Continuing our mobility blog series, we recently spoke to Johannes Christensen, an Associate Strategy Director at Interbrand. Johannes, an employee from Interbrand Zürich’s office, transferred six months ago to Interbrand’s New York office.
Why did you want to take part in an office transfer opportunity at Interbrand?
Throughout my youth and during my studies, I lived in several different countries. With each of these experiences, I learned a vast number of things—I learned about different countries, cultures, and people—and it irrevocably changed my view on many aspects of life.
After living in Switzerland for a few years, I knew I wanted to go somewhere else again and learn about a place I didn’t know that well. Having the opportunity to go somewhere else with Interbrand sounded perfect.
Why New York?
I always knew that I wanted to go to New York one day, and I was confident that the opportunity would arise. The main reason I chose to transfer to New York was the thought that, no matter where I go or what I do in the future, improving my English would be highly beneficial.
I was also looking for opportunities to learn and grow professionally. I hoped that getting to work in one of Interbrand’s larger offices would provide me with an environment to do exactly that.
What is the biggest difference that you have noticed between the Zürich and New York offices (other than size)?
One of the key differences is that, due to the size of the New York office, the roles and responsibilities of the various teams here are different than those of a small office. In a smaller office, for example, you are more likely to work on many different capabilities in a short period of time. However, in a larger office, you are more likely to have experts for many of the capabilities that Interbrand offers. This allows individuals to build in-depth areas of expertise, but, at times, it can also limit the range of opportunities that people have to “learn by doing.” I think there are pros and cons to both sizes.
How have you found acclimating to the culture in New York?
I believe that after finding a place to live, sorting through all of the bureaucratic details, and finding some initial routine in your daily life, you actually get to start acclimating to the new culture. It is only then that you start noticing the small, but often very interesting and important, differences—and can start to really learn and adapt to the new culture. After being here now for six months, I feel I am still observing and learning every day.
What types of things have you seen or done outside the office?
I really enjoy walking around the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan—exploring the little shops, exhibitions and cafes. Together, with friends and family who have already visited, my wife and I have done the usual sightseeing, seen some off-Broadway shows, attended sporting events (baseball, basketball and soccer games), etc. We also attended a lecture in the “Deutsches Haus” of New York University (NYU) and, just recently, we ran the first Urban Mudder, a 5 mile city-based obstacle course, here in New York City! I also play on a team of Interbranders in a soccer league down at the Brooklyn piers every Sunday. There is no shortage of new things to see and do here.