The Tertiary Market Immersion Programme (TMIP) provides an opportunity for business-savvy tertiary students from across New Zealand to engage with Southeast Asia and to broaden their understanding of doing business in the region. 

TMIP participants travel to various Southeast Asian countries where they work in groups, guided by academic mentors, to develop a business pitch aimed at New Zealand businesses and entrepreneurs looking to engage with the region. During the programme, students visit global, local and New Zealand businesses while preparing to present their pitch in front of a panel of judges and their peers at the end of the programme. After returning to New Zealand, each group is tasked with presenting their idea in the form of a business report.

Completed programmes

January 2020: Indonesia - Malaysia - Singapore
Read more 

January 2019: Vietnam - Thailand - Singapore Read more and watch videos

Student Reports

  • Last Mile Delivery in Vietnam – Cold Chain Logistics

  • The Perfect Blend – Thai Coffee and Kiwi Expertise

  • Waste Print: Let’s Talk Trash – Waste Auditing and Management in Singapore

  • Kiwi Classroom – Online English Language Tuition in Thailand

Read the reports  

Meet our TMIP Alumni

 

TMIP 2020: Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore

Abbey Smith
Abbey Smith
Massey University

"The 2020 Tertiary Market Immersion Programme was one of the best experiences of my life! I embarked on Indonesia with little knowledge of the country other than the beautiful holiday destination of Bali. A key highlight was the ability to immerse myself in the culture and engage on a deeper level than your typical tourist.

I found it fascinating to learn about the unique challenges and differences in business environments between Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. The speakers from various organisations such as governmental agencies and NGO’s allowed for a well-rounded perspective of the business environments in Southeast Asia. These experiences, as well as opportunities to ask questions, is something you simply cannot get as a tourist. I left Southeast Asia with a completely new perspective of the region. 

Since returning home, I find myself constantly comparing and contrasting New Zealand with Southeast Asia. Moving forward, I look to engage further with Southeast Asia and challenge assumptions on the region with my new-found knowledge. This programme has shown me the business potential of the region that is yet to be tapped into, and I’m interested to see how it develops. I couldn’t recommend the trip more!"

Hannah Jang
Hannah Jang
University of Auckland

"As a Law and Arts student with minimal experience in business, I saw the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme as an opportunity to dive headfirst into the business world. Being immersed in an unfamiliar region was an invaluable experience as I was able to appreciate first-hand the business environment, politics, culture and geography of Southeast Asia.

Throughout the programme, we visited a range of people from NGO’s and governmental organisations to local universities. It was interesting to see how the different levels of development impacted the economic structures of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Although each country has its share of challenges and opportunities, culture is at the centre of Southeast Asia’s business environment. In order for New Zealanders to successfully enter the Southeast Asian market, we must learn to understand and respect the differences in cultural norms. The programme showed me the important role youth plays as the future of business, especially during a time where the potential for Southeast Asia’s market is increasingly becoming recognised.

I am humbled to have been part of such an incredible programme that presents young kiwi students the opportunity to swap the lecture theatre for the busy streets of Southeast Asia. Being able to learn from kiwi ex-pats and entrepreneurs alongside 15 other bright students has left me inspired and excited to continue my engagement with the region."

Monique Neal
Monique Neal
Massey University

"I had a basic cultural understanding of some countries in South East Asia through friends and travel, but the idea of learning about business intrigued me. Prior to TMIP, I had no desire to work in South East Asia; however, my head has been turned! The experience and knowledge that I gained from TMIP was invaluable through first hand experience.

The ability to have Q&A sessions with businesses in each of the three countries was rewarding for everyone. These talks emphasised the influence of culture and how important it is to be knowledgeable of differences. Through these talks, I have learnt to view challenges as opportunities in business, but can see this as a new positive outlook on life in general. Prior to TMIP, I hadn't been aware of New Zealand's strong connection to South East Asia and I valued learning about ASEAN.

Building the bridge between South East Asia and New Zealand is extremely important and I will work for organisations that recognise this. I now have a stronger desire for where I want to end up in life and TMIP has helped to give me direction in my career. I am honored to have been a part of the programme. I have gained a lot of significant connections and met inspirational entrepreneurs."

