At SpotX, employees are eligible to participate in the global rotation program to spend immersed in another office culture. After just a year of employment at SpotX, employees can apply for the program to spend either a few months to over a year in another country. Matt Smith, manager on SpotX’s Advanced Solutions Group made the move from SpotX headquarters in Denver to Singapore this year for three months. Learn more about his experience in the Q&A below!
What made you decide to take part in the global rotation program at SpotX?
In 2016, during my junior year of college at Washington University in St. Louis, I was presented with the opportunity to study abroad. At the time I was on the school’s baseball team, comfortable with my current lifestyle in St. Louis, and entirely unsure where I would go if I decided to attend a foreign university. With all of those question marks I decided to pass on the opportunity.
During that semester, a large number of my close friends attended universities in the likes of Paris, Copenhagen, and a variety of other destinations. It’s pretty safe to say that I had a fair amount of “Fear of Missing Out” or FOMO from seeing and hearing about the incredible experiences that my peers had. For the past few years I have been looking back at study abroad as a missed opportunity. And even more upsetting, a missed once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I was fairly ecstatic when I was approached about the possibility of doing a 3-month rotation in our SpotX Singapore office. I definitely wasn’t going to allow myself to pass up on another opportunity to live abroad.
How would you compare the office dynamic in Singapore vs. Denver?
“Startup-y” is the first word that comes to mind. Not in terms of the SpotX product or clients within the region, but more so with the office dynamic of a 10-person team. Each member of the SpotX Singapore team is tasked with wearing different hats and stepping up to the plate in complex situations that may not always directly align with their role. I really appreciated the office’s hard working attitude and willingness to learn. I am excited to keep working alongside the team and can’t wait to go back and visit.
How did your role change while you were working in Singapore?
My role did change slightly. The Advanced Solutions Group is already highly engaged in global projects as well as trends in Europe and APAC. However, you can only learn so much through email, research, and conference calls. It was an invaluable experience to get fully immersed in the market and to get directly involved with clients and projects. The direct relationships that I formed with the APAC team and key partners helped open up my understanding of the region, its strengths, and its pain points. I’m looking forward to dedicating more time to SE Asia projects.
What was your life outside of work while you were there? Did you travel to anywhere else while you were abroad?
My travel adventures outside of Singapore were undoubtedly the highlight of the whole experience. I’ll share some of my favorite moments and places with you!
Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands
I think the Phi Phi Islands are definitely in the running for my favorite place in the world. My girlfriend, Natalie, and I were able to spend a couple days relaxing in Phuket and then we took a breathtaking tour through the Phi Phi Islands on a small wooden boat.
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh
Vietnam had some great cultural sightseeing. I was able to explore the two biggest cities in the country with SpotXers, Mete Bargmann and Peter Karundeng. And our trusty translator sidekick, Thinh.
I don’t think I need to include a picture of my trip to Bali since you’ve probably seen 7 on Instagram already today. But, I had an amazing time there even though I crashed my moped and ended up in a Bali hospital with 7 stitches in my left leg.
Fellow SpotXer, Scott Mattler, and I were able to take a day long golf trip to the Palm Springs Country Club and get in 18-holes across the pond in Indonesia. Luckily, we had a personal caddie who helped us navigate around the ridiculously high number of sand traps on the beachfront course.
Did you feel any different after returning from your position in Singapore?
I definitely miss the food and the friends that I made in Singapore! But I am glad to be back watching my Chicago White Sox at 5PM rather than 5AM.
Also, I’m planning on holding an intervention with all US-based airlines. How is it that I can fly from Singapore to Thailand for $50 USD but I can’t get home to New York for less than $300? Huge fan of Scoot Airlines, 10/10.
This article was written by Matthew Smith, manager, advanced solutions group at SpotX.
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