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The Auto Industry's Looming Renaissance

Ninghang is driven by curiosity and problem-solving as a data scientist in Amsterdam. Read how he takes on challenges, like building and deploying new data science models, with the help of McKinsey’s global tech community.

When my three-months assignment with Publicis Sapient was coming to an end, I hoped that it would be extended for another three months. Why? Just because I was in the middle of several projects, setting up the Employer Brand/Recruitment Marketing for the MENA region and I couldn´t wait to see the outcome of the work I did the first three months. I was very excited about the Publicis Sapient Meet-up´s in our office, but also for launching the landing page of our careers website. On top of that, I have to admit that it was a great experience working in a new region with a different culture, many nationalities and meeting new people every day. I don´t think I have to mention that the weekends in the UAE are super chilled and most of the time it feels like being on vacation. Having the chance to go hiking, dune bashing in the desert, or just relaxing at the beach on the weekends makes this region fun to live in. That´s what I call a work-life balance. People are having a good time, enjoying the sun and the tons of brunches and beach clubs. How is that not tempting? I was very happy, that I got the chance to stay longer, so I did. 

As a German citizen, I needed a Mission Visa that allows me to work from the UAE. I was anxious, that I wouldn´t get the Visa, as it took extremely long, considering that it was just for another 3 months. Finally having the Visa in my hands, I was ready for take-off. When I got back to Dubai, it felt a bit like coming home, which is weird, as I only lived there for 3 months and my home was a hotel. Everything felt so familiar and already on my way from the airport to the hotel, I knew it was the right decision to go back to the UAE. I was excited to be back in the beautiful new office we had at Publicis Sapient, but also seeing my colleagues again. Back in my role as Recruitment Marketing Lead for MENA, I was motivated to push things forward and to finalize what I started months ago. I had lots of flexibility and trust from my team lead, who is located in London. She gave me the chance to work very independently by making my own decisions. That of course, was one of the reasons, why I grew not only from a professional but also from a personal perspective. I remember how concerned I was before coming to Dubai. Having doubts, that the role could be too big for me. As I mentioned in my recent article, if you don´t take the risk, you cannot grow. No matter what country you move to, working abroad will undoubtedly lead you to learn new skills and it is a great way to expand your network. I felt very comfortable in my role, felt like part of the Publicis Sapient Dubai community, and even could imagine relocating to Dubai for a few years (that was not the case in the beginning – for several reasons 😊).

And out of the blue…there was COVID-19

After only 6 weeks in Dubai, the world suddenly stood still. There was this virus and no one knew what would happen in the next few weeks. It all started with working from home (in my case, from the hotel room), which was not fun at all. It was such a weird feeling, as all the tourists were already gone and only another few business travelers were staying in my hotel. Will they shut down everything? Will they cancel all the flights to Germany? What if I will be stuck in Dubai?  And this is where I had to make a decision. Within 24 hours I decided to fly back home, as the risk of being stuck in a hotel room for weeks was too high. Two days later, I was sitting on an airplane, not knowing what to expect when coming home. And I can tell…it wasn’t easy. Suddenly there was this lockdown in Germany. Not being able to see your friends and family after being abroad for a few weeks was pretty hard. 


Although my time in Dubai ended unexpectedly, I can say that I learned a lot during this time and I appreciate that Publicis Sapient allowed me the opportunity to work with great people, in a very friendly and welcoming environment. This opportunity gave me the chance to switch from being a Recruiter to become part of the Recruitment Marketing Team, leading DACH, MENA, and the Nordics region. Thanks to everyone who challenged me on my way and who made my stay in Dubai so special.

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