Today we sat down with Victor, our Account Manager & Business Developer for the French market, to learn more about him and his work at Swedbrand.
What do you do as an Account Manager and what are your main responsibilities?
I am working both as a Business Developer and an Account Manager for the French market. As the Account Manager part, I oversee our active clients, tasked with maintaining relationships whilst creating new projects together with them. As a Business Developer, I am actively seeking new partners to further develop the French speaking market. To achieve this, I will travel to Europe several times to build-up trust with our clients and lend our company a face that clients can associate with.
What did you do before coming to Swedbrand?
Before coming to Swedbrand, I already lived in Shanghai for a year, finishing an internship in addition to working for a company which organizes fairs and exhibitions. These circumstances allowed me to gather my first working experience in China.
Why did you decide to come to Swedbrand and what do you like about the company?
Firstly, I always looked for a working place providing me with the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse and international team. Secondly I wanted to work abroad. Swedbrand is a melting pot of nationalities, for example, I think it is tremendous that I am the only Frenchman in the office right now. I am learning a lot from my colleagues as we all have very distinctive cultural and social backgrounds.
Furthermore, I am currently responsible for a lot of different projects, which enables my working days to be rather unique. It is very exciting to work on many different tasks. I freely manage my projects and my time. I enjoy this independence.
You just mentioned you are the only French person among your co-workers. Why do you think that’s good?
I said so, because I came to China to experience new people and cultures, and not just French people. I keep in contact with friends and family back home, in addition to all my French clients. That exchange is great, but aside from this, I want to appreciate and draw from the differences between myself, Chinese as well as foreigners here in Shanghai.
How could you describe Swedbrand with three words?
You mentioned that you came here to meet a lot of people from all walks of life. Which kind of experiences could you make so far?
Currently, I travel a lot with my new friends from Shanghai, as well as just hanging out during the weekend and embarking on city trips. These people became very dear to me, as my home-country is very distant. One needs to build strong relationships and support systems here and I did do so. I am proud that I came here. I’d say that most preemptive notions and stereotypes we hedge in Europe about Chinese nationals as well as the country and culture are not entirely correct. I don’t want to say that everything here is perfect, but being open to experiencing a new culture without any hesitation is what I learned to appreciate.
Through your phrasing, it seems like you are planning on staying here. What are your plans for the future?
I don’t really have a plan for the future. I definitely picture myself living in China for a while. I have a lot of work to do for Swedbrand to develop the French speaking market. As to my personal life, I want to continue to increasingly discover Asia and China. As China is completely different from Europe I want to build on the differences and establish a life in China for a while. However, it is not set in stone to stay indefinitely. Why not experiencing Latin American or another continent afterwards?
What are you doing here in Shanghai besides working and traveling? Could you find your new routine?
I found my new routine for sure. I try to keep busy from Monday to Friday. I am going to the gym four to five times a week, aside from having around 8 hours of Chinese classes per week. This way I can be free on the weekends. Shanghai is an amazing city, believe me, there are a lot of things to do.
We already know that you are from France, could you tell us where you are from concretely?
Certainly! I am from Nice, on the French Riviera. I was born and raised there and resided there all my life, before coming to China. In France, we consider Nice to be one of the best regions to live on the earth. All year long it is blessed with a mild Mediterranean climate. The sea and the mountains are very close to each other, which offers a unique environment.
Is there something you would like to bring from the Cote d’Azur to Shanghai?
Nothing, really. I came here to China to discover a new culture, new people and a new lifestyle. Therefore, I just want to appreciate what China has to offer. As I work at Swedbrand, this provides me with the opportunity to travel back to France frequently. My relationship with Nice will always be unique, but I live in China now and that is alright.
Well we can’t believe you don’t miss Tarte au Citron?
No, not really. (He laughs) I am not a big fan of pastries, so I am good in that regard. Nevertheless, you can find whatever you desire in Shanghai if you miss something from home.
So besides being multilingual and an open-minded guy, do you have any hidden talents?
Honestly, I wish my Chinese was better but I am well on my way (He laughs). It will however take some time. Besides, I really love swimming and I think that I am a considerable swimmer.