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  #21  
Old 07.10.2015, 12:48
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

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Because all the internships I had so far were accompanied by real responsibilities. They were actually done in a certain framework. Probably I expect the same from internships in Switzerland. From one country to another the culture is different though.
What I am talking about here is a clerk work desguised as an internship with absolutely no responsibility.

I disagree with experience irrelevancies. If you interview a musician for a quality engineer position, you may see an irrelevancy in a first instance. But if you look for somebody with attention to details, good communication skills, keen to improve himself and the others through hard working and discipline, and used to working in a team, there may be a fit. Same thing with a chef, a project manager and organisation skills.
That's the advantage of career switchers. We already have developed our soft skills, with maybe one or two only left to develop for the new position. We only need to learn the hard skills, which may be more or less quick depending on the previous job.
I know that in the UK somebody coming from the automotive industry is highly praised, because this person is used to working in a fast-paced environment. Same thing, in the UK the juniors are advised to explore several jobs to broaden their horizon and to develop well-rounded skills before they settle somewhere.

There is wealth with the career switchers. We need to be trained like the others. But we can learn and be productive more quickly.

In my case, the switch I am trying to make is not so big. I have reduced it as much as possible. Moreover where I come from should be advantageous for where I want to go. However it already creates difficulties, close-mindness.
I agree 100% on everything what you have said, except that the automotive industry is highly-praised or a fast-paced environment. ;-)

Last edited by Capo; 07.10.2015 at 13:28.
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Old 07.10.2015, 12:57
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

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What you say may be true in some instances, though not all. But regardless, you lack technical experience. If I were to complete a Finance degree I couldn't take up a Senior Controller position tomorrow - I may have all the interpersonal and whatever skills from 15 years of work experience, but I have no idea how Finance works in a real-life setting, hence I have to start at the bottom or more or less there, though maybe not on the lowest end. Simple as that.

That's the thinking and reasoning in most instances, exceptions apply. It is not close-mindedness, but a different viewpoint and culture. It's just the way it is. Good for you if in the UK it would be supereasy for you to find something and given you seem to receive offers after offers from the UK or at least interview after interview while you find nothing in Switzerland, I'm not sure why you would want to stay here anyway. You won't single-handedly revolutionize the way most Swiss do business, recruiting etc. Maybe you're lucky and will find someone who gives you that chance of an internship - though make no mistake, depending on where that is you may have no responsibility whatsoever and I still think it's not the best route as it may well lead into nothing. But for now, it doesn't seem to look good, so I'm not quite sure what else you want to hear. You might indeed need to try your luck elsewhere in the world. The best advice is that given by oosoo - get a technical position in your previous field and venture out from there into your new field, or accept pretty much anything you get can in your current preferred field. Or try one of those GDPs if they're available.
I believe you are right on target if we are talking about the Swiss culture. In the USA it is totally different in this regard. The OP needs to get to reality and face the way it is in CH.

Last edited by Capo; 07.10.2015 at 13:28.
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Old 07.10.2015, 12:58
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

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I have never received a CV in my life yet I could probably do the same thing by reading the nationality from the front page just after the name and date of birth
You are right, but I first have a look at the letter, if someone does not make such an effort and just mails a CV only it's a bad start
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  #24  
Old 07.10.2015, 13:18
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

I believe Samaire13 gave the best advice. The Swiss are closed-minded compared to Americans and the British when it comes to career switchers.

In the USA it's so common to see Army officials, engineers, scientists, teachers, etc., who go to business school to change careers and then at the new job right from the start they work in a senior level. The companies there assume that if someone was capable to pass the high bar of being accepted at a top university, that person is smart enough to learn quickly and progress in the new job, regardless of their previous experience.

