Erin Noel shares unforgettable experiences and insights into her rotation in Roche Diagnostics Finance

People development is one of the critical focus points for Roche. A common focus among the many people development initiatives is people exchange. This allows talent to take an assignment to a different part of the organisation to gain more insight and experience both from a cultural and work perspective.

Meet Erin Noel, Financial Business Analyst, and learn more about her experience during her job rotation and find out what she enjoyed most during her time on exchange.

Job Rotation - I took a rotation in Internal Controls over Financial Reporting.  This experience allowed me to see the financial processes in Budapest, Meylan, Mannheim, Basel, and Sao Paulo.  It was very valuable to learn not only how other cultures interact, but also how the different affiliates around the world mitigate risk in their organization.  I also enjoyed being able to see the cultural and process differences between Diagnostics, Pharmaceuticals, and Headquarters.  This particular job rotation also improved my business communication skills.  Since all meetings were held in English and everyone had varying levels of English, I learned to speak and write more concisely so that all could easily understand my viewpoints.  

First Impressions - The first thing I immediately noticed was the beautiful Swiss landscape.  The train ride from Zurich to Basel was so green!  The next thing I noticed was how clean and efficient the infrastructure was. Coming from car-centric Mid-West America, it took a while for me to get used to walking everywhere or taking public transportation.  However everything was very clearly marked which made the transition easy.  

Office Politics - The office set up was slightly different in Basel compared to Indianapolis.  In Indianapolis, I sit in a cubicle and the campus is relatively compact.  The office layout was more open in Basel with everyone sharing a room, but each having their own desk.  Also, the buildings were spread across the city.  Luckily there was a shuttle to take employees to the different buildings. Similar to the United States, my superiors had an "open-door" policy and were always willing to help me and answer my questions.  My favorite difference between the Indianapolis office and the Basel Office was the coffee!  While we have coffee at the Indianapolis office, we typically do not all go get coffee together over breaks.  I also enjoyed going out to lunch at the cantina each day.  I typically eat at my desk in Indianapolis, so I enjoyed the camaraderie gained with co-workers over the lunch hour.  

Erin's  picture of the Sao Paulo Office

Cultural Differences - The communication style in the workplace in Basel was a bit different than in Indianapolis.  In Basel the communication was more direct, where as in Indianapolis if we disagree with someone we generally first acknowledge the merits of their argument and then state why we feel differently.  The biggest personal adjustment was learning to plan shopping in advance.  While in the US we have 24-hour stores, most stores in Switzerland are closed on Sunday and close quite early during the week as well.  It took a few weeks for me to remember to go to the grocery store right after work or on Saturday.  Everyone that I came across in Switzerland was very friendly and was willing to give me directions or help me read labels in the grocery store!

New Perspectives - One of my differences was the meaning of the word "old."  In America, a church is old if it is over 100 years old.  It was amazing to see all the different churches and buildings in Europe that have been around for several hundred years. It was an amazing experience to not only live in a different country for a few months, but also to be able to see the different financial processes of the affiliates around the world.  Since Roche is a global company, living overseas gave me a broader understanding of our business as a whole.

Tags: Career Blog, Business Strategy & Finance