Zach Withers
Zach Withers
University of Auckland

"For me, the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme was a chance to figure out what sort of opportunities were available in Southeast Asia for New Zealand. I'd never been to Asia before but was convinced of the critical importance of the region as New Zealand continues to pivot towards Asia-Pacific. I applied for the trip knowing I was likely a bit naïve about the region and was very curious to learn what I didn't know.

Throughout the trip, we developed our knowledge and appreciation for the different economic, cultural, political and social contexts in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Particular surprises included exactly how many services could be delivered to your door in Jakarta through Gojek, the richness of shared history between New Zealand and Malaysia and what a craft beer brewery has to do to stay operating in Singapore. The recurring theme across all of the regions was the importance of managing your business relationships in the right way, which is not always going to be the New Zealand way.

I've had my eyes opened to both the potential of the region and the potential for New Zealand in the region. Southeast Asia is an exciting and fast-growing part of the world with substantial opportunities for New Zealand products, services and people. I'm already planning a trip back, knowing that while I learnt a lot on the trip, I've barely scratched the surface of what's out there in Southeast Asia!"

Adam Hitchiner
Adam Hitchiner
Victoria University of Wellington

"The idea of getting to travel across three different countries with 15 incredibly interesting other students, learning how to do business and where the opportunities lie. If that isn’t the dream I don’t know what is.

The thing about going to such foreign countries for an experience like this, is that everything you do is a learning experience. Whether it is going to the planned business visits, talking to local students, or even walking somewhere for dinner. When everything is completely new, there is so much to learn. Another thing that pleasantly surprised me from the trip was the respect we were given. As someone who is not long out of high school, I am used to being talked at when going to presentations from any kind of company. However, on this trip we would go to huge MNCs and they would genuinely want to discuss with us our thoughts on their business and engage so openly.

This programme truly opened my eyes to the amount of opportunities out there that it is up to us to take. I now want to go explore so many more developing countries around the world and see where I can really make a change. I cannot recommend this experience enough. The networking, the adventures, the opportunities, the once in a lifetime experiences and the lifelong friends. It has helped set up the trajectory for the rest of my life and I am forever thankful for everyone who made it happen."

Garth Tunnicliffe
Garth Tunnicliffe
University of Waikato

"The Tertiary Market Immersion Programme is an outstanding highlight of my undergraduate journey. This trip provided real world insights from the Southeast Asia region, insights that cannot be gained through books or word of mouth. I applied for this trip out of curiosity, and that curiosity was rewarded with an experience that I will remember forever.

I am more aware, more knowledgeable and more employable since attending TMIP. Through hearing from experts across multiple sectors, I feel I have gained a deeper understanding of the way the world works, of the global community and Southeast Asia’s place in it. During my trip I rubbed shoulders with CEOs, entrepreneurs, and government officials. With philanthropists, artists and community change leaders. They all have two things in common: their passion is infectious; their advice, priceless. Through these experiences, I now understand what I need to do to market myself as a global employee.

I will use this experience to guide my future career decisions. I will be back, Southeast Asia. You have won my heart. Visit for the experience, stay for the people, the culture, the opportunities. The time is ripe, the possibilities are endless."

Khorshed Tarapore
Khorshed Tarapore
University of Auckland

"As someone who doesn’t know a lot about Southeast Asia, ASEAN and just Asia overall, I really didn’t know what to expect. When I arrived in Indonesia (the first leg of TMIP2020) it became clear just how ignorant I was about this region and its unique beauty. Through the three weeks, I realised just how important Southeast Asia was as a business region and market. This region is heavily underestimated when in fact the ASEAN region together becomes the 4th most valuable market after China, USA and Europe. SEA has finally come to the forefront of my mind as a dynamic, extremely valuable market that needs to be accessed.

For me, the biggest learning from this trip was about global business relationships. As someone who studies Finance, Accounting, Mathematics and Statistics I was always focused solely on numbers. This meant that when delivering a business pitch, I would always talk about revenue, profit, EBITDA - this is what I thought a business pitch was. However, when I got to SEA I realised just how wrong I was. Business in SEA is about relationships.

