Nagarro has 32 locations around the world, eight of them are based in the United States. Customers such as Lutron, TTX, Algix, ASSA ABLOY and Crunch Fitness are managed by local colleagues. Recently, we sent our Sales & Marketing colleague Sebastian Gesellensetter from Germany, originally based in Munich, to the US for a three-month-adventure. I interviewed him after his return and was very excited to know about his experience. He told me one thing in advance: he had seen and experienced his favorite holiday destination with completely different eyes! Learn more about Sebastian and his experiences in the US!
Sebastian has been part of Nagarro for the last two years and has mainly served a large global client. At the same time, he has been intensively involved in the development of global account management and participated in several local marketing activities before embarking on the "US adventure".
How did you decide that you want to go to the US?
Part of my trainee program was to stay abroad. Unfortunately, it was not possible due to time constraints. After my program, I went to the US from March until May 2019. It was an easy decision for me since we have a major part of our sales activities based from the US. Personally, it was the best choice to learn in the area of customer acquisition and lead generation. The fact, that I am a big US fan and that I have spent my last holidays in America was an additional factor.
How did you prepare for such an adventure?
When I decided to go to the US, I first contacted our colleague Cindy Wolf who is responsible for our US business, to clarify the necessary arrangements for the stay. As usual for Nagarro, the communication paths are very short and non-hierarchical. In other words, after a Skype call it was formally done and I was able to start planning.
First, I took care of the flights, before organizing the accommodations. I decided to take an Airbnb, where I lived together with different people. Thus, I avoided "boring" hotels after a long working day. After all VISA issues were settled, the adventure started.
What challenges did you face and was the start more difficult than expected?
The biggest challenge was to find a good mixture of affordable and well-located apartments in New York. Luckily my colleagues from the US helped me and I got a great accommodation with a skyline-view of New York. The start in general was very easy, as I already worked with many US colleagues.
USA - what were you looking forward to?
I was really looking forward to going to work every morning in a country that I only knew from the perspective of a tourist. Just the fact that you're out in business clothes let you see the city differently.
What cultural differences surprised you?
In general, I was already familiar with the American culture. It's nice to see, that the Americans are very friendly while working and interested in the "German" way of working.
What are the differences in the German way of working?
The German way of working is characterized by structure and a stronger separation between professional and private matters. However, this structured way of working can be an obstacle - here we can learn from our American colleagues.
What is the American cuisine like, and do you have a favorite meal?
The cuisine in the US (and especially in New York) is as international as nowhere else in the world. You can have everything there - even a Bavarian beer garden in the Sillicon Valley was close.
Where and how did you live?
The first 2 weeks I lived in an apartment in Jersey City - first row on the Hudson River and a great skyline-view of Manhattan. Afterwards, I went for 2 weeks to San Jose in the heart of the Sillicon Valley. I also lived there in an apartment from where I reached the office in a short time by public transport. The rest of the time, I lived in an apartment in Jersey City again - this time unfortunately a bit further away from Manhattan.
What is it like to work in USA and what are the differences to Germany?
The difference in mentalities is noticeable between Germany and the US. While our focus in Germany is always on business, in the US there is also time to talk about topics beside work.
Did you face communication problems and if so, how did you deal with them?
At Nagarro, it is common to work in global teams, therefore the communication with colleagues was very simple and straightforward.
Looking back, what was the funniest experience in the US so far?
The evenings in sports bars and the futile attempts of the Americans to get me enthusiastic about baseball.
Would you go back to the US?
What did you learn for yourself and your future?
Especially the cooperation with other cultures and nationalities is something I don't want to miss anymore! Global collaborations and independence of place and time are indispensable in today's world.
Did your expectations come true and could you learn a lot about customer acquisition?
My expectations were absolutely fulfilled. Especially in the area of customer acquisition, I was able to experience that the American sales culture is much more focused on the interpersonal aspects of the people involved. Relationship development and management are always in the foreground.
Can you tell us a few tips and tricks that Americans use to do business?
In sales business, it is certainly difficult to apply procedures and "tricks" one-to-one in another country. However, in the end it's all about whether you can build a good basis of trust with your respective business partner. This building of trust coupled with the determination to conclude deals are definitely aspects that I was able to take with me.
How was your return?
I was lucky to have a little holiday after my stay - so I came back relaxed. Quickly life caught up with me again.
What would you recommend to a colleague, who is considering going to US for a work experience?
If you have a company, who offers you this opportunity, you should take advantage of it!