Home to BritishIndia: Rhoda Yap

So we at Outstation have to confess that so far, all of our Q & A’s have been with friends, friends of friends, family, friends of family….you get the picture.

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?

November 2011

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?


One comment on “Home to BritishIndia: Rhoda Yap

  1. This is too funny. Whenever me and my best friend spoke about returning to Malaysia, the wet toilet topic always killed the conversation.
    A: I think it’s a good time to go back and perhaps start a business.
    B: I think so too. It will take a while for the US to emerge from its economic slump.
    A: But man, the wet toilet ah. How ah?
    B: I know huh. Screw it, lets just stay here.

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