Stay Abroad During Training to Become a Bachelor of Business Administration
In August 2018, vocational trainee Sebastian B. spent four weeks at our branch in Indonesia to conduct a market analysis there and establish customer contacts. Working on location with colleagues allowed him to further strengthen his intercultural skills. The international placement is an integral part of the training to become bachelor of business administration at K.D. Feddersen Ueberseegesellschaft mbH and takes place during summer holidays in the second year of the programme.
In his field report, Sebastian describes his daily work routine, his project and what he will be able to apply to his further professional life.
International Experience During Vocational Training
I began my trip to Indonesia on 20 July 2018. After a stopover in Dubai, I landed in Jakarta the following day. On the baggage conveyor at the airport was a sign that read “LAST BAGGAGE”, but my suitcase was not yet in sight. Luckily, I found it sitting off to the side, along with a few other suitcases. From my house in Hamburg Langenhorn to the hotel in Jakarta Kemang, the trip took almost 24 hours in total. Despite being heavily jet-lagged, I was very happy to meet my local colleagues. I received a very warm welcome and was quickly integrated into the team.
In my training as bachelor of business administration, I have gained extensive knowledge of the industry in the Furniture Components and Technical Products department. I was able to build on these skills in Indonesia, and my main job consisted of contacting interior designers, furniture manufacturers, property owners and developers of large projects in order to present our products to them. I began the process by cold-calling potential customers. After some minor initial difficulties due to language barriers, which I was subsequently able to overcome by learning some simple phrases in Indonesian, I scheduled my first few meetings.
I gave presentations, showed our design portfolio and provided information about the technical details. I also assisted our local distributors in marketing our products. For example, I participated in a promotional video for our HPL (High Pressure Laminate) distributor and talked a bit about this product. Some of the customer meetings I managed by myself, others together with my colleagues and still others with the local distributors. I also performed an analysis of the potential of the Indonesian market. All in all, I considered it a very successful project.
Impressions of My Stay
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Daily Life and Work Environment in Indonesia
At our office, I received a very friendly welcome from my local colleagues. It was a great team, and I had a lot of fun working together with them. In general, the people in Indonesia are extremely friendly. For some, it is quite an experience to see a European. At Monumen Nasional in Jakarta, for example, around 14 people wanted to have their pictures taken with me. Such a situation was completely new for me but also quite amusing.
In the work environment in Indonesia, it is of utmost importance to build a relationship before doing business. One cultural difference to Germany, for example, is that business cards should be presented using both hands. And you should make sure to take turns with your business partner when exchanging cards because you do not want to position yourself above or below your business partner.
Chaotic Traffic in Jakarta
Traffic plays a major role and affects the lives of the people in Jakarta tremendously. To give an example, one day it took my colleague 4 hours to travel 7 kilometres, an average speed of not even 2 km/h. For this reason, I always had to leave extremely early for meetings and could only visit two to three potential customers per day. Getting around on foot was also difficult, however, since the footpaths were either non-existent or in extremely poor condition, and if you are not careful, you could end up in holes 1.5 metres deep that hold some sort of sewer system.
What Have I Learned for My Professional Future?
The trip to Indonesia gave me many new experiences. For example, I was able to improve the way I appear to customers and work in an international team for the first time. I learned to recognise cultural differences and improved our relationships with customers. For my training, I will be able to apply my enhanced product knowledge and the ability to acquire new customers independently. I was also able to improve my organisational skills, since it was not always easy to juggle all of my customer meetings. It was also a new, positive experience for me to analyse market conditions and to establish new contacts.
Are you interested in becoming a bachelor of business administration? Mr Eric Paschke (+49 40 235 07 433) and Ms Annika Nuñez (+49 40 23507 - 152) will be happy to answer your questions.