In CH there is also a open prejudice against age, something that is even against the law in some countries.
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Old 07.10.2015, 13:25
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

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@Samaire
France and the USA are closed (although there is a trick I can explain for the USA). It also requires some personal investment. But to answer your question, yes I am considering it.
What's the trick for the USA? The H1-B process is on April, which means your application will need to be taken care of by an immigration lawyer by February, which means you will need to have an offer from a company by January. Other option is to apply for the E2 visa, which will demand that you transfer US$500k of funds to a US bank account...
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  #26  
Old 07.10.2015, 20:19
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

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In the USA it's so common to see Army officials, engineers, scientists, teachers, etc., who go to business school to change careers and then at the new job right from the start they work in a senior level. The companies there assume that if someone was capable to pass the high bar of being accepted at a top university, that person is smart enough to learn quickly and progress in the new job, regardless of their previous experience.
We simply have a different education system than the US so it's apples and oranges. All universities here are essentially of good quality, some a little better, but there is no significant difference between e.g. HSG and Uni Zurich. There's little competition to get into the unis - you have a Matura, you're in - simple as that (a few exceptions such as e.g. Medicine apply). Consequently, getting accepted by a uni here is no achievement per se - everyone with a certain educational level gets accepted (again, in most cases).

Also, uni graduates are usually educated to Master level (though that is slowly changing a bit). Having an advanced i.e. Masters degree therefore is no big deal - if you went to uni, it's kind of implied that you have a Masters degree rather than just a Bachelors. Again, it's changing somewhat too, but in the US, having an advanced degree is much rarer than having one here.

This is important to understand. If you have a team of e.g. 5 Controllers on the same level, all with an MA in Finance and 5 years of experience, why would you hire someone on the same level with the same degree but experience in an entirely different area, effectively making him/her entirely inexperienced in the field in question? I can understand the reasoning behind not opting for such a hire and why it may also create issues in such a team (whether I agree or not is again irrelevant)


As far as self-employment is concerned: I'm not sure what it is you want to do, but given your lack of practical experience/credentials I have my doubts you will be very successful within a reasonable time, but again, depends on what you want to do exactly. You need a lot of contacts and knowledge of the local market to be successful and I'm not sure to what degree you have either, given you only studied here, but haven't worked. You'll need to do a lot of upfront research before even considering that route
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  #27  
Old 07.10.2015, 20:33
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

For what it's worth, I see your background as a huge strength - I interview/recruit people all the time in my service line, and with your qualification and experience, you'd be a big hit in our business. Actually, we have many like you over here

However, I am not a Swiss employer.

I understand the desire to settle down. Does it have to be right now + Switzerland? What is your time horizon? I'd seriously consider taking up a job in UK or USA (pending visas, etc.) with a global company, and then, in 2-3 years time, discuss with your boss a transfer to Switzerland if that is what you want. That way, you'll be discussing directly with the local manager/boss you'll be working with, and bypass the HR bull****. Sometimes, HR professionals are hung up on labels and tags, but I'll say that half the blame is on the department managers who do not communicate properly/clearly to HR what they are looking for, just give very general indications...

Good luck!
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  #28  
Old 10.10.2015, 02:27
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

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Hello,

Maybe you could help me with your thoughts about my situation.

I recently completed studies in finance, economics and quantative methods in a prestigious university in Switzerland. Prior to that, I was educated as an industrial engineer in a top university in France, and I had 4 years of experience in the industry, in varied positions.

I have been searching for a job since I am here in Switzerland (3 years) although not full time, I had my studies, and I really struggle.

I am a career changer, so I thought I should start with an internship. The constant feedback was that I had already too much experience (in the industry) to do an internship (in finance), and not enough experience (in finance) to get a regular position (in finance).
I went even further and did my networking part. A senior manager from a major bank advised me to go back to the industry, saying that he would prefer somebody without any experience for an internship or an entry level position. An executive from another major bank was praising my quantitative skills, telling me the only way to start was to go for a graduate development program (GDP), while a HR from the same bank told me that I would never be considered for a GDP because I already have experience.

As a result, I couldn't do any internship during my studies and get a first experience in finance.
Thus, I tried to base my search more on my previous experience. After all, there are many skills that I can transfer. I even passed a related professional certification. Since, I am getting some interviews, where I can use my experience. Everything else is closed.
I finally managed to get an internship (2 masters, 4 years of experience) in accounting. But the work was extremely basic, not related to my profile and the manager was checking every email that I was sending (I had sent hundreds of emails in my professional life), so I refused their offer.

Since I passed my C1 in German. I thought that strong German skills would unlock the situation. And I have restarted my search. I am getting interviews in German, but not many. So far, I have been interviewed for a junior position, but the company was willing to pay me as a junior, despite me having more than all the certifications they wanted and several years of experience. Other positions, you need tons of experience. As a example, I remember seeing a job offer requiring somebody with the experience of managing a 40 million portfolio so as to manage a 20 million one.

