Tim Buyl is a 26 years old Belgian recently graduated young talent who has decided to challenge himself and jump into a professional experience abroad. Nowadays, he is doing his Global Talent at Contrinex, as a Sales and Marketing administrator.
Check out what the experiences and learnings Tim shared with us on a recent interview and understand better what is it like to work with a Global Talent!
Tell us a bit more about yourself and your internship here in Switzerland.
My name is Tim Buyl, 26 years old and I live in Belgium (30 km from Brussels in a small village called Geraardsbergen). I first studied a Bachelor in SME-management in Gent and afterwards I did my master in Business Administration in Brussels.
My function at the company Contrinex (headquarter in Fribourg, Switzerland) is Sales & Marketing administrator. The first 4 months I replaced somebody within the company due to a maternity leave and I was responsible for the prices. So I had to define the prices to the subsidiaries (because it’s an international company with 14 subsidiaries worldwide) and calculate the margins. It was a high responsibility because I (of course after the approval of the CSO) could decide which price the country managers could maintain to their customers. Next to that, I had other projects regarding prices and I had to do different jobs for the international key account manager and products managers. Now my function has changed to sales intern and I work on a project for the international key account manager. The project is more focused on Salesforce and it’s about defining a structure within the software for important customers of Contrinex.
What motivated you to do your internship abroad?
It felt like every year was the same for me at my home country. Every year I met the same people, went to the same parties and did the same student job. It was like every year was repeating itself and I knew from before what would happen at a certain moment. I had a feeling there were no more challenges. Besides, I really wanted to become more independent, learn other languages and meet new people. One day a guest speaker at my university, a CEO of a big company, really convinced me to go abroad. In his presentation he told us: ‘once you have the opportunity to go abroad, just do it. You will definitely learn a lot and the economics of Belgium is just a small percentage compared to the whole world.’ So all those reasons made me think about going abroad and of course it’s a good step in the right direction for your further career. Every business will see it as a positive point in your life, because it’s a proof that you are not scared to face challenges and that you are ambitious.
What do you think that were your main challenges and learnings so far in this experience? How did this experience change you?
The first, and probably the most difficult one, was to say goodbye to my family and friends. I had never gone abroad for such a long time and when I was driving to Switzerland I was thinking: ‘What am I doing?’. I guess the first days in a foreign country are the most difficult ones for everybody, but after one week or something you get used to it and you see the advantages of the experience.
As I told you, with this internship I wanted to improve my languages. So at the beginning it was harder to communicate because my English is not perfect and I recognized my French is really bad. Now I can say I really improved both languages, especially my English because it’s the daily spoken language within the company and also within AIESEC Switzerland.
Another challenge was meeting new people. It was difficult because as I mentioned before my French was not so good and I have to admit that Swiss people are very friendly, but they are reserved people, only when they drink something they are more open. But from the very beginning AIESEC Fribourg invited me to different events, drinks and meetings. So that was a good chance to feel comfortable in a different country and meet new people. I had the same challenge within the company, but the people are very friendly and kind. So I really like the corporate culture within this company and I had no problems at all to ask questions and talk to them.
Because of the help of AIESEC and the friendly colleagues, it was not difficult at all to integrate well in Switzerland. After a few weeks I was already used to the Swiss way of living and especially the beauty of the country also helped me to feel home. This experience changed me a lot. Within the company I learned many things, like computer skills, presentation competences, teamwork, etc. and of course I improved my languages. Besides my professional improvements, I also developed myself in many different aspects, like independency, organisational skills and communication. I also had the time to think about myself and know better what I really want in my further career and life in general. Actually I improved all aspects which were my motivations to start this internship.
What is the work environment like and how different is it from your home country?
I think there are not so many cultural differences compared to Belgium and the work environment is quite the same, but what I really noticed is that Swiss people work a lot. In Belgium normal working hours are around 7 h 30 min a day and here in Switzerland it’s minimum 9 hours. When I arrive at the company at 8 am most people are already at work and when I leave around 6 pm the same people are still working. They have a lot to do and work the whole day. You can also find it in Belgium but not every day or so often. But of course the salaries are much higher in Switzerland, so it maybe could be an explanation for the long working hours.
Switzerland is also famous for their quality of products. Within the company you see they invest a lot in R&D and quality control. Contrinex will always place the customer central, so the long working hours are in line with the perfect service they guarantee.
Switzerland is, in my opinion, a perfect country to live in. You feel safe in this country and all the people are kind and friendly.
Finally, I want to conclude this interview with a special thanks to Contrinex and AIESEC Switzerland for all the opportunities I received from them and they made my 6 months experience in Switzerland one I will never forget. I definitely recommend it to everybody and especially to do an internship abroad via AIESEC. You will develop yourself both in a professional and personal way and it will take you to a higher level in your life.
How did AIESEC help you in the experience?
One day I found the very interested internship opportunity in Switzerland and contacted people of AIESEC Fribourg. After an introduction interview with AIESEC Fribourg they accepted me and they gave me some advice for the interview with the company. After that it went really fast, and I received the good news that I was accepted to do the internship.
AIESEC in Belgium provided me the presentation and helped me in the process to apply for the internship. They helped me with the preparation of my departure and some administrative tasks. Once I started to do my internship they contacted me and asked if everything is alright on a sporadic occasion.
I really want to thank AIESEC Switzerland, and especially AIESEC Fribourg, for all the help and advice they provided me during my internship and all the invitations they sent to me. From the very first day people of AIESEC helped me to integrate well in Switzerland and invited me to meetings, parties, drinks, lead sessions, etc. I visited cities, learned a lot and met new people all due to the friendly and kind people within AIESEC. They organised lead sessions where you learn to develop your leadership skills and I had to give a presentation about my experience for potential new members. A testimonial, which I also made for AIESEC, is the following: “AIESEC Switzerland helped me to find an interesting internship, integrate well in a strange country and met new people. It encouraged my personal development, independency, languages and leadership skills. I will never forget this experience and I want to thank all the people of AIESEC Switzerland for the giving opportunities. This organisation delivers excellent work and motivates people all around the world to improve themselves and to boost their further careers”. It definitely describes this organisation and I recommend everybody to do it via AIESEC. They did a lot for me to succeed in this experience.
Awesome, right? Interested in working with a Global Talent in your company?
Register at http://bit.ly/AIESEC_4_Companies and be a part of our Leadership Development network!