I like to use a metaphor here, where starting/growing business in SEA is a plant, this plant needs constant water, love and sunshine. You need to be there for it at all times and only then will it flourish. Furthermore, you should be extremely cautious about which plot of land you plant your flower in since each plot poses its own unique challenges and issues. In business talk, you need to really understand the region before you move to it. Overall, before you expand your business into SEA you need to make sure it is the best fit and also build a relationship only then will your plant reach its full potential."

Maisy Bentley
Maisy Bentley
Victoria University of Wellington

"I applied for TMIP because although I often heard of the importance of Asia to New Zealanders both economically, historically and culturally I had little understanding of why or what this meant for the future. Many of the business challenges align with my interests such as building trust and navigating complex regulatory schemes in developing countries. Staying competitive and culturally competent in diverse rapidly developed societies and being equipped to live work and run a business across a region that is so diverse.

Although you can read about the scale, complexity and diversity of South East Asia, being immersed in it was a different experience. I learnt that it was often very small changes to your way of doing business such as investing in relationships and spending more time on WhatsApp that led to success alongside tackling big challenges like corruption. My favourite part of the trip was meeting New Zealand businesses and individuals that were confronting and navigating these challenges and capitalising on these opportunities and hearing the approaches they used.

As I go forward in my studies, community work, business ventures and career, SEA will be much more present in my mind. Whether it is as a potential area of research, a market for expansion or otherwise. TMIP has given me a foundation of knowledge, cultural competency and confidence to do so."

Anahita Piri
Anahita Piri
University of Canterbury

"After living in Malaysia for 5 years as a child, I had already been exposed to the difference of South East Asian culture and norms with respect to European norms. Having only lived there as a child however, I was very interested in looking at South East Asia again as an adult to discover what kind of opportunities there are for New Zealanders in the region. I was quite nervous to come into the programme coming from an Engineering background and little business knowledge, however there was no need to be worried. The range of topics covered, and speakers suited a variety of interests, and many other students were also lacking in strong business knowledge making me feel comforted.

Over the three weeks, we managed to visit a variety of organizations and businesses, met many inspiring people, became immersed in the different cultures of South East Asia, and learnt more than any university course would be able to offer. South East Asia is vastly different to New Zealand, which makes it all the more interesting to visit and do business in. The vibrant cities, the dynamic environment, everything about SEA makes it a wonderful place for Kiwis to traverse to. One of my most interesting learning outcomes from this trip was learning about the way different countries do business. What I didn’t realise was that business culture differed region by region in Southeast Asia, what may work in Indonesia is highly unlikely to work in Singapore due to different cultural and political backgrounds.

This was only one out of many learning outcomes, and so the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme certainly expanded my breadth of knowledge. I am very thankful for SEA CAPE and the government for offering this programme, as I know that it has impacted all of us students in the best way possible."

Diana Tran
Diana Tran
University of Otago

"I briefly studied and lived in SEA, and always considered coming back for work, but I really wanted to know more about the business opportunities and working culture in the region.

TMIP was the perfect opportunity for that; not only am I equipped with knowledge and skills that inform my future career opportunities and decisions, I have gained a wealth of experiences and knowledge across a wide range of industries and sectors in the these countries that I am sure I will make use of, in one way or another, to promote New Zealand's economic and cultural engagement with SEA.

TMIP was a very rewarding experience, and it is amazing think that in less than 3 weeks we learnt so much about the distinct markets and opportunities of 3 different countries!"

Irmine Kabimbi Ngoy
Irmine Kabimbi Ngoy
Auckland University of Technology

"Having not been to South-East Asia, I knew the knowledge and experience I would have gained during the trip would help me to get a better understanding of the regions. Only knowing about China (as I have been there a few times), I knew Asia as a whole was a robust place. But focusing on South East Asia, in particular Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, I now know these vibrant places have potential, growth and opportunities. Fully submerging myself in these three countries enabled me to connect with the culture and business environments. The trip has opened my eyes and expanded my understanding of the challenges and opportunities in these three countries. By having the opportunity to ask questions, discuss with business owners and observe kiwi and local business in these dynamic countries, I have more desire to engage more with Southeast Asia in the future. The influence of culture was fascinating from the value of partnership to consumer trends and insights.

