career conversations – a management consultant’s journey from south africa to the uae

One of the most linear ways to land a role in a different country, is to join a firm that has multiple offices in other countries! My guest this week talks about how he strategically placed himself in a firm that would open up the prospects of him moving abroad one day. Before we dive into the lessons we can take from his experience, listen to the conversation below.

Press play to listen to the conversation

What you study doesn’t always have bearing on your next career journey

Many of us have been here before. You’re a year or two into your first degree and then it dawns on you, this isn’t it. But depending on how much time (and money) you have at your disposal, you might not be able to switch to another program. Your degree isn’t a life sentence! You can re-invent yourself and pivot to another career path post-graduation. Some of the ways we spoke about with Russel is doing internships, and making use of campus recruitment talks in different industries. You’ll never know what else you can pursue post graduation unless you actively expose yourself to something different. If you’re already a few years into your career, you should look out for the next conversation, where I speak to someone that “reinvented” himself, and pivoted into something completely different.

Use internships and campus recruitment to explore alternative career options

Internships are a great way to get into the firm or industry you want, and see what the job you desire entails. Now, I know that there are many stories of the interns being sent to get coffee and buy lunch. But don’t worry about that. Use the time there to ask questions to people doing the work you want to do. Try and network with decision makers and be as helpful as you can. Just ensure that people remember your name, and leave a good impression.

Be intentional about networking with decision-makers

If you get this right, this could be all you need to move up or into an overseas role at your firm. The people that make decisions need to know who you are. And they need to speak for you. If you are a top performer but don’t speak to decision makers about your career intentions, guess what? You will struggle with getting certain roles. You need to go for the after-work drinks, dinners, or whatever it is that they will be a part of. People won’t get to know you personally otherwise.

Take advantage of the international network when you move abroad

The main benefit of moving abroad is the network of people you meet. Be sure to grow an international network, and learn as much as you can about other cultures. That network could serve as the gateway into the next opportunity, so nurture it.

Have you been thinking about which firms you would like to work for, and how to get it? What are some of the things you are currently working on to get in?