Salyards is a skilled sales professional who enjoys detecting his customers’ needs and investigating solutions. This passion has served his 20-year sales career well. His works has led him to Boston, New York City, and finally to Singapore, where he is vice president of sales in the Asia Pacific region for BMC Software, a seller of business automation and compliance software.

“We’re a US-based company doing business internationally,” said Saylards. “We have to take into consideration the customs of other cultures, learn how they want to do business, and find out their expectations.”

For example, in Singapore, a culture more focused on relationships than the US, Salyards learned that sales happened gradually over time and might not be in line with quarterly results. They don’t do anything short term, he notes, and trying to sell too much and too hasn’t been effective. Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region have unique characteristics. In China, customers may engage in drinking games, while in India, alcohol and meat are not usually consumed. In contrast, “Australia is so much like America from a business perpective: it’s very easy to do business there, “Salyards said.

Salyards’ Executive MBA education prepared him for his international role. “It opened my eyes to the importance of all the functional departments and has reimbursed me 10 times over. I chose Suffolk because I like the blue-collar type working atmosphere of the very real people there from public policy to finance. The school was strong technically, and the professors remain important to me today,” he said.

Professor Richard Torrisi, who led a Global Travel Seminar to Aix-en-Provence, France and Professor Thomas O’Hara were both influential in Salyard’s career.” Having (O’Hara) talk about central banks and the euro helped me with currency concerns in my job today when we actually peg the currency rates for a full year.”

For others starting out in a new country, Salyards offers a tip that helped him when he arrived in Singapore: “Write down everything you think you know and think you’re going to observe. Then put it in an envelope, seal the envelope, and open it six months later. For six months, just listen and ask a lot of questions. After that, open the envelope and see how different your perceptions were from reality. Seventy percent of my assumptions were wrong.”