October 18

Talking Expats with Prof. Simon Greathead

At this point in Marriott School professor Simon Greathead’s career working internationally comes naturally. The Lancaster, England, native served a mission in Provo, has worked all across Greathead Simon Faculty PhotoEurope, and now calls Mapleton, Utah, home.

Celia Shatzman, in her article World Market from the Fall 2013 issue of Marriott Alumni  Magazine, highlighted some of Greathead’s recommendations for student’s planning to work abroad.

I recently caught up with Professor Greathead to dig up a few more suggestions for would-be expats.

How would you recommend people go about working internationally?

You should make a list of companies with international opportunities and look to interview with them. The next thing to do is network—talk with family, friends, professors, and past employers and find new opportunities. I would also recommend paying special interest to foreign language classes. Keep your language skills as relevant and updated as possible. Finally, when you get into a company let your employers know early on that you want to work internationally.

What are some things people should know before they go abroad?

A statement I hear time and time again from expats is, ‘the best years of my life were working and living internationally with my family.’ So if you have the opportunity to go abroad, take it and enjoy it.

You should also make sure you will have a position with the company when you get back. Have it written in stone that the company will give you a particular job at a certain pay grade in a certain area, or if they can’t give a certain role at least have some sort of outline for your return.

If you accept that working and living abroad will be difficult at first, it can be an extremely rewarding time for the entire family.

Where have you worked internationally?

I had a really good experience working for several different companies in Europe. I’ve worked in Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, France, and Russia. I’ve also spent time in Tokyo and China. Europe, though, is my bread and butter. It’s where I know operations, supply chain, the law, and marketing. I love it. I get back there every year.

What are some benefits of working abroad?

The first benefit is knowing your organization needs you. When working internationally you tend to do more things because your scope is broader. You’re a guide for growing organizations.

It also gives you an opportunity to serve in the Church. If you’re an expat you will get swept up quickly and pushed into positions that provide extremely rewarding opportunities to serve.

Working abroad for me has been wonderful. The cultural, historical, and geographical significance of where you are along with being able to travel adds up to an extremely rewarding experience.