Seeing this with my own eyes helped me realise that this trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It has increased my desire to work there in the future and continue to learn about Asia. Thank you SEACAPE!"

Xavier English
Xavier English
University of Otago

"Arriving in Jakarta, looking out the window at the pure chaos and stark difference from what I knew in New Zealand, my world expanded and I saw opportunity I had never even known existed. It became immediately obvious that I was about to have a very deep experience which would grow my understanding of the world, people, and post university options significantly.

The trip was a continuous stream of sights, experiences and people that taught me things I could never have learned otherwise. My eyes were twice as wide as usual while I took in everything on offer throughout the programme. We were provided every opportunity to enjoy coming to understand the region and we were enabled to take these opportunities with both hands. With everything so well organised, no logistical thought got in the way of my listening, learning, observing and imagining.

I can truly say that Southeast Asia will play a role in my future sooner or later and this would never have been the case without the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme. It was interesting, informative and inspiring and I look forward to giving back."

Angus Syme
Angus Syme
University of Otago

"Having never travelled to South-East Asia before, the Tertiary Market Immersion Program immediately caught my eye. I wanted to immerse myself in the cultures, business ecosystems and dynamic economies that present themselves in this part of the world.

 

During the trip we were very fortunate to talk and interact with key business and political people in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. I found a lot of value travelling with like-minded people from New Zealand and always discussing our different thoughts on the businesses we were working with. Meeting with NZTE and having dinner at the High Commissioners house in Malaysia was a highlight for me where I gained a real insight into working and doing business as a New Zealander in this market.

 

TMIP opened my eyes to the opportunities that present themselves in these countries. I gained an immense amount of knowledge that will lead me into the coming decade where I can now see myself working in South-East Asia. 

This programme for me is full of personal growth, learning and understanding different cultures and making friends for life."

Imogen Lily Graham
Imogen Lily Graham
Victoria University of Wellington

"The Tertiary Market Immersion Programme 2020 was an incredibly insightful experience. Each of Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore surprised in their own right. Beginning in Jakarta with the culture shock of being in a country completely different to New Zealand. It was interesting to see the huge contrast from visiting small social enterprises like Project XS, which supports the rubbish collectors to huge organisations with global influence like the ASEAN secretariat.

Furthermore, an internship in Kuala Lumpur not only shared how business is done with the immersion of being in the Malaysian culture and gaining an appreciation on how it influences business. Finally, Singapore was another contrast as the technology driven island country. It was fascinating to see New Zealand businesses leveraging their "kiwi creativity" to partner with multi-national organisations to expand their business throughout Asia.

The programme has opened up a part of the world I had not previously been involved in. I now have an appreciation for Southeast Asia and am interested in seeing its future direction and the role NZ can play in this."

Magdeline Huang
Magdeline Huang
University of Otago

"When I first saw the advertisement for the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme, I honestly could not believe such an opportunity existed. Being Malaysian and having spent my childhood there, I also thought it was uncanny that the three countries selected - Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore - were countries that I'm very familiar with. Nonetheless, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to learn more about the business and political aspects of the countries. I also thought it would be interesting to learn about them from a New Zealand perspective.

Overall, I figured this would be an amazing experience. I was not disappointed. Yes, sure, I had some prior knowledge of the countries, but I learnt so much more. So much so that it has challenged my previous perceptions of the countries. This trip has completely opened my eyes and given me more awareness about the issues and opportunities existing within this region - it has given these countries a new identity for me. More than ever, I would like to get involved with Southeast Asia and Asia in general.

I hope to share all my insights and learnings from the trip and participate in similar programmes in the future. The trip has also consolidated my desire to study abroad, get an internship in, and work in Asia in the future."

