Smith Experience Abroad:
Doing Business in Singapore and
Malaysia: Islamic Finance
Fall term one-credit BUSI788Y and Winter term two-credit
its beautiful cityscape and ubiquitous symbols of modernity, Singapore is of
increasing interest to American businesses. Singapore has no substantial natural
resources, but today its per capita income is just below U.S. levels, due to
high-end manufacturing, services and export activities. The country’s economy
grew last year at 14.7 percent, led in large part by biomedical exports.
Like America, Singapore has a multiethnic population — Chinese, Indian and
Malay, and is ranked in the top three by Transparency International for
least-corrupt governments; by all measures Singapore places high importance on
governance – their politicians tend to make salaries competitive with private
enterprise. Singapore may have the freest market in the world; there are no
import tariffs, and no social nets of minimum wage requirements or even
unemployment insurance. However, the country underscores its values by providing
free education through university level.
Malaysia is focused on making sure it achieves its long-established 2020
self-imposed deadline of being a developed country. A critical part of this plan
is to prevent brain drain to Singapore. Malaysia hopes to be able to provide the
same educational and professional opportunities it sees in its neighbor.
Multinational and local companies worry about a shortage of skilled labor in
Malaysia, and economists agree this shortage substantially affects the country’s
ability to attract more high-technology industries. The government is acutely
aware of the shortage in skills and working to eliminate this constraint.
This class will also examine life and business operations in Muslim
countries, and students will learn about Islamic Finance and financial