Will trade: London for Singapore

responsibility - International experience

Four employees – seven locations

What is “normal” is a matter of perspective. That is something Deutsche Börse Group employees Frank Odendall, Valentina Popescu, Heidemarie Seltmann and Vassilis Vergotis know all too well. They have lived and worked in various Group locations, and have become culturally adept when it comes to changing their perspective.

They are now based in Chicago, Eschborn, Luxembourg and Singapore – having worked for Deutsche Börse in Frankfurt, London or Prague in the past. They are four of many who seize the chance of working in the foreign parts of the Group’s environment. The reasons for taking such steps have been varied. For some, it was simply out of curiosity about living something and somewhere new; others were drawn to an interesting project that made them pack their bags. What made Heidemarie Seltmann move to Luxembourg? “The canteen offering of sliced mangoes,” she jokes. That’s what she always says before sharing her real reasons – she was offered a new job in quality management where she could make use of her client service expertise. Working between two locations, Luxembourg and Frankfurt, added to the appeal. Vassilis Vergotis fell for the challenge of building a new business segment in Chicago. “It was a very dynamic environment. We had to make quick decisions, find new ways, and needed more spontaneity than I had ever seen in Germany,” he recalls.

Heidemarie Seltmann

Core Markets Development, Business Consulting

Nationality: German
Luxembourg, since 2007
Frankfurt, 2004 to 2007

Vassilis Vergotis

Derivatives Markets Trading, Sales Americas

Nationality: Greek
Chicago, since 2004
Frankfurt, 2000 to 2004

Deutsche Börse Group employees hail from 85 countries and work at 38 locations in 30 nations. The Group’s workforce is as diverse as the markets the company is active in. The employees’ cultural background, training and experience in life shapes the values they adhere to – and the expectations they have of others. In Singapore, Frank Odendall is living diversity every day. His colleagues are from Thailand, Malaysia, Great Britain and Germany. “The differences become more pronounced when people with different cultural backgrounds meet, for example Europeans and Asians, but I enjoy it. We learn a lot from each other because we expose each other to new perspectives and new ways of thinking,” he explains.

Frank Odendall

Derivates Product Development, Product R&D Fixed Income

Nationality: German
Singapore, since 2015
London, 2011 to 2014

Valentina Popescu

IT Infrastructure & Operations, Service Management

Nationality: Romanian
Eschborn, since 2015
Prag, 2011 to 2015

Diverse cooperation raises awareness for both similarities and differences, and furthers flexibility. Mr Odendall, for example, has learned to be more patient. In Asia, he says, it takes more time for people to trust each other, be it colleagues or clients. And in Luxembourg, Ms Seltmann found that German colleagues looking for a solution in meetings always aim for getting to the point quickly, while team members from French-speaking countries like getting into the details and make sure that every aspect is accounted for. She sees that “people are more flexible in an intercultural team when it comes to finding solutions and values, and creating a team culture. It’s a unique chance for growth, not only on a business level, but also personally.”

But the learnings – and teachings – of these globetrotters are not limited to intercultural understanding. Valentina Popescu, who worked in the Prague back office for a client before moving to Eschborn, recalls her situation: “My focus was entirely on that particular client, but when I moved to Eschborn, I saw the big picture. I have got to know Deutsche Börse Group much better since I came here.” Apart from gaining a new perspective, globetrotters help build bridges between Deutsche Börse Group's locations. When they move to a new office, they not only bring with them their work experience, but also knowledge about their previous workplace. They come with a network. When contacts or explanations are required in their new environment, they act as facilitators and “translators”. “My Chicago-based colleagues would like to grow, participate in cross-divisional projects. I know the culture and processes of many locations, and am happy to share my knowledge to help colleagues achieve their goal,” says Mr Vergotis.