Embracing the local culture - not until then can we do real business

Seven months ago when I first found my way into the office in Järfälla. I was assigned an office together with my colleague Maria, two desks, two whiteboards and a large photo. The photo, illustrating London skyline, hanged just between our desks so that each time we entered, it faced us. The photo had a text printed to it – Anticipate Tomorrow.

At first, I didn’t think much about it, but after several trips back and forth from London, it started to make sense. Because as a graduate at Saab one never knows what awaits, one can only try to anticipate tomorrow. 12.000 km later, way further than London I approached the Changi airport in Singapore, exhausted but full of expectations. I had arrived to a city with many names; the city of the future, the city of gardens, the city of Lions! Well, for now, I am happy to call it my city.

My name is Henrik Jönsson, I am an electrical engineer from the very south of Sweden, currently employed as a project manager at Combat Systems and C4I Solutions (C2S). As part of my Graduate year, I am doing a rotation to the Singapore office where I will spend the next couple of months developing market strategies and support the local business. The office is located right in the city center with beautiful view both over the harbor as well as over the central business district. There is a lot of activates going on here at ones; internal meetings, costumer meetings, colleagues traveling through, meetings at the embassy and in the middle of this me as a graduate from Sweden. Recently this office got company by the Market Area office for Asia Pacific, which just moved to Singapore from Bangkok, this increased the total head count in Singapore to around 20. It is on rotations like this you really get a sense of the scale of the company. The old buildings in Järfälla where we can create anything and the walls are telling you stories of the company’s history, and the new offices here in Singapore, where you feel you are standing at the forefront of a constantly growing company.

Being new in this city, I’ll do my very best to engage in the local business activities, embrace the local culture and adapt to their lifestyle, not until then can we do real business.

One may wonder, why Singapore? Well, the main reason for me to choose Singapore for my rotation is the fact that Saab is growing, and in order to do so well, I believe we need a strong local presence. One of the places in the world we managed to obtain this is here, and I want to be part of the business evolving here. Meanwhile, I will keep thinking of that picture back home and try to anticipate tomorrow.