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Dominique Florian

Dominique Florian PP BigPic
Dominique Florian with Team - NxtAsia Consulting Co

My name is Dominique Florian, I study (BSc) Transport Management at Aston University. I am currently on my placement year in Shanghai, China where I am on a working placement.
The company I am working for is called NxtAsia Consulting Co., Ltd, situated in the heart of Shanghai in Mainland China.
The company offers several consulting services for western medium – sized companies as well as companies with Asia presence. Our main focus lies within the topics of supply chain optimization as well as Asia sourcing and Procurement Optimization.

The globalization process is connecting the different regions of the world at a fast pace, which offers new chances and opportunities for the participating parties but also comes along with unknown risks. Asia being the world’s fastest growing economy at this time, makes purchasing from the region no longer avoidable. Nevertheless, many small-medium sized businesses lack the necessary knowledge required to manage a successful Asia supply chain – That’s when NxtAsia steps in…
When I first started my placement in the company, I was a bit frightened – Shanghai is one of the world’s largest metropolises with over 19 million inhabitants and to make things even more daunting I had no grip on the local language.
However, throughout my placement year I have not only strengthened my Mandarin, but also gained real- world business experience and took upon challenges at the working place, which we all face eventually, when applying for a job after graduation. I was confronted with various cultural differences between the already known, western European “working-world” and the Chinese working place; For instance a “Yes” in China doesn’t necessarily mean “Yes”, it is widely understood that Chinese people refer to “Yes, I have heard you” as there is not even a word for “Yes” in the Chinese language. These noticeable differences made communication more difficult at the beginning of my year abroad. Nevertheless, I was able to get accustomed and overcome these issues as I learnt more about the local culture.

The globalization process is connecting the different regions of the world at a fast pace, which offers new chances and opportunities for the participating parties but also comes along with unknown risks. Asia being the world’s fastest growing economy at this time, makes purchasing from the region no longer avoidable. Nevertheless, many small-medium sized businesses lack the necessary knowledge required to manage a successful Asia supply chain – That’s when NxtAsia steps in…
When I first started my placement in the company, I was a bit frightened – Shanghai is one of the world’s largest metropolises with over 19 million inhabitants and to make things even more daunting I had no grip on the local language.
However, throughout my placement year I have not only strengthened my Mandarin, but also gained real- world business experience and took upon challenges at the working place, which we all face eventually, when applying for a job after graduation. I was confronted with various cultural differences between the already known, western European “working-world” and the Chinese working place; For instance a “Yes” in China doesn’t necessarily mean “Yes”, it is widely understood that Chinese people refer to “Yes, I have heard you” as there is not even a word for “Yes” in the Chinese language. These noticeable differences made communication more difficult at the beginning of my year abroad. Nevertheless, I was able to get accustomed and overcome these issues as I learnt more about the local culture.


Activties
The company has involved me in all major  business activities and gave me a lot of responsibilities and project leads- There was never a point throughout my placement year ,where I had to do “pity –work “ such as faxing documents or making coffee for the Management Board .
In fact, I was given projects I had to consult by myself; such projects include supplier Inspections (assuring supplier can match client’s quality requirements), Recruitment procedures (Phone interview, face-to-face interview), NxtAsia  Webpage design, coordinating shipment schedules, negotiating forwarders and supporting NxtAsia logistics team in supply chain management projects.    
After several months, I then had the opportunity to move to the Sales Department where I undertook  several  interesting activities such as to plan and execute sales strategies for the company, support the sales force on exhibitions like the BAUMA 2010, and prepare and hold power point presentations in front of potential new clients.
Overall, I can say that the placement year is a great opportunity for every student to develop their strengths and subsequently overcome their weaknesses in the real business world. I would recommend students who have the opportunity to go on a placement year abroad, to do so- Getting to know a different culture can be both interesting and difficult but more importantly it gives you a prospective of a totally different part of the world, such as China.

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