Preperation is Essential

The following interview was taken from our Second Newsletter (pdf, 2.62 MB)

Kristina Alam currently works at BMW as a Project Specialist

Kristina Alam was born in Moscow and raised in Lebanon. She sees herself as a multicultural polyglot, fluent in five languages including German. In 2002 she moved to Germany for her studies. Ms. Alam obtained both her B.Sc and M.Sc in Electrical and Information Technology Engineering from the Technical University Munich (TUM).  After years of professional experience with multinational companies such as Bosch, Siemens and BMW she advanced professionally by completing an Executive MBA in Innovation and Business Creation from the Center of Entrepreneurship at TUM and University of California in Berkley, USA.
Currently, Ms Alam works at BMW in Munich. There, she combines her innovative attitude with her knowledge in engineering to drive digi-talization of BMW aftersales services. As service owner she develops multiple features in the BMW Connected App.
Ms. Alam also acts as a mentor for young migrant professionals wishing to start their careers in Germany and organizes German-Lebanese Youth Gatherings.

Why did you decide to move to Germany?
At the age of 16 I got inspired by a German neighbor. Her attitude impressed me, she was a very punctual and correct person. This encouraged me to get to know more about Germany. I decided to start with German languages courses in Beirut and ended up visiting the country for a two months intense course in Düsseldorf. My first  impression of Germany was amazing. I was really impressed by its structured system, cleanness, punctuality and well-organized life. This all encouraged me to pursue my university studies in Munich. I was aware though that taking this journey on my own won’t be easy.

What do you wish you would have known before moving to Germany?
I started the hard way from zero, learning by doing. I wish I would have known that time and energy is the most valuable resource we have. I wish I had a mentor, a network, and more people around me to guide me through my personal and professional journey to accelerate the learning process. Before moving to Germany, I would have taken more time in preparing myself and exchanging information with experienced people, Germans or Lebanese fellows in order to better invest time.

What would you advise Lebanese students, researchers and young professionals wanting to move to Germany?
I would definitely encourage everyone to reflect on their personal and professional goals first, define a clear target on what you are pursuing (short and long term). Then I would recommend not to be shy or scared to reach out for support, or guidance by connecting with professionals, institutions in Germany. Simply do never stop asking questions, because there are no wrong questions.

What was the most challenging experience in Germany until now and how did you manage to overcome this challenge?
The two most challenging experiences were on a personal level when I first moved to Munich for my studies and later professionally, when I started my first job after graduation. Munich is a very attractive city. So, moving to Munich started with a big challenge to find accommodation. Without having any local support, it was extremely difficult. What helped at that time, was a strong motivation, belief and positive thinking. As for the second challenge, it started when I got accepted as one of 70 applicants at Bosch for a two years accelerator junior manager program. The professional challenge was to drive innovative ideas and implement those in a traditionally conservative organization. Through constant observation, precise communication and a great support of my mentor, I managed to get ideas through and implemented them successfully.

How has your time in Germany helped you grow professionally and personally?
I had great opportunities to work with qualified and experienced associates from different industries and learn more about German business ethics. I recall becoming more mature, responsible, independent, and finally taking my life in my own hands. Especially, being a woman engineer, I do feel respected and appreciated in this society.

*All views expressed are Kristina Alam´s own*