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Simon Wessberg, Associate, Dubai, UAE

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LOCATION:

Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING AT BUSINESS SWEDEN?

I started August 15th 2016.

WHAT DOES A DAY WORKING AS AN ASSOCIATE LOOK LIKE?

Wow, what a question. Every new day is different from the last. One day I could be working with mapping and visualizing the utilities market in the country, gathering data both from desktop research by my computer, or on the phone talking to people trying to gather the right information from the right people. The next day I might be representing Sweden and Swedish industry in a Swedish pavilion which we frequently organise at conventions and trade expos. Such a day would have me spend limited time at the office, but instead out in the field, meeting and networking with important stakeholders from various industries in the country. There are countless examples that I could give, but the summary is that no day is like the other.

DESCRIBE A PROJECT YOU ARE INVOLVED IN AND YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES 

I am currently working on a lead generation project for a company that is looking to enter the market. Lead generation essentially means identifying, assessing and evaluating potential sales leads. The client will be visiting Dubai in a few weeks, and wants to meet with the most interesting leads, so it is up to me to find and successfully book meetings with potential clients and/or partners. This is a rather small project where I am one of the few people working on it, so my responsibilities cover basic background research on the legal structure for the specific products that the client wants to sell here, as well as the whole process of finding, and evaluating potential sales leads. But the job does not end there, it is also up to me to contact potential leads, and represent my client in the communication with them, in order to hopefully book meetings. In order to do this, I need to receive marketing material from the client, and dedicate time in understanding the client and the products. So really, my tasks cover everything from basic background research, to finding, contacting and communicating with potential sales leads, as well as regular communication with the client themselves. Even though the project is rather small, I have several different responsibilities.

WHAT IS THE LARGEST DIFFERENCE IN BUSINESS CULTURE BETWEEN DUBAI AND SWEDEN?

The largest difference is probably that you always, always have to confirm your prescheduled meetings. Speaking from own experience, just because a meeting has been booked, it does not always mean it will occur. In Dubai you have to confirm at least a day before. The business climate in Dubai, like the city itself, is ever changing and it is important to confirm meetings to ensure that they will happen.

Another large difference is the extremely international business climate. On any given day I might interact with people from several different countries and continents. While English is the dominant language and works in most situations, there is a larger language barrier than in Sweden and you have to be aware of this when dealing with companies and other actors in society.

A third thing that is different is the fact that titles are very important in the UAE, which is a major difference from Sweden. It is very common to come across people with titles such as “Doctor”, “Engineer”, and “Her Excellency”, and it is very important to respect and acknowledge these titles.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BEST PART ABOUT WORKING AT BUSINESS SWEDEN?

The best part about working for Business Sweden is that I get to be a key part of a relatively small team. Already from my first day at the office, I was given a large sense of freedom and responsibility. If you have an idea, or find a certain project that interests you, it is even encouraged to pursue such initiatives. This leads to every new day being varied and challenging, and it is extremely rewarding.