Thus, I really wonder what to do now. It appears to me that here you are put in a box and you cannot transfer skills at all. It is all experience based, creating difficulties for the young Swiss to find a job. And of course you get age discrimination (must be between 25 and 35 for example).
On the other side, I am getting much more openness from England based companies. Phone interviews, reimbursed travel expenses. I was once asked if I was well aware that it was an entry level position, to be then told that with my experience I could probably progress more quickly.

As a solution, I am thinking about creating my own consulting company. At least I could offer the skills I have with the flexibility I want. I have limited experience though. But I met a Swiss lady who did the same because she couldn't find something after living and working in America.
But is it really worth the risk? My German is C1, fluent but not perfect. Would the Swiss be open to a newcomer like me? Would there be a price / skills discrimination because I am a foreigner?
I really wonder whether I should stay in this country or try something else like England, Ireland.
If you are in hurry, It's really hard to get a job quite normal one even an internship, you should represent yourself very carefully with a good CV and proper idea for your interview
I wish you good luck
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Old 11.10.2015, 22:33
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

@Samaire
IQ is important to understand how an employee can perform. It is not the only factor of success, I have seen some clever people not able to make a decision. But IQ is linked with patterns recognition. From patterns one can learn, adapt and bring change. IQ is also linked with the number of competencies one can develop. On the other hand, I have seen many people hiding behind years of experience to justify the way they do the work, despite their lack of results.
A master is not achievable by everybody. I heard that 50% of students at the HSG and HEC Lausanne fail during their first year. One only tries the university when one expects to succeed at it. It already trims the candidates.
To answer your question about the 5 controllers: to bring diversity and change. It's like pepper in the soup, it has to be well dosed.

@BokerTov
I am getting old, that's all. It does not have to be Switzerland or another country. But I don't want to make a move too lightly.

@Capo
For the USA, the trick is to start with an internship with an au-pair visa, which is easy to obtain. This visa can then be transformed into a H1B. Getting directly the H1B is nearly impossible, although a friend of mine achieved it (he works at Google).

@belgo
I agree with you.
I see 2 explanations: the system with the grandes écoles which permeates the society and the economic climate.
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  #30  
Old 12.10.2015, 04:09
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

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@Samaire
IQ is important to understand how an employee can perform. It is not the only factor of success, I have seen some clever people not able to make a decision. But IQ is linked with patterns recognition. From patterns one can learn, adapt and bring change. IQ is also linked with the number of competencies one can develop. On the other hand, I have seen many people hiding behind years of experience to justify the way they do the work, despite their lack of results.
A master is not achievable by everybody. I heard that 50% of students at the HSG and HEC Lausanne fail during their first year. One only tries the university when one expects to succeed at it. It already trims the candidates.
To answer your question about the 5 controllers: to bring diversity and change. It's like pepper in the soup, it has to be well dosed.
You don't have to enter any kind of discussion with me or convince me of anything - I have no job to offer you. I explained why the situation is what it is and I dare say I know more about this than you, given I was born here, went to uni here, and have been working here and even in the relevant field for many years. You can believe or think whatever you want and continue to insist that you know better how things should or should not work - it still doesn't matter cause it will not change how most companies here approach things. You've received plenty of recommendations in this thread, focus your energy on trying some of them.
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Old 12.10.2015, 08:46
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

On the self-employment side, I'm not sure how easy that would be for you either. You haven't told us your nationality, but as you said France was closed to you despite being a native French speaker I'm assuming you're not an EU national. In which case have a look at this.

http://www.kmu.admin.ch/kmu-gruenden/03476/03575/03578/index.html?lang=en

The problem I see is that to get permission to set up as self-employed you're going to have to show that you already have several clients who want to use your services. If you're struggling to find a job I'm not sure how easy finding clients is going to be.

