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Q&A on working across cultures with Anupama Banwasi : “The number of ways I can connect to the world has increased”
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In 2008, Anupama Banwasi, senior consultant at Michael Page India decided to take up the challenge of working overseas and has never looked back since.
What prompted your move into recruiting?
I joined Michael Page after graduating from business school. The interviewers from Michael Page seemed sharper, smarter, and more charismatic and ambitious than those from the other companies I was interviewing with at that time. I knew I would be sufficiently challenged in this environment.
Why did you decide to move back to India after two years in Sweden?
I was working for another company in Sweden from 2008 to 2010. At that time, I could choose to work at one of three cities: Copenhagen (Denmark), Gothenburg(Sweden) or Hong Kong. The small town of Gothenburg seemed to be the exact opposite of the crazy city of Mumbai. It seemed like the experience of a lifetime – I was either going to love it or hate it. And I decided to take up the challenge. I had to move back because my contract ended, though I really wish I could have stayed there longer.
What were some learning points you gleaned from your overseas experience?
I learnt a few good practices from the Swedes. For example, they have a great respect for time and are generally never late. Meetings start on the dot and end on time. Their time-keeping skills still amaze me.
They also have a strong respect for personal space and you could potentially offend people if you ask too many personal questions. However, they are an extremely friendly bunch. I learnt how to be tactful during conversations and respect boundaries from them.
How has the homecoming experience been like so far?
It has been five years since I moved back, so now I am all settled in. However, it was a little difficult to get back into the craziness of Mumbai city life.
What do you enjoy most about returning home after a stint overseas?
It has certainly widened my understanding of how other cultures operate. Every time I hear or read about Sweden, or if I happen to meet Swedish clients, I feel I am able to connect better with them. In other words, being exposed to another culture increases the numbers of ways in which you can connect people around the world.