Karan Kalsi
Karan Kalsi
University of Auckland

"If there's one thing I learnt from the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme, it's that as New Zealanders we are all too often ignorant of South East Asia’s importance to us. There is a common perception of the region as being a great place to visit as a tourist, but not do business. My experience in the TMIP programme proved that stereotype to be completely false. Despite studying a Political Science degree and having some background knowledge on ASEAN, I can safely say there is no substitute for the depth of insight one gets from actually being on the ground in the region.

Aside from highlighting the incredible scale of a 260 million people large Indonesian market, my time visiting Jakarta helped me unravel the important role New Zealand can play in exporting our Geothermal expertise to Indonesia - the world’s 2nd largest geothermal energy producer. Who would have thought? My time in Malaysia interacting with our Chamber of Commerce and other local companies revealed the immense opportunity for New Zealand companies to export health technologies to a rapidly modernising Malaysian healthcare system. My time in Singapore taught me about the fantastic opportunity available for Kiwi agritechnolgoy firms to export their services to a land-scarce Government that wants to attain 30% self-sufficiency in food production.

All of these learnings were just a few amongst the many more I had gotten from the trip; and none of which I could have contextualised through a university paper or Wikipedia article. More importantly, the trip truly made me a South East Asia convert. Before, I always saw myself as being someone who would end up working in Europe or another Western country. Now, I can easily see myself working in all three countries - whether it be directly representing New Zealand through our Trade Commission, or indirectly through starting my own business there. If you crave dynamism and diversity, there’s no better place to be than South East Asia."

TMIP 2019: Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore

Alexis Allen
Alexis Allen
Victoria University of Wellington

I applied for the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme to gain hands on experience in Southeast Asia both in regards to business and culture. I had never visited any part of Asia before and so this was a really exciting opportunity for me.

I learnt about the how markets operate in three countries that are at three very different stages of development. We met a range of exciting businesses who passed on amazing insights about the markets they were involved in.

Since taking part in this programme, I definitely place a lot more emphasis on the importance of Southeast Asia for New Zealand. There are so many opportunities for Kiwi businesses to immerse themselves in the region.

Erin Bowers
Erin Bowers
Auckland University of Technology

As someone who has studied Japan and North Asia for 8 years, Southeast Asia has always been the sister side of the continent I never got to know properly. Since taking part in this trip, I feel I have grown as a learner, as an entrepreneur and as a person, and not to mention I have made some incredible memories!

This trip helped me discover how dynamic, fast paced and captivating this area of the world is and showed me how we as New Zealanders can be part of it. We got to see the good and the bad, the fun and the not so fun, the easy and the hard parts of doing business in Southeast Asia as well as getting to experience the unique culture and lifestyle there.

It really is an experience of a lifetime and I recommend anyone who has an interest in Southeast Asia to try out for this programme. I will definitely be going back to Southeast Asia in the future to work or travel as this experience has made it a place I won't forget.

Ella Boyd
Ella Boyd
University of Otago

Having travelled to China before on a similar business program, I applied for the Tertiary Market Immersion Program to immerse myself in local life and compare what I had learnt about doing business in China to the business cultures of Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.

Throughout the trip, we were lucky enough to attend talks by many different businesses including PWC, Heineken and NZTE. These talks, combined with the insights that came from travelling with such a diverse group of people, gave me a new perspective of South East Asia and helped me to better understand why the components required for a business to successfully enter the Vietnam, Thailand or Singapore markets, are so different from those needed in New Zealand.

TMIP taught me a lot about the politics, culture and business environments of each of the different countries we visited and I hope to continue learning about doing business in Asia during my final year at Otago.

I now intend to intern or work in South East Asia in the future, something I would never have considered before the program.

Matthew Brunt
Matthew Brunt
University of Auckland

My first experience in Southeast Asia was visiting Vietnam on a family holiday last year. Although I loved being in a place so different from New Zealand I didn’t fully appreciate the culture beyond being a tourist. In my application for the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme, I said how I was keen to engage with the culture on a deeper level.

