Sabine van Wylick talks about working for Michael Bailey Associates on both sides of the world
As an international consultancy, we are constantly working hard to ensure that we create a positive and highly supportive working environment for our staff. We invest in training and development, encourage our people to strive for success and help them to progress and achieve their career goals.
With ten offices across the world, we are also sometimes able to help our people change their lives completely.
This is the story of Sabine van Wylick, one of our Sydney based consultants, who started her Michael Bailey Associates career on the other side of the world in Amsterdam.
Sabine worked for Michael Bailey Associates as an Account Manager between 2010 and 2012 for the Utrecht region, based in our Amsterdam office. She decided to give it all up and go travelling the world, and ended up living and working in Sydney, Australia. After a stint working for a recruitment company in Sydney, she found her way back to Michael Bailey Associates and has been working in our Sydney office for around five months (July 2014).
We asked her about the differences and similarities of life at Michael Bailey Associates in Amsterdam and Sydney:
What are the main differences in the market and the job you do?
From building long lasting relationships with our clients to having team meetings every Monday morning, our work processes are effectively the same in both locations. The values of the organization are consistent across the globe, and the way we do our jobs on a daily basis is certainly pretty similar.
However, the structure is very different. In Amsterdam, the set up is very Account Management driven; I knew my clients inside out, and worked across a broad range of assignments for the same client. In Australia we work in verticals. I work for a larger range of clients, but focusing on the Business Analysis and Change Management vertical, as this is where my expertise lies.
The Australian employment landscape is extremely competitive at the moment. There is a lot of investment going into technology projects, and this is fuelling an increase in the demand for talented IT people. This creates a different set of challenges than in the Netherlands, which is more client driven. Here in Australia, the market moves very fast, and you need to move at the same pace, or risk getting left behind.
How does the business culture differ in Australia versus Holland?
It’s much easier to book a meeting with a client in Australia! When I was based in Amsterdam with a Utrecht client base, I used to travel to a client’s offices for a pre-arranged appointment. In Sydney, the Australian business culture makes it really easy to arrange a quick catch up with a manager at a local café at short notice.
The setting may be different, but building relationships with clients is just the same; you have to really get to know the personality of the business and the individual clients and teams involved in order to have a positive impact. And although the café culture may seem more informal, managers in Australia are just as professional as in Holland. In both cultures, people are happy to discuss difficult subjects and are pretty direct, so that’s something I was already used to.
What about your office environment and team?
The Sydney office is a lot smaller, with around eleven of us, whereas in the Amsterdam office there were over thirty five consultants each covering different provinces. Here, we all sit much closer together, which creates more interaction between our consultants. The working environment in Sydney is very energetic and motivating, and there is a lot of emphasis on sharing successes, especially when someone completes an assignment.
The Amsterdam office is located in a lovely part of the city, and was a great place to be, but it doesn’t compare to the view here in Sydney, where I’m on the 7th floor looking out at the harbour and Sydney Opera House!
How does the work/life balance compare?
Although people perceive Australian’s to be more laid back, they are a very hard working nation, just like the Dutch. However, outside of work, life for me personally couldn’t be more different. I love the outdoor lifestyle on offer in Australia – my commute is a scenic ferry trip across the Sydney harbour for a start! I enjoy the warm weather, which makes the days seem longer, and I take full advantage of it; going for a surf or a swim before work is now part of my daily routine, and more or less the whole of Sydney goes for a lunchtime run or stroll in the park.
I live in a beautiful part of the world where I have a challenging and rewarding career, as well as the opportunity to participate in all the outdoor activities that I love.
How do you feel you have benefited from working in both locations?
The experience I gained in Holland definitely helped me to settle in at the Sydney office much more quickly, whilst also giving me a different perspective to the rest of the team. Essentially, the skills and attributes necessary to be successful in Holland are exactly the same as they are in Australia, but the change in structure has enabled me to come up with new solutions for clients.
Moving has definitely broadened my horizons and my general understanding of the business world. The culture is different, as is the market, but the big winner for me has been the experience of living and working on the other side of the world. I’d definitely recommend spending time working somewhere else as part of a long term career progression plan.