One part of the Saab Graduate Leadership Programme is to do an assignment abroad with the aim to learn how market area functions and to build up awareness about cultural differences around the world. My international assignment was in southern Africa, a truly beautiful part of the world with rich wildlife and many amazing places to visit.
For me personally, it was a challenge to fit in everything I wanted to learn, do and see when visiting South Africa - a country where Saab does both production and marketing. During my stay in South Africa I focused on understanding how Saab does business in Africa and how a Saab-site like Saab Grintek Defence functions outside of Sweden.
I got the opportunity to visit the air force base in Makhado up in the northern parts of South Africa - to see and understand how Gripen users operate. This is a visit that I will remember for the rest of my life! To understand Gripen-deals further, I also visited Botswana where the early stages of a Gripen campaign are ongoing. These two visits taught me about the lifecycle of a Gripen-deal, from the earliest stages to full operation.
In connection to my individual rotation in South Africa, the Graduate group also had one of our team weeks in South Africa where we learned about operations and different sites within the country and the way of doing business in Africa. Of course, when visiting Africa you get to experience some native culture. On one of the evenings after work we had a class on how to play drums. The evening started with a drumming lesson and ended with a 14-course dinner with food from all over Africa. Such a great evening!
The wide variety of cultures, religions and languages makes South Africa a truly interesting place to visit and work in. I really look forward to going back for another visit in the future!