The programme allowed me to immerse myself in Southeast Asian life and talk face to face with local business owners and students. I found the political and cultural differences between each of the countries we visited fascinating. Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore are all such beautiful countries with incredible histories. Visiting government agencies in each of the three nations allowed us to ask questions and see how each state is developing individually, an opportunity you simply wouldn’t get as a tourist. I particularly loved meeting and engaging with local students in Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore. Sometimes the world can feel like a massive place, but getting to know students in Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore it was fantastic to feel like part of their friendship group.

The business focus of the trip was fantastic, and I have taken so much away from the experience that I am keen to employ in my study and future workplaces. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity we as a group were provided with by the Southeast Asia Centre of Asia Pacific Excellence.

Zoe Hunt
Zoe Hunt
Otago Polytechnic

Learning about the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Southeast Asia was really rewarding. I learnt so much about political, social, cultural and economic issues that impact on doing business in the region. As a healthcare student, I was intrigued to learn more about the opportunities to develop healthcare in Southeast Asia and how New Zealand can facilitate positive change in these countries.

Since going on the TMIP programme, I am so much more confident to talk about Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore and explain what I learnt and gained from this experience. Travelling with the group was a rewarding and amazing experience as each individual brought different perspectives, interests and future goals. Each person taught me different things and facilitated the learning experience in Southeast Asia.

The programme has inspired me to take action in the future and start my own social enterprise or business, which I would love to extend into the Southeast Asian market. I am now considering what other papers I could take to further my understanding of business and international relations to help me get this business off the ground.

Laurie Ingle
Laurie Ingle
Victoria University of Wellington

Technology is amazing. When you look around the streets of Hanoi it’s easy to see lots of people on their smartphones. They could be hailing a ride with Grab, buying shoes on Lazada or playing VNG’s new game: Cube Skyland. In all cases, technology is being used to connect people and add value to their lives. The Tertiary Market Immersion Programme taught me that you can’t truly understand a market without visiting it. You can read statistics about how many people live in Ho Chi Minh City, but it doesn’t have meaning until you’re stuck in the middle of the road, unable to cross, because of (supposedly) nearly 7.4 million motorbikes and scooters on the roads. Visiting a new place gives you an appreciation of what’s different and new about it when you compare it to other parts of the world you’ve been to.

Southeast Asia is becoming a hub for technology. One of my favourite visits was to the Eastern Economic Corridor in Thailand. We were introduced to Thailand 4.0, which is Thailand’s economic model for growth. It focuses on security, wealth and sustainability. Part of this involves a focus on technology, including the development of smart cities which use data and technology to create efficiencies, improve sustainability and create economic development for those who live within them. Need to find a parking space in a smart city? Your phone will guide you. How much energy is your house using? Check the app. It sounds futuristic. Will smart cities give rise to social issues? How will data privacy work? Can we ever go back? Who knows! All good questions. Regardless, there’s something exciting about technological development and seeing just how much we can reinvent and refine everyday life.

TMIP has opened my eyes to new areas and made me eager to learn more about Southeast Asia in the future. It showed me the potential of the region and I can’t wait to see how it develops.

Charlotte Keir
Charlotte Keir
University of Canterbury

After living in Thailand for a year, I was really interested in exploring Southeast Asia to discover what opportunities are available for New Zealanders in the region. When I was told about TMIP, I was initially hesitant to apply as I thought SEA CAPE wouldn't be interested in what a Law and Arts student had to offer. But I was happy to discover that our team studied a wide range of subjects. This gave us a greater range of knowledge and meant I learnt not only about business, but also the many subjects of the group.

For three weeks, we had the incredible experience of travelling through Southeast Asia, learning about some amazing businesses and meeting some really cool people. I was immersed in the business culture of each country and was inspired by the stories of Kiwis who had bravely gone into the unknown.

Southeast Asia is an exciting, dynamic place and I can't wait to return. Overall, the trip was a valuable experience and I would recommend any tertiary student to apply. As a non-business student, I learnt so much about New Zealand entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia and the distinct business culture of each country. The trip has broadened my horizons and I look forward to returning to this part of the world soon. A big thank you to SEA CAPE for the opportunity of a lifetime!

