With threatening clouds overhead, our group struck out for a busy day on Wednesday. Our first stop was at the American Chamber of Commerce. To be honest, after doing my research about AmCham in Australia, I wasn’t entirely sure what services they provided. However our meeting was quite informative and gave insight into the importance of politicking in international business. It emphasized the power of relationships in order to be successful internationally. Firms that try to brute force their way into a new market will often be met with more opposition than they can handle. The meeting was also a good honest look at how Americans are viewed by other cultures in business. It is always useful to know what preconceived notions a colleague might have when beginning a new business relationship.
Our day continued with a visit to IBM. I was excited to see that we would be meeting with someone from the block chain team as that is one of my areas of interest. I ended up being handily impressed by Rupert and his insight into the market. I appreciated that he was pretty frank about the state of the block chain industry and didn’t pretend to have all the answers about where the market is going to move in the coming years. Our Q&A with the intern panel was equally valuable as we got to gain perspective from peers on the other side of the international coin. I was relieved to see that most of them had already been successful in achieving a work-life balance, as that is something that has concerned me about transitioning to a full-time position.
After devouring my first meat pie, we made over to the impressive building that housed KPMG. With this being our last meeting, it was fitting that it was also my favorite by a wide margin. The data analytics team spoke to the exact field that I hope to succeed in starting this summer. They laid out their processes for ETL of data in a way that was impressive while also being comforting because I actually understood everything they did! It was so reassuring to see that the work I have done the past 5 years will be directly applicable to the work I will be doing.
Furthermore, Peters presentation on Blockchain tech was incredible. In my personal research into blockchain, no article ever did the job of laying out both a technical overview as well as concrete application of the technology. Peter did both in a way that made the concepts easy to understand. I had a great conversation with Jarred about his transition from university to KPMG and I felt like that also afforded me more reassurance about my own path.
After a long day of meetings, I was more than glad to hit the Haymarket Hotel for dinner and some fine Australian Lager. I can’t believe it took me three days in Australia before eating a steak. It was everything I thought it would be and more because after a week of more fish than I had ever eaten in my life, red meat was quite the safe haven.
Waking up to dreary skies and rain on Thursday did not dissuade this young traveler from catching a train out to the Blue mountains. Perhaps I should have been a bit more pessimistic from the jump because on arrival, I was greeted with a solid wall of fog where I was told some mountains were supposed to be. After sipping some truly excellent hot chocolate, some of the fog had cleared and with a bit of a hike the group was able to get a clear view out into the beautiful valley. Not sure I would ride the train 4 hours to have a look at too many mountains, but if life went according to plan it wouldn’t be very interesting now would it.
After taking the chance to catch up on a bit of sleep, I woke up Friday afternoon feeling rested. I decided that after 2 weeks of traveling in groups, a little solo time was in order. I hopped a train to the north end of the Harbour Bridge. Listening to some Billy Joel, (The Stranger of course). I took a walk across the Harbour Bridge foot path. Something about the combination of the sun, light breeze, and magnificent view, made for a nearly perfect afternoon. After all the things I had seen on this trip, my simple walk across the bridge turned out to be one of my favorite moments.
All that was left was to pack and catch an impromptu rugby match at ANZ stadium. This trip has been an experience that I will remember for a lifetime. There are sights, sounds, and tastes that I couldn’t forget if I tried. I can’t wait to embark on my next international adventure.