When I tell people I want undertake my global career’s next steps in Munich, I usually get an enigmatic response. Often something like, “Oh, that’s interesting.”
I think people expect me to say I am headed to New York City or San Francisco, where digital opportunities are plenteous. Paris would probably not be surprising, since I speak the language. Megalopolis London could also make sense. Perhaps even digitally vibrant & über cool Berlin. But Munich?
How We Met
In early 2017, as an IBM leader, my career took me from my home base in the suburbs of Washington, DC, to the center of my then client, BMW’s universe. I expected this inaugural journey would be my one and only business trip across the Atlantic. When I left IBM later that year, I had visited the Bavarian capital half a dozen times. A love affair had begun.
Even though I already had six years of German automotive experience, it was interacting with my German colleagues and clients on an almost daily basis that truly heightened my curiosity for the country. Between phone calls across time zones and those extended visits to IBM’s Watson IoT Centre, I began learning about this culture that intrigued me both in business and personally.
In early 2018, I even flirted with Munich as a tourist to alter the closeness of our relationship.
Global Digital Women
I became aware of the Global Digital Women organization that summer as I was beginning to consider going back to my corporate career after taking some time off to travel and explore my creativity.
Through its Digital Female Leadership Award program, I found a network of some super impressive women in digital. I felt an incredible sense of urgency to connect with these extraordinary human beings. What was originally a digital connection, mostly via LinkedIn, quickly became more meaningful conversations across the Atlantic. To my delight, I found that many of them were from Munich. I had to meet them.
In September 2018, I headed to Munich with a specific goal: 30 blind dates in 30 days. Through this experiment, I realized that in a foreign country, I could have a support system, even make friends, outside of the office. With these individuals’ welcome and in becoming integrated in this community, the love affair deepened.
I’ve now been to Munich more than a dozen times and experienced it for extended durations. Beyond its people, I’ve discovered many things that fully ignite my dream of and desire for immigrating to this big village and fascinating country.
Location, Location, Location
The Alps, and everything they offer, are literally right there, soaring over the city. So close in fact, they will catch the eye on a clear day. With gorgeous lakes to explore all around. Pure beauty.
The city is pretty much in the center of Europe and its world-class airport and large train station make any destination, near and far, easy to access.
With its four distinct seasons, all approximately equal in length, the weather is actually (mostly) pleasant.…
A Culture-Rich City
Beyond its legendary beer culture and, obviously, Oktoberfest, Bavarian customs are brought to life year-round in community celebrations, street festivals, lively folklore, and original dress. It’s as if Bavarians are always down for a party. Quiet Sundays are practically made for lingering conversations in sunny gardens. I’m in.
I hear all different kinds of languages on the streets of Munich and I have already found a French-speaking community. Learning German will not only be challenging because, well, it’s German, but also because most everyone I meet speaks excellent (and loves to speak) English.
The city is packed with relics and exhibits of its complex history manifested in art, architecture & personality, amplifying its beauty well beyond its location. Plus, it’s super clean, and I always feel safe getting around.
Booming, Beyond Business
Munich is home to many of the most innovative companies in Germany’s vital startup landscape. It also hosts global & regional headquarters for some of the world’s largest companies. If the number of job openings I have observed of late is any indication, its digital scene is thriving.
Across town, topics like entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence, mobility, equality, digitalization, transformation, innovation, disruption, technology and the like fill my networking event calendar as a manifestation of the professional community’s commitment to thought leadership and practice.
While Munich has the highest population density of any city in Germany, it still feels like a small town. Sure, it’s expensive, like any other notable global city, but with its wide sidewalks and well-performing public transportation system, it feels much more spacious than other comparable cities.
The Love Story Continues
Yes, it’s Munich. I am eager to see how the love story continues with this beautiful place, its wonderful culture, and most importantly, its people and business that I aspire to join. Permanently.
Connect with Caroline
Caroline is a digital innovation executive. For 20 years, she has been building and leading teams that have imagined and successfully delivered digital transformation initiatives at some of the world’s most powerful brands. She is looking for a permanent leadership position in Munich. Find her CV here and read more of her stories at www.thevoicescollection.com.
LinkedIn: Caroline Trudeau
Tags: Germany, HR, Insights, Recruiting, USA