CROSS CULTURAL EXPERIENCES
Back in 2010 when I was still a student at Singapore Polytechnic, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to serve my internship at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). I must emphasize, that the 6 months spent was one of the most memorable life experience I have had. Personally it opened my eyes to what I’ll call the ‘real’ working environment, as the previous jobs I held were mainly serving as an assistant in retail (part-time). I termed it ‘real’ working experience because the internship also offers me the chance to work in Hong Kong. At the age of 18, the opportunities given were more than I could ask for and certainly the experience and lessons learnt had an impact on me until today. The internship provided me the opportunity to work under two different supervisors. I can remember them vividly as they are both different in terms of their leadership and yes, culture-wise as well. The first supervisor was Mr Christopher Kim, head of Middle Office for Asia Pacific region. Mr Christopher comes from Korea, and in my opinion is someone who speaks his mind and puts his ideas across well. To put it bluntly, he expects subordinates to comply with his instructions unless there is a better alternate solution. He sets high expectations, even on work placement students like myself. One of the cultural etiquette that I noticed about Mr Christopher is that he was always punctual. In fact, never once have I seen him report late for work. I came to understand from colleagues that he would be in office earlier by an hour every work day. One of the first few ground rules set for me as an intern is to be punctual, unless for valid reasons of course. As a head of department, Mr Christopher certainly proved himself to be a good role model for others to look up to. In my opinion, he had on him the ‘strict and stern’ appearance, which inevitably makes me feel afraid to talk to him. A month into the internship, I got a...
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