out to make me appear stupid, but of course I wouldn't consent it anymore. I usually smile back and don't bother to explain anything bcoz I'm just not interested in having conversation with someone who is not helpful and cannot give constructive feedback which I specifically ask for.

2. I was once young like you, graduated in the States, also 25, also moving here to Singapore to look for a job, open minded to what I have to offer. Got some opportunities, and also some hard knocks. I must say, it has been a journey that I'm glad to have since at 25, I didn't have much to lose, and what didn't kill me ultimately made me a stronger person.

3. Go for a bigger, established company. Going for small companies in Asia may land you a) doing everything, b) risk not getting paid.

4. I miss the sense of humor of my friends from outside here. So, it's vital to keep an open mind, a bright spirit, and always a sense of humor. It will get you through life easier.

5. If I were doing this all over again, I would seek for an opportunity from the current US company for a 3-month or so posting to Asia, and see whether I like the work/life here. And then decide from there.

6. However, one good thing about being a Jack of All Trades, is that you know how to make the best out of everything (usually), and that takes you very far. So, be proud of who you are, and go for your dreams. Don't worry when you know what you're capable of doing! :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 2:40 pm

Irvine, I would have to ask "when" you were in his "same" situation. Was it during the height of a worldwide meltdown recession when most countries are closing the doors or at best making it more and more difficult to find work unless you are a citizen or PR in a country?

Sometimes, you have to answer posts with a dose of reality and not what happened before in a different set of circumstances or times. Things are a lot different than when I came over here as well. Considerably different. But the reality is NOW and not then.

You may have gotten lucky. Others (the vast majority go back home - broke) are not so lucky. Do we advise someone not to use a modicum of common sense? Or do we tell it like it is for the majority? That answer is pretty obvious. Don't forget, the employer has to prove to MOM WHY they need to hire a "jack of all, master of none foreign employee" instead of a local who is probably more than capable of doing the same job considering a JoaT is not a master of anything. Most here look for specialists who can bring something specific to the table if they want to hire foreigners and pay the additional premium necessary to do so.

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Postby irvine » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 2:49 pm

SMS, yes I was in his same situation when the economy was not so good.

Good or not good, I applaud a 25-year-old for wanting to explore the world.

At this economy situation, I would advise anyone to move countries only when there's a job offer in hand.

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Postby OogieBoogie » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 4:14 pm

well...
When you have the resume of the person you want to hire, it's not that difficult to rebuild the job description to perfectly fit the resume in a way that make almost impossible to hire someone else.
Just using stuff like "English mother tongue, extensive knowledge of the american market, USA graduated, at least 3 years exp in USA in blablabla industry" you're almost sure no local will fit. No?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 6:26 pm

welll.....

True, but if most here are looking to entering the China market to get away from the disaster that is the US. It's not going to mean too much. Oh, no body is faulting him for wanting to go out into the world. All we are saying is that what he's selling isn't going to go that far with the majority of employer here (nor with the MOM). Sure he could always get lucky. Some people do, others....... The road home is littered with broken dreams. All most of us are doing is advising to wait till his ducks are lined up a little better.

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Postby Saint » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 6:44 pm

. :-#

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Postby pakjohn » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 9:21 pm

I didn't really know you before... but welcome back!
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Postby mattown » Fri, 05 Jun 2009 12:27 am

Maybe I should clarify, I'm only going to go overseas if I can secure something while already pursuing my career here in the states. This could be next week, or it could be 10 years from now, it's a long term goal but I want to start now. I think the strategies I outlined above won't interfere with what I have set up now in the states in terms of a career, that was more or less the point.

I think the longer I work and gain better experience, all while I learn more Mandarin, the better my odds will be as I get older. I believe this is true???

I know my skills are in demand in Asia because since I began my job search 2 weeks ago I've found numerous (20 positions or so) positions that are a near exact match to what I'm doing at my current employer, which no surprise, is a jack of all trades type position. Granted some of them require more language skills than what I have at the moment but most of them don't because they are with US companies or deal with English speaking customers. Think of it this way, I'm the guy between what customers see and every other department within the organization,engineering,research,etc..I'm the glue...

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Postby ksl » Fri, 05 Jun 2009 12:57 am

Mattown,

Don't mind the boy's they could be right and they could be wrong!

Although your first hurdle to your dreams, is learning Mandarin, do what the rest of the USA graduates do, go to the language institute for the next 3 years and get stuck in.

To learn Mandarin in the USA is a no no, you need to dive in the deep end, where English is never used in the classroom environment, the teachers can be harsh and humiliating, but it either makes you or breaks you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BLCU

http://www.blcu.edeu.cn/blcuweb/english/index-en.asp

I studied there for 9 months on an introduction course to mandarin, naively expecting to be with beginners, the class was full of Japanese and about 3 Europeans with experience, but I enjoyed every single day, and was humiliated a few times for being a bad student, the first couple of weeks, because i couldn't remember the stroke order of the 20 characters a day, one gets to learn.

The japanese of course don't have a great problem with the language, and pick it up rather easy, but one is thrown in at the deep end, because nothing is in English, but you will benefit much more from the experience, and learn much more quickly.

You will meet people from all around the world, doing 3 month courses to intensive study, it's really worth the experience, you can also continue doing what you do from there in most cases, and it's very good for networking with the 350 dorm Chinese females next to the block where you will be housed. The rates are very reasonable.

It does appear a little like, you are requesting approval from a forum of strangers that do not know you at all, and even if you did know them, many would still give the same feed back.

Only you yourself know if you can go the distance, so my advice is to take all what you have got of experience, learn some of the language in Beijing and wheel and deal from there, never doubt oneself, even when it is hard going, it's all about meeting and solving problems on the journey, the negative setbacks are all part of the learning process.

Just have enough money for a return ticket from Beijing, if you need it, and get out there asap, and use your skills to survive, you will be dealing with street wise people, so be careful.

I was also in shock when i first went, because I needed the governments approval, for undisclosed reasons, and they gave it, and i left within 5 days of getting the approval, not knowing what to expect, but with a business education, and a government backed international trade qualification, it was the only logical step forward for me, because i already had experience of Asian trade and culture, I was 42, back then, and the students i went through my studies with where in their 20's speaking several European languages back home it would have been difficult for me to compete in Europe, my experience with cultures have decided my journey.

Another tip stay away from Americans as much as possible, and mix only with the Chinese.

The China experience was one I shall hold close to my heart, because it was back in 92, when life was still very hard in China for many very well educated and professional people, with movement very restricted for students, today, it's very much the opposite, but caution and awareness is still vital for survival because of poverty.


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