Leaving the comforts and familiarities of home to live in a foreign country is a big and challenging step. There are so many factors to consider. Will you be comfortable in your new home? What will your new social life be like? How will you adjust to the cost of living?
Then there’s work to think about. It’s easy to become accustomed to your own local workplace, with its own policies, structure and workplace culture, and operating within its local regulatory framework. But often, when you set off to experience life in another country, your new workplace won’t necessarily fit into the workplace image you’ve become accustomed to.
Olawale Owoeye moved from Nigeria to the US shortly after commencing the Global Online MBA programme at Imperial College Business School. As a Senior Systems Engineer for Cisco Systems – a world-leading technology company – Mr Owoeye identifies several fundamental differences between his new US workplace and his workplace back home.
“Developed economies like the US utilise technology as the basis of increasing productivity, and, by extension, as a way of life for the general populace more than developing economies that are battling corruption, basic healthcare, hunger and continual issues of currency devaluation,” Mr Owoeye explains.
“Customers’ adoption and subsequent transition to new technologies is also much faster here than I experienced within Africa, and the scale of investment in technology differs considerably.”
Like so many of us living in today’s global business world, Mr Owoeye also faced personal challenges when making the move abroad.
“Transitions are never as easy as they seem on paper,” Mr Owoeye says.
“Making choices on living conditions and transportation pale in comparison to other more important decisions such as building and investing in new relationships, savings, budgeting, taxes and all forms of insurance, amongst others. Understanding purchasing parity probably came a bit too late in my case – otherwise my negotiation skills would have been better enhanced,” he laughs.
“That said, I joined a fantastic team with great leaders, so blending in was easier.”
But the knowledge Mr Owoeye has gained through his Global Online MBA studies has helped facilitate his transition to his foreign workplace, despite the differences and challenges he encountered.
“Coming into a new team required showing technical competence and, more importantly, leadership, which I learnt through the principles of Organisational Behaviour,” Mr Owoeye highlights.
He adds his Global Online MBA studies have not only helped facilitate his transition to a foreign workplace, but also opened up a wealth of opportunities for him in his new life in the US.
The opportunities are endless going into the future and with respect to relationships within my team, with customers, and even in everyday interactions.
“Overall, I have become a more versatile engineer than I was starting out without the MBA. My conversations and understanding are enriched, and my opportunities have become endless. I am now more aware of how my everyday activities are relevant to both my matrix organisation and to my customers’ divisional environment. While nothing is concluded yet, especially as I just moved into this new role, there are new technology leadership roles I can see myself filling now which I couldn’t have filled this time last year.”
Olawale Owoeye is currently studying the Global Online MBA programme offered through Imperial College Business School. Find out more about the Global Online MBA programme.