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Michiel flew all around the globe for a training week

Written by Astrid Roest on 10 December 2018 for Tech Professionals

Wanna go into the wide world, ha? We get it. We’re all young. Most of us like discovering new cultures from time to time.  That definitely goes for Michiel, Exellyst for 2 years and traveler at heart.

He was able to mix business with the pleasure of exploring a city thanks to Atlas Copco, the industrial tools and equipment company where he recently started his new challenge.  A couple of weeks ago, he was sent to go and spread out the C4C word in this Chinese metropolis. Afterwards, we sat down with him to have a nice chit-chat about his experience.

Spread your wings Michiel flew all around the globe for a training week

Michiel’s specs

  • 28 y/o
  • Music lover (singer / guitar player / violinist)
  • Sports: Former soccer player, now tennis and swimming
  • Business Engineering in Management Information Systems Graduate (UAntwerpen)
  • Always busy
  • Joined Exellys around two years ago

Michiel, what on earth is C4C?

“It’s Cloud For Customers, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software in the SAP ecosystem. I’m working for Atlas Copco as a Cloud For Customers Consultant. I’m a C4CC, indeed. (laughs)

Atlas Copco recently switched their CRM to Cloud For Customers. Around 5.500 Atlas Copco sales employees in 180 customer service centers worldwide are using it for their administration of offers, follow-ups and marketing campaigns for (potential) clients. My team and I offer support for the business in using the C4C platform. We are providing day to day support, give trainings in Belgium and abroad and host workshops.

When I started, there were a lot of new rollouts worldwide. When implementing new systems like this, there are several quality gates. One of them is training key users. In order to do so, I joined a team of trainers in Shanghai for a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) week. It is a very intensive week where we determine whether the requirements of a specification or contract are met.”

Spread your wings Michiel flew all around the globe for a training week

Did you notice any differences between China and Europe?

“Well, there is a striking difference in work mentality between China and Western Europe. Of course, I already expected everything not to go very smooth because of the language barrier, but what struck me the most was that people in China are way more introvert (even than us Belgians!) and don’t ask for help that easily. They have a culture of saying yes to every question you pose. That didn’t make my job of supporting them in the in and outs of our new CRM easier. It was a good experience for me to become better in my job of providing support, though. I connected with the local CRM Leads (SPOC’s), got to know a lot of colleagues better and my Chinese colleagues now can put a face to my name when they call me for support. That’s always better.”

How do you like working for Exellys in general?

“It’s awesome. We already met during my final years as a student, and I followed a workshop by Raf and Penny at my University. A friend of mine (Vincent) also worked as an Exellys consultant at Umicore, and he was always very positive about his experience. He referred me and I got a great employer with a very human touch.”

And the assignment at Atlas Copco?

“Equally great. At Atlas Copco, everything falls into place. I’m really enjoying my role as a C4CC and it’s a great company to work for, with a lot of possibilities abroad. From my perspective a very interesting offer, since I like discovering different cultures.”

Did you notice a culture shock?

“I already told you the difference in work mentality. Besides from that, I also got to learn the Chinese culture in general. Traveling to China is an administrative disaster. They’re really thorough in paperwork, passports and visas and the likes. Thank god I already knew about the trip two months in advance and got a lot of help from my colleagues.

After a 12-hour flight, I arrived in Shanghai three days before the UAT week started. I arranged it this way, because I wanted a couple of days to explore the city as well. Upon arrival, I was already ripped off by a taxi driver at the airport. I paid 70 euros for a trip of one and a half hours. Normally, the rate for that is 20 euros or something (laughs).

I did a lot of sightseeing: the Shanghai tower and a Buddha temple are now crossed off my bucket list. The last night of my trip, I walked through the Waldorf Astoria with my team members. It’s one of the most expensive hotels in the world and it blew our minds.

Spread your wings Michiel flew all around the globe for a training week

Besides that, I just roamed around the city a lot, staring at the numerous skyscrapers. The public transportation system is amazing there, definitely when you compare it to Belgium.”

How about the food?

“Wellll… My first couple of days, I wasn’t feeling too adventurous or confident yet. I’m actually not that much of an adventurous eater in the first place. So I stuck to McDonalds for three days. It’s also hard to communicate in restaurants because so few people speak proper English.

Spread your wings Michiel flew all around the globe for a training week

But when the UAT week started, I switched to a very nice hotel with great food and got to know some colleagues that showed me around the city in a culinary way as well. So, I didn’t starve or anything, and actually had some awesome food experiences. Little did I know they were crazy about Japanese food in China as well.”

Great to hear, Michiel. Thanks for sitting down with us!

Do you want to improve, be your best self in your tech job or are you looking for a first experience within a company that will most definitely put you and your skills first? Exellys is always on the lookout for young and ambitious tech talent, let’s talk! Head over to our job page to find your next challenge or get in touch with us!