(Before the outbreak of COVID-19)
I have always felt the urge to discover new things, gain additional skills and seek out knowledge. It was during my internship in the Strategy and Transactions (SaT) department at EY Switzerland a couple of years ago that I first learned about the Global New Horizons Program. And it was immediately clear to me that this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.
Global New Horizons is a short-term secondment program that allows EY’s employees to transfer within their department but to a different office somewhere else in the world for three months. The benefits of the program seemed obvious to me: it is the ideal opportunity to develop your business knowledge, expand and strengthen your network and, most importantly, grow both professionally and personally.
After graduating and returning to EY as a permanent employee, I made it a top priority to work toward my application for the Global New Horizons Program. Having talked with numerous colleagues around the globe to figure out which country would be the best fit for my development, I decided to apply for an assignment in Singapore.
Both, from a professional as well as from a personal perspective, Singapore proved extremely exciting. The Strategy Consulting department there focuses on completely different industries and services than the Swiss practice, so I was able to gain experience and support clients in sectors that were new to me. On top of that, I was part of a highly diverse team and I built strong, lasting relationships, both within the company and beyond, including in other Asian countries.
And I was not the only one on secondment to EY Singapore at that time: I also met 12 colleagues from 7 other EY offices around the world and across different service lines. The exposure to different working styles and cultures allowed me to refine my consulting skills, gain new perspectives on business and strengthen my global mindset.
Of course, Singapore itself proved an ideal home base for exploring East Asia, and I did not hesitate an instant, travelling to other magical places such as Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. Another highlight, I was fortunate to accompany the Strategy Consulting team on its yearly off-site to Hoh Chi Minh City. At the weekend event, we met with our Vietnamese colleagues, did a lot of team-building and cultural activities and enjoyed the amazing atmosphere in Vietnam, not to mention the delicious food.
Personally, I found my secondment extremely rewarding. Immersing into Asian culture and leaving my comfort zone was exciting, but also challenging at times. The experience was a stark reminder to me of the importance for success of open communication, cultural competency, openness to different ways of thinking and team spirit. It was a learning experience like no other and I look forward to staying in touch with the great people I met. To the colleagues who made this adventure possible, I can’t thank you enough!
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