christian lorentzen '07
Major: Russian, Management Concentration
Career field: International Business
Job title: Client Relations Manager
Employer: Moscow, Russia
In two to three sentences, please describe what your current position entails.
Management and Customer Service - Ensuring that our clients receive quality services delivered on time; coordinating information and keeping staff on task in English and Russian language. Marketing and Sales - attending networking events, finding new markets and client segments and analyzing work in current markets; product and advertising design and implementation.
What has been your career path to date?
I studied Russian and business because I knew I wanted to be involved with international business. I worked at summer camps in Russia after my junior and senior year (www.ccusa.com), then found my current job through a study abroad/internship placement program (www.sras.com)
How did your interest in working internationally develop?
Knowledge that the global economics is growing and the want of real experience to be competitive in the future. More importantly I wanted to see and experience more of our world and live in a different culture.
Which parts of your St. Olaf education best prepared you to work internationally?
Language study. This is a huge advantage. If you know the language native to your country of interest, you will be more attractive than competing students. However as English is the business language, this is not a necessity for American students; we are valued for our native tongue. I also still draw upon the information garnered in St Olaf's business and finance programs.
What is the most difficult or challenging aspect about working internationally?
Different work cultures. Americans and westerners are very ambitious and self-initiative. Workers of many other cultures don't share those qualities, so one must constantly play middle manager, which takes focus away from one's primary tasks. However this ability to middle manage while thinking about one's own work and awareness of deadlines makes Westerners very attractive.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working internationally?
In continuation of above. Because westerners are perceived (for just reason) as more motivated and responsible, we are immediately entrusted with more responsibility. You are able to do much more as "entry-level" work abroad, than if you were to enter directly into the American work force. Also because of this immediate advantage, you can develop faster and have more experience when/if you decide to go back to America or Europe.
What does being a “global citizen” mean to you?
Being a global citizen means not only traveling, studying or working abroad for the sake of doing the traveling, studying or working. When you are in that different country you are actively interested and willing to look for cultural differences, think about them and in some cases change your own living habits as a result. Above all the process above should not be forced. A global citizen's personality should be open to differences. He or she should also be willing to share his or her worldly observations with others. It comes down to the fact that a global citizen should feel at home anywhere in the world.
What advice would you offer current students interested in working internationally?
If you have read this far, it means that you are interested, that in itself should tell you about yourself and what you want. In the world of growing international trade international work experience is very valuable. Also there are only two times in your life to travel and do something interesting and different; before you have a family and a serious career that keep you in one place, or after.
Please include anything else you would like to share about your experiences.
Make sure you get a job or internship where you have work that is interesting and keeps you motivated to do more. As I said above, if you are an American working abroad this should be fairly easy to find.