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Q&A on working across cultures with Anupama Banwasi: "The number of ways I can connect to the world has increased"
In 2008, Anupama Banwasi, senior consultant at Michael Page India decided to take up the challenge of working overseas and has never looked back since.
What prompted your move into recruiting?
I joined Michael Page after graduating from business school. The interviewers from Michael Page seemed sharper, smarter, and more charismatic and ambitious than those from the other companies I was interviewing with at that time. I knew I would be sufficiently challenged in this environment.
Why did you decide to move back to India after two years in Sweden?
I was working for another company in Sweden from 2008 to 2010. At that time, I could choose to work at one of three cities: Copenhagen (Denmark), Gothenburg(Sweden) or Hong Kong. The small town of Gothenburg seemed to be the exact opposite of the crazy city of Mumbai. It seemed like the experience of a lifetime – I was either going to love it or hate it. And I decided to take up the challenge. I had to move back because my contract ended, though I really wish I could have stayed there longer.
What were some learning points you gleaned from your overseas experience?
I learnt a few good practices from the Swedes. For example, they have a great respect for time and are generally never late. Meetings start on the dot and end on time. Their time-keeping skills still amaze me.
They also have a strong respect for personal space and you could potentially offend people if you ask too many personal questions. However, they are an extremely friendly bunch. I learnt how to be tactful during conversations and respect boundaries from them.
How has the homecoming experience been like so far?
It has been five years since I moved back, so now I am all settled in. However, it was a little difficult to get back into the craziness of Mumbai city life.
What do you enjoy most about returning home after a stint overseas?
It has certainly widened my understanding of how other cultures operate. Every time I hear or read about Sweden, or if I happen to meet Swedish clients, I feel I am able to connect better with them. In other words, being exposed to another culture increases the numbers of ways in which you can connect people around the world.
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