Since the last blog post I’ve accomplished quite a bit, including another visit with AmCham, visits to IBM and KPMG, the Blue Mountains, and a wildlife sanctuary. Sydney has proven itself to be quite an interesting place full of culture and diversity, more so than at home but not quite as much as Bangkok. Here the people are friendly, the food is excellent, and the sun is always shining (
At AmCham we got a chance to meet with the general manager who spoke to us about the company and provided many life lessons as well. He spoke about AmCham’s commitment to access and advocacy for its members, describing this as the company’s USP. He said these were the primary reasons that corporations joined their business. In short, AmCham works to provide a platform for businesses to network either in Australia, or for Australian companies to network and do business outside the country, primarily in the United States. He also spoke about how in Australia titles mean nothing, rather respect and appreciation are gained through knowledge and personality. I found this very intriguing since in the United States titles are very important and the workplace hierarchy is critical to even mundane business functions.
At IBM we got to speak with a man named Rupert Colchester who had worked with the company for over 10 years and just recently moved to Sydney. He currently works as the lead of blockchain practices for IBM in Australia and New Zealand. He noted how he sees many changes in business processes with the adoption of blockchain including supply chain logistics and payments to name a couple. We also go a chance to meet with graduate employees and interns as well. They spoke about how it’s critical to set goals for yourself and note your progress in order to continuously advance. They also spoke about the importance of making time for yourself and your activities so you’re not focused on work all of the time. One key piece of advice that stuck with me was that you need to find your passion and find a mentor. These two things will enable you to reach your potential in a field that you love, and with guidance when needed.
KPMG was by far my favorite presentation due to both content and presentation style. The speakers talked about advances in AI for audit purposes as well as for new banking regulations. They have a program which can extract and verify data across different systems in order to audit it for validity and valuation. This software could be very useful to businesses of all sizes, as it could greatly lower the need and cost for an accountant. They also demonstrated software which could pull key facts out of a conversation. For example, when a mortgage broker speaks to a client it could extract information such as salary, current living conditions, place of residence, etc. in order to keep record of what was said. This helps with the banking regulations in Australia since there has been a crackdown on loans being given to undeserving buyers. This information is then put into a printable transcript for documentation to back up the decision made by the loan officer. As well as this, we were also enlightened more in detail on blockchain and its potential uses. Blockchain was described as a method of digital bookkeeping that is 100% transparent and immutable. For example, it could allow you to verify the path of an order from supplier to customer, seeing exactly where delays are and why, which could allow you to improve the supply chain and make the process more efficient.
On Thursday we took a trip to the Blue Mountains, about a two hour train ride outside of Sydney. It wasn’t the best day to view the mountains, as it was raining on and off and very foggy. While this was the case, we still rode the hop on hop off bus around the mountains waiting for the fog to clear. We saw some great waterfalls, really roaring because of the rain, the “Three Sisters” (2 of them at least), and some pretty awesome vistas when the fog broke. Check out this sweet view from near the three sisters!
We ended our time in Sydney today by visiting a koala sanctuary in Featherdale, about an hour outside of Sydney. I couldn’t leave Australia without at least seeing a few exotic animals. This sanctuary wasn’t as big as the one I spoke about in Bangkok, however they claimed to have had over 1,000 different animals so it was quite diverse. In different sections of the sanctuary they had animals just roaming around, interacting at will with people. It was pretty cool, I got to take a lot of pictures with koalas and even pet a kangaroo. This was definitely the right ending to my time in Australia!