Studying and working abroad means adapting to new cultures. This was also Samantha Thompson’s experience when she came from Brazil to Germany for her bachelor's degree. In the interview, she talks about how she perceived the German work culture, how it differs from the Brazilian work mentality and how she benefits from her international experience in her current job at Deloitte.
Samantha, you worked in Germany during your bachelor studies. What did you do exactly?
I was a working student at thyssenkrupp as part of the MAX project, a global elevator project for a predictive maintenance solution (IoT). My main activities were to support the teams from the US, the Netherlands and Spain with invoice management, cost allocation and supply chain forecast as well as supporting the communication flow between the German and Brazilian teams.
What qualifications would you say German employers value most?
In my experience, German employers look for committed and detail-oriented employees.
What were the biggest challenges while studying and working in Germany?
For me, the biggest challenge was adjusting to the „straight to the point“ culture. I come from a culture that tends to soften feedback, so I wasn’t used to direct communication.
How did you experience the German work environment compared to the Brazilian one?
In Brazil, companies usually have an employee shortage which fosters long hours of work, the need of doing many things simultaneously and the „all-rounder employee“, who is someone that can do different things and adapt really quickly. Whereas in Germany, my experience is that a specialist is more valued, someone that can do a specific activity really well.
Also, planning in general is really different. I feel like companies in Brazil tend to draft a plan, but it’s more important to get started as soon as possible and adapt during the journey than trying to predict all the obstacles the team might face before they actually happen, while in Germany, planning carefully is highly valued and sometimes might take longer than the actual project.
After completing your bachelor's degree at ISM, you started working at Deloitte in São Paulo. What does your job look like?
I started as a Risk Advisory Trainee in March 2018 and have received 4 promotions since then. As an Internal Audit Senior Consultant, my responsabilities are developing an internal audit test plan for the specific project, distributing and managing tasks among team members, carrying out internal audit (IA) tests focused on identifying the risks that may impact the company's business and reporting the final results and recommendations.
How do you benefit from studying at ISM in your current position?
During my time at ISM, I was able to improve my English and Spanish, which allows me to work not only in domestic projects but also in projects in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. I believe that having more practical courses like the consulting project allow students to understand better how the market works and give some experience of real-life work.