Posted on 11/29/2017 via BSH Home Appliances Group

George Smith-Koomson talks about his journey to Europe, Turkey and South Africa

The initiative “Afrika kommt!” ("Africa is coming!") is a training program for young managers. George Smith-Koomson talks about taking part in the program.

George Smith-Koomson says goodbye to his colleagues at BSH headquarters. After almost five months in Munich, he will fly to Istanbul the following day and spend another three months there, before going on to Johannesburg. George took part in the initiative ”Afrika kommt!” and worked for BSH in these countries.

In this interview, he talks about his time in Munich, Istanbul and South Africa and his subsequent experience at BSH.

What was your personal background before applying for “Afrika kommt!”?
“Professionally, I have a background in business development, sales and strategy. I have more than six years work experience that spans across diverse industries from consumer technology (electronics and home appliances), strategic market research and oil and gas. Prior to joining BSH through “Afrika kommt! I worked at different companies all across Africa and North America.”

Can you explain the benefits of the initiative?
“German businesses, including several leading companies like BSH, are taking a stance in Africa, with the “Afrika kommt!” initiative – which aims at highly qualified young managers from Sub-Saharan Africa with four to seven years of hands-on work experience, strong leadership qualities and a very high level of commitment and dedication. The initiative is a two-way commitment in which emerging leaders from Africa are offered an opportunity to experience and gain insights into German operations and management methods for eight months. At the same time, these German enterprises leverage the experience, network, energy, and strategic and analytical skills of the participants in roles that produce immediate results and build long-term relationships.”

Why did you apply for “Afrika kommt!”?
“I joined “Afrika kommt!” because I wanted to expand my career experience outside of Africa and the US as an additional practical experience that will help me gain a broader understanding of the global marketplace. Furthermore I wanted to build my leadership and managerial mindset, confidence, professional network and cross-sector commercial skills internationally and also to share my knowledge and expertise of Africa with leading German companies to help shape public opinion and counter stereotypes of Africa in Germany. Africa has a fantastic future ahead of it and I am here to be a bridge between Africa and Germany. A very personal reason was also to experience German culture and learn the language. Ultimately, I picked up the German language but at the beginning it wasn’t the easiest thing…it was quite challenging!”

What was the most difficult part?
“I would say the most difficult part has to be re-adjustment every single time I do a rotation. Just when I get comfortable in one place I have to move to another country. At the same time, I like it because I have gathered a lot of experiences and they are all positive experiences. Also, being away from my family can be quite difficult sometimes.”

What did you enjoy most during your journey?
“Throughout my stay at BSH, what I have enjoyed the most is the multicultural environment at the company as well as the travelling part. Be it in Munich, Istanbul or Johannesburg, I have met and formed relationships with people from different backgrounds and nationalities. I have learned a lot about how to lead, communicate and deal with a team of diverse cultures.
The travelling part is fun because I got to work and also see different places and attractions at the same time. Talk about the cafés and museums in Europe…the culture and thrill of living in Istanbul and the safaris in South Africa have all been exciting experiences. Also, I have had an unparalleled opportunity to understand the BSH business 360 degrees at the global level, regional level and market level.”

After completing the program, George Smith-Koomson is still working for BSH in Africa.

Click here for more information on ”Afrika kommt!”.

  • Mohamed Elgeldawy 11/29/2017

    All the best for you George pursuing your career goals. I would be glad to see such an initiative in Egypt as the company has many plans for our region.

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