I am writing you from London, where I arrived in September after one memorable month in Beijing and a brief, lovely Zwischenstopp (how badly I miss the artistic German composita!) in Frankfurt – just to pack my suitcase and deal with the final red tape, actually.
I’ll tell you the whole truth: I had no suitcase to pack, as mine got lost on its way from China to Germany. I was eventually informed that it had flown from Zurich to Barcelona by a very random mistake. Such things happen if your luggage tends to love adventure as much as you do. But then again, I have great friends such as my former fellow student Julia, who lent me hers for my new beginning in the UK.
Enough with digressions. It’s been a while since I started my new job experience at a renown branding consultancy, and it keeps getting better. But if someone had told me back then in 2013, before starting my Master of International Business at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, that I would be working in Brand Strategy only two years after, I would have looked at them as if they were crazy and secretly googled the meaning of the words. Because I used to work as a translator, and words were my ultimate comfort zone.
Today, I am among the lucky ones who research, interview, make competitor audits and situation analyses to understand how well brands are doing on the market, why, and how they can thrive by being different and agile. It’s a fast-paced, dynamic environment, with great people and an amazing atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong: I had been working with fantastic teams in advance. But if you move to a new country, with a different culture, to do something you’ve never done before, your working place becomes pretty damn important in your daily life.
It all started in 2014, with the International Marketing and Strategy classes held by respectively Prof. Stieglitz and Prof. Mattison-Thompson. It is not exaggerated to say that they introduced me to a world I had no clue about. And I found it utterly fascinating. Segmentations? Organizational capabilities? I beg your pardon? Please, tell me more! The combination of rigorous management and “the softer side” (culture, psychology, communication) seemed to be exactly what I was looking for when I decided to gain more business skills at the FS. And needless to say, this is how I succeeded in the interview and came to London in the first place.
However, at the end of the day, it’s not only about the great new job. That is more a consequence, a result. Behind it, there was the choice to move again after seven cosy years in Germany. There was a month of Mandarin course in Beijing, a language I started learning during my Masters’ – again, because I was lucky enough to meet my fellow students Jia, Amy and Bingqi, among others. There was a Regional Specialisation mainly focused on China, held by knowledgeable lecturers such as Prof. Herrmann-Pillath, Prof. Löchel and Dr. Böing, culminated in two amazing weeks in Beijing, Wuxi and Shanghai. And by the way, guess who is currently in charge of the background research for a China-related project at work? Correct!
And yet, my biggest learning at the FS does not consist of notions and theories. Not even (so sorry!) of the several group works, although they were crucial for getting organised, embracing different views and learning on how to make compromises.
The massive outtake for me was to step out of the comfort zone. Venture into something new, be that a subject, a field, a country. Give up your certainties, abandon your prejudices, and look around. Every door, every step, every person you encounter is an opportunity to learn. Don’t be scared to move again, to think again, to start again. The world is your Oyster. And since I’m in London, this is truer than ever.