Emma Kerr
Emma Kerr
University of Auckland

Having never been to Southeast Asia, I saw the SEA CAPE Tertiary Market Immersion Programme as a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of the region. I was honoured to be part of the programme and be able to learn so much more than would be possible from afar. It was an eye-opening experience and ignited in me a greater passion for the region. I returned to New Zealand with so much energy and excitement for the opportunities in Southeast Asia.

Over the course of 18 days, we had an intensive schedule visiting various companies, NZTE and MFAT offices, and local universities. It was fascinating to see first-hand the different levels of development in each of the three countries and hear accounts from locals and kiwi expats about their experiences. We were fortunate to learn about the unique business opportunities and challenges in Vietnam, visiting both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. The energy and entrepreneurial spirit of Vietnam were evident. In Thailand, we learnt of the country’s plans to overcome the middle-income trap and move towards a value-based economy through the Thailand 4.0 vision. Singapore’s order and infrastructure were a stark contrast to the chaotic scooter-filled streets of Vietnam.

It was great to build an understanding of the unique political, social and businesses environments in each country while also working in teams to consolidate our learning and pitch new business ideas to judges. The Tertiary Market Immersion Programme showed me how it is crucial for young people to build knowledge and awareness of the Southeast Asia region. It is essential to understand the nuances of the business environment there and develop long-term business relationships with a strong foundation of trust. There are so many opportunities in Southeast Asia for entrepreneurs and businesses as well as in the public sector. It is a fascinating time to be learning about, and exploring, the region.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
University of Auckland

When I first heard about SEA CAPE’s Tertiary Market Immersion Programme it seemed too good to be real.

The opportunity to learn about new cultures and foreign business environments with enthralled me. I had visited Singapore for a couple of days in high school but never really connected or had a deep engagement with Southeast Asia before. Taking part in TMIP has helped me to make new friends and forge new connections in Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.

I feel optimistic about future business opportunities in Southeast Asia that I could pursue in the future. I will be continuing my engagement with the region through university studies and hopefully again in real life in the near future.

Kathlynn Lee
Kathlynn Lee
University of Auckland

Identifying with both Southeast Asian and Kiwi culture as well as a desire to learn more about the business opportunities in Southeast Asia motivated me to apply for the programme. I wanted to apply the business knowledge I have learnt at university in a different cultural context.

In Vietnam I was inspired by consumer insights and trends towards ‘ultra-convenience’ and how it has changed not only the world of e-commerce but also how real-life and online communities engage with each other. In Bangkok I learnt about Thailand’s efforts to escape the middle-income trap despite social and political challenges. Lastly, I saw Singapore in a new and unexpected light. I learnt how it became to be so modern and developed, and how savvy urban planning has transformed the city.

I’ve often been told that entrepreneurship is something one cannot learn; that some of us are simply born as risk takers or are just "lucky". I've spent the last three years challenging this idea. The Tertiary Market Immersion Programme is no exception. It taught me to view challenges as opportunities, question assumptions, and validate ideas in person. Overall, the cultural and business immersion I experienced over those 18 days has shed a light on how I want to develop both personally and professionally. I definitely want to engage more with Southeast Asia by continuing to challenge my assumptions about how trade, economics, politics, and culture intersect in the region and how New Zealand businesses can engage with those opportunities.

Naomi Pepah
Naomi Pepah
Massey University

As an Indonesian living in New Zealand, I embarked on the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme with a ‘been there, done that’ attitude towards Southeast Asia.

Little did I know that the programme would allow me to see the region from a completely different perspective. I learned so much about how business is conducted in Southeast Asia not only from the locals, but also from Kiwis making their mark abroad. The trip taught me that there are so many opportunities out there that we can tap into.

Since taking part in the programme, I feel better-equipped to contribute my knowledge about doing business in Southeast Asia to my working environment.

William Robertson
William Robertson
Massey University

Having no ties to Asia, I applied for the TMIP so that I could learn why everyone seems so excited about the development of Asia. It sounded like the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded people and experience Southeast Asian culture hands on. I had high expectations coming into the programme, expectations that were surpassed within the first few days.