And don't forget, setting up a business here, doesn't automatically grant you a permit.

http://www.englishforum.ch/permits-visas-government/240578-non-eu-citizen-have-set-up-company-but-can-t-get-permit-help.html
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Old 12.10.2015, 10:38
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

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Hello! Very interesting topic and fits with what I've seen in my three years swiss experience... One question and just a thought:

Also, uni graduates are usually educated to Master level (though that is slowly changing a bit). Having an advanced i.e. Masters degree therefore is no big deal - if you went to uni, it's kind of implied that you have a Masters degree rather than just a Bachelors. Again, it's changing somewhat too, but in the US, having an advanced degree is much rarer than having one here.
Does that mean that less students go for a master degree every year?

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This is important to understand. If you have a team of e.g. 5 Controllers on the same level, all with an MA in Finance and 5 years of experience, why would you hire someone on the same level with the same degree but experience in an entirely different area, effectively making him/her entirely inexperienced in the field in question? I can understand the reasoning behind not opting for such a hire and why it may also create issues in such a team (whether I agree or not is again irrelevant)
Usually people coming from a different field might bring a new way of thinking or a different approach...thus if you are smart enough, and capable of brining new ideas, coming from another "world" might even be an advantage I'm not saying that this has to be the case in Switzerland, just that I think that might be an alternative way of thinking. Which seems to not be very popular in Europe in general I think...
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  #33  
Old 12.10.2015, 16:35
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

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@Samaire
IQ is important to understand how an employee can perform. It is not the only factor of success, I have seen some clever people not able to make a decision. But IQ is linked with patterns recognition. From patterns one can learn, adapt and bring change. IQ is also linked with the number of competencies one can develop. On the other hand, I have seen many people hiding behind years of experience to justify the way they do the work, despite their lack of results.
A master is not achievable by everybody. I heard that 50% of students at the HSG and HEC Lausanne fail during their first year. One only tries the university when one expects to succeed at it. It already trims the candidates.
To answer your question about the 5 controllers: to bring diversity and change. It's like pepper in the soup, it has to be well dosed.
So what? Are you going to teach your recruiters and interviewers all about it? Getting a job is the same thing as any transaction: you have a "buyer" and a "seller". If you are trying to sell your services but there are no buyers (e.g. interviewers), you will either need to look for another market or convince the buyers with a more interesting proposition than saying "look how good I am".

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@Capo
For the USA, the trick is to start with an internship with an au-pair visa, which is easy to obtain. This visa can then be transformed into a H1B. Getting directly the H1B is nearly impossible, although a friend of mine achieved it (he works at Google).
Sorry but it's nonsense. First of all, it's a fraud to apply for an au pair visa and then try to do an internship later, a sure road to be denied admission in the US. Second, there is no such thing as to "transform" an Au Pair visa into a H1B.
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  #34  
Old 12.10.2015, 22:42
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

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Does that mean that less students go for a master degree every year?
Fewer than before, yes, but that is mainly cause before Bologna, there was no "in-between" step like there is today in form of an undergraduate degree. If you didn't study for a full Masters (or Lizentiat at the time), you had nothing, no degree at all.

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Usually people coming from a different field might bring a new way of thinking or a different approach...thus if you are smart enough, and capable of brining new ideas, coming from another "world" might even be an advantage I'm not saying that this has to be the case in Switzerland, just that I think that might be an alternative way of thinking. Which seems to not be very popular in Europe in general I think...
They might be sometimes, but more often than not, that "different thinking" is either not relevant or not sought after. Cause let's be honest, most (larger) companies are very set in their ways and there is little room, need or desire for thinking differently, unless maybe you're the CEO or whatever (needless to say no one will start their career as the CEO of a bluechip, so that "different thinking" really doesn't matter). And especially in Switzerland which has fared relatively well and weathered most crises okayish, compared to the rest of the world, why would they change the way they do things? It sort of makes sense in my opinion.

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If you are trying to sell your services but there are no buyers (e.g. interviewers), you will either need to look for another market or convince the buyers with a more interesting proposition than saying "look how good I am".
Exactly the point I've been trying to make, thanks for making it clearer
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Old 12.10.2015, 23:20
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Re: Working in Switzerland and Swiss culture

Go for it.
Trust yourself, find a market that you can attend with your skills, even in english...! I am sure you will do it well if you believe.
Otherwise..steek to the first plan and stay thinking of how it would be...
I think that when you start doing what you want and know you can, they might notice you and open more doors...I wish you good luck!
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