We thought we’d ask TalentCorp, the country’s anti-brain drain agency, to offer up some victims….Oops, we mean candidates!
They offered up Rhoda Yap, who returned last year from the US on TalentCorp’s Returning Expert Programme.
Name: Rhoda Yap
DOB: Too young to be CEO, too old to be single – by Malaysian standards anyway
Family: Maybe someday
Hometown: Kuching, Sarawak
Current city: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Where did you move back from?
United States – various cities as I was on the road 4-5 days a week at client sites.
No of years abroad:
Cumulatively 9 years (UK and most recently United States in the last 5 years)
When did you return?
Why did you return?
When staying at McKinsey USA became the ‘easier’ choice (which was surprising, as McKinsey has always been viewed as an intense developmental experience); and the opportunity to craft and expand a homegrown brand internationally beckoned.
I see the next 10-15 years of my career as the prime years and figured that it would make sense investing that in a region where the GDP growth rates would be in the high single digits to potentially double digits; versus an economy that at best will grow in the low single digits.
What do you do for a living?
I’m the Chief Executive Officer of BritishIndia, a lifestyle brand with retail outlets in 4 countries.
What did you like about living in the US?
(1) The access to vibrant like minded individuals whom I can share and develop ideas with, e.g., my incredible work colleagues from McKinsey USA and my loyal classmates from business school
(2) Ease of running mundane errands through websites
(3) Ability to travel extensively to very diverse places within the country (e.g., from Whitefish, Montana to Miami, FL) as well as access to amazing hotels – having platinum status at multiple chains definitely has its ‘suite’ perks
What did you not like?
The US healthcare system and seeing young soldiers being deployed (i.e., family good-byes while en route through airports).
What have you liked about coming home?
Access to pomfrets and kangkong; having a personal trainer at my home gym; as well as the ability to wear casual outfits at work … as long as it is BritishIndia!
What have you not?
This is nit-picking but here goes: that toilet paper is optional in public toilets and the belief that wet=clean.
Anything else you want to add?
Mmm…this feels like an opportunity to be ‘preachy’. Can I pass?