“It is incredibly enlightening to live and work in another country with other customs and cultures. Many qualities, such as patience and flexibility, have to grow and develop every day.” So summarises Niklas Eliasson, Life division, who for more than a year now is serving as a link between SEB's Swedish operations and the bank’s IT development team in Kuala Lumpur.
Niklas Eliasson works with business development, and in early 2018 he landed the assignment to move to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to contribute his business knowledge and serve as a link between the Swedish operations and the IT development team in Kuala Lumpur. His initial assignment was to assist the development team, but this has expanded and today he helps several other teams that work with digitalisation and IT development.
What do you feel it has given you professionally and personally?
"I have been here a little longer than a year and I have learned an incredible lot in IT development and what is required to work according to agile principles – especially between two time zones.
"I also have the benefit of working at an office with a distinctly inclusive culture, with people from 20 different nationalities, so I am learning an incredible lot about other cultures both at work and in my private life. Many parts of SEB are represented here, so I have gained much broader and more diversified insight into the operations that I was previously not in contact with when I worked at home in Sweden.
"It is incredibly enlightening to live and work in another country with other customers and cultures. Many qualities, such as patience and flexibility, have to grow and develop every day. On the private side, one of the benefits is that I have gained new friends and acquaintances from many different cultures and parts of the world, who will always remain even after I leave Kuala Lumpur."
Would you recommend taking an international assignment if the opportunity were to arise?
"Absolutely! If you have a family situation that allows it and the assignment feels right, then it's a unique opportunity to experience another part of the world. You will gain experiences that are valuable later in life. Of course, there's a price to pay in the distance and time away from family and friends, depending on where you live, but I am very happy I said yes to my foreign assignment."