It felt surreal it be 60 stories high, listening to a representative of $45 billion business (The Heineken Company) whilst representing your country in an immersion programme. Nothing to be forgotten any time soon. Having been constantly reminded of New Zealand’s geographic isolation and small population, I hadn’t given much thought to New Zealand’s role in the world. South East Asia, where city populations are larger than our country’s population, is a stark reminder of the size of our world and the dynamism of business. During the programme, the business talks were incredible. Seeing how the business environment differs from the New Zealand environment and how businesses operate in response was fascinating and emphasised the influence of culture.

Since finishing the programme and returning to university, I constantly compare and contrast New Zealand with Southeast Asia. TMIP has given me a greater understanding of our strengths, weaknesses and the need to trade; as well as showing me the importance of building strong international relationships. I plan to continue learning about Asia and hope to spend some time working there in the future – something I would never have considered before the programme.

Iona Sammons
Iona Sammons
Victoria University of Wellington

Travel was my initial motivation to apply for the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme, however I ended up getting so much more out of the experience. Prior to being accepted in the programme, it felt like these kinds of opportunities only happen to other people! TMIP helped to push that barrier.

While in Southeast Asia, I especially loved hearing from New Zealand businesses who'd built themselves up in NZ and are now making it big overseas. It's one thing to be told something and accepting it as true, but it's another to personally experience it first-hand.

I plan to keep in touch with the organisations we met with on the trip and also hope to increase my involvement with some of them in the future.

Nina Santos
Nina Santos
University of Auckland

I was born and raised in the Philippines, a Southeast Asian Country. But before TMIP, I wasn’t really SEA savvy, per se. Southeast Asia is an emerging force that presents endless opportunities, and I feel like learning about it is underrated.

I applied for the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme wanting to challenge my assumptions and expand my knowledge not only about the market, but also about the rich culture, politics and history. TMIP made this possible -- it was engaging, immersive and underlined the need to learn more about beyond economic returns. Apart from analysing business environments, the trip also opened my eyes to the struggles of marginalised communities within SEA, and the growing social inequalities across Asia resulting from globalisation. It was inspiring and motivating to see how businesses are addressing these issues, but I also realised how much work needs to be done in developing appropriate policy to deal with to trade and taxation, education, skills development and migration.

It IS the Asian Century, and Asia-relevant capabilities are more important now than ever. Thanks to SEA CAPE for the fabulous opportunity to enhance my passion and knowledge about SEA.

Kajol Thanki
Kajol Thanki
University of Waikato

I applied for the Tertiary Market Immersion Programme 2019 as I have always been curious about Southeast Asia’s growing significance as a region to New Zealand. The experience I gained on the Programme was invaluable as I was able to appreciate first-hand how the differences in each country’s history and political structure have impacted upon its current economic development, society and business practices.

For instance, in Vietnam, we learnt about the country’s strong growth rate, the importance of building trust in the local market and conducting adequate research prior to market entry. In Thailand, we spoke with many enterprises who are using entrepreneurship as a tool to address the country’s social issues like deforestation and the need for ethical tourism. Finally, in Singapore, we learnt exactly what factors have led the country to rise above its Southeast Asian counterparts and become such a successful financial hub. We also had the opportunity to hear about the journeys of professionals working for tech giants like Facebook and other successful start-ups.

Being able to learn from and network with ambitious entrepreneurs from these vibrant regions was inspiring. As a future business graduate, I am now highly interested in pursuing work experience and secondment opportunities in Southeast Asia – something I had not considered prior to the Programme. I also see myself continuing to upon build my knowledge of and networks within Southeast Asia in order to help New Zealand businesses who want to expand into the region.

Walter Todd
Walter Todd
Victoria University of Wellington

The Tertiary Market Immersion Programme 2019, was an excellent all-round business experience. My eyes have been opened to a world of opportunities in South East Asia and I constantly find myself referring to my newly acquired knowledge after the experience.

I think the programme is something that more New Zealand students should apply for. The programme gave me the opportunity to create new connections in the business world across Vietnamese, Thai and Singaporean markets.

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