Changing industries and countries.
What is it like to change countries and start a new work life abroad? Guanlan Liu has been working at Semcon for more than 10 years. From being a project manager in the telecom industry in China he is now project manager in the automotive industry – in Sweden. This is his story.
Starting as a technical communicator in Shanghai, I worked in the telecom industry, developing customer product information. In the middle of 2017, I moved to Gothenburg Sweden and became a project manager for spare parts engineering in the automotive industry.
After working at Semcon for several years, I started to like the Swedish culture more and more. This made me passionate about coming here in person. In addition, Semcon has very strong business and competence in the automotive industry, an industry I had wanted to enter some years before moving from China to Sweden. I got the chance through an assignment supporting an automotive OEM customer in the area of spare parts engineering as a local project coordinator in China. This made it smooth going from China to Sweden and from the telecom industry into the automotive industry.
A huge change and challenge
The Swedish culture as “open, inclusive and equal” and the Semcon culture of putting people first encouraged me to initiate the discussion about my movement with different colleagues. They all gave me valuable advice – both concerning my professional development and concerning the move. After all, the move from China to Sweden would be a huge change and challenge in my life. With their help, my family and I were better prepared.
Even though I am happy about the move to Sweden, there are challenges as well. The biggest one is the Swedish language. Although almost everyone in Sweden can speak English, it would still be good to know Swedish, so that I can feel more included in society. Furthermore, with good Swedish language capability, I would have more opportunities for new assignments since our customers sometimes require this.
Project management in different industries
Currently I am working as a project manager in the automotive aftermarket area. From the project management perspective, it should be the same no matter if you’re in the telecom industry or in the automotive industry. However, I am facing the challenge that many customers require an automotive education background or working experience. However, the bright side of this is that it pushes me to learn new things. I also got the support from my colleagues and especially my immediate manager. This journey has so far been good for both my professional and personal development.
Do you also want to change location or industry? Here are my top three advice:
- Be prepared, especially psychologically, that you will meet many unexpected difficulties in the beginning
- Get out of your comfort zone to learn and practice hard, so that you can grow quickly
- Enjoy all differences, which make us more innovative and better developed.
Name: Guanlan Liu
Title: Project manager within Product Information
Education: MBA, MSc in Data Communication Systems, BSc in Measure Control and Instruments Technologies
Worked at Semcon since: 2008
I have the most fun at work when I…: Successfully engage customers in my proposed solutions and deliver projects with great customer satisfaction
About Semcon Stories
A series of articles for everyone wondering what it’s like to work at Semcon. With Semcon Stories our employees get to highlight certain exciting aspects of their jobs.