How to shape up for a career abroad post-pandemic

By Dawn Lo  Thursday, 28 May 2020  Features

Upon graduating from UNSW Business School with a Master of Commerce degree in 2002, Basia Borysewicz decided to chase her dream job of working as a marketing professional in the IT industry. Little did she know that working for a global IT company would give her the travel bug and seek further overseas adventures.

"Prior to working overseas, I was working at Dell in Sydney for five years. However, as I was in a global role and my hours weren't sustainable, I decided to relocate to the United States. During my journey overseas, the personal and professional growth I experienced was invaluable."

Basia spent five years working in the United States before she relocated to Singapore with Adobe. She is currently working at Intel in Singapore as the Marketing Director for the Asia-Pacific and Japan Territory.

Thinking about her student days back at UNSW Business School, Basia shares a few tips about her own experience navigating university life and finding her feet in the corporate world.

"The postgraduate degree at UNSW helped me build a foundation of knowledge in business and marketing. I undertook various courses such as economics, accounting, and international marketing. As a result, I was able to work in different countries in both regional and global marketing positions since I've graduated."

Basia also highlighted the importance of communication and collaboration – something she learned by studying with a close-knit team and engaging with other students on group projects.

"The university projects were a great opportunity to get to know other students, expand my network, and form new friendships. One of the highlights at university was when I was selected to present a co-written paper in the area of consumer behaviour at the ANZMAC conference, the leading marketing academic research forum in the Asia Pacific region. It was the first time research by postgraduate students had been accepted at the International Conference."

How can you study and network virtually?

Having studied in a face-to-face environment as well as virtual classes online, Basia says both were valuable and helped her maintain a connected and interactive student experience.

She advises anyone struggling with the shift from a class environment to virtual learning to take it as an opportunity to hone new skills such as how to influence virtually.

"The future of work is heading towards the digital so virtual learning is an opportunity for students to familiarise themselves with a remote way of working", Basia says.

"Getting comfortable studying in a virtual environment prepares students for working in a virtual environment, which is an important skill in today's connected digital world. Developing agility is also an important skillset to stay relevant in today's workforce."

Basia is currently working full-time whilst studying part-time virtually towards a Master's in Liberal Arts (Management) at Harvard University.

"I have been studying virtually for the last year and a half since I relocated from Boston to Singapore. Virtual study has been perfectly suited at this stage of my life."

Basia also adds that online professional platforms such as LinkedIn are great for networking opportunities.

"Most companies in the current COVID-19 environment have pivoted from a physical events-led to digital-led approach. This has offered graduates opportunities to attend events virtually – which previously could only have been available in person to a select group or on a first come first served basis. Attending virtual events also offers an opportunity to listen to other people's perspectives, experiences, and expand your network."

How can you secure a job overseas?

"If you land a job in a global company and aspire to undertake an international assignment, seek advice from colleagues who are located where you wish to move and those who have relocated successfully. Also, inform your manager of your desire to relocate," Basia says.

From her experience and industry knowledge, Basia adds that it may take up to a year or longer for a relocation to occur and to start planning early.

"If you have a strong succession plan in place, you may also find it easier to relocate faster."

Having relocated overseas with global companies such as Dell, Basia advises that moving countries with a global organisation has many benefits including visa sponsorship, relocation agents and coverage of relocation costs.

"While you are studying for your postgraduate degree, take the opportunity to also get industry experience. For example, when I was an undergraduate student, I was also working part-time as a market researcher. 

"You need to research for a job overseas thoroughly if your goal is to work in a different country. The low risk scenario is to have a role lined up before you relocate. The riskier scenario involves arriving in a country without employment and this will involve weighing the pros and cons."

A final note of advice from Basia is that life milestones play a key role in determining the type of relocation approach you take, as well as the timing of your relocation. 

A key takeaway is to "remember to trust in the journey" and plan ahead so you'll be ready to go once travel restrictions are lifted.

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