TRAINEE SUCCESS STORY
Caroline Reber, former SACC trainee, Google strategist, and author
Originally from southern Sweden, Caroline began a six-month internship in Atlanta in September 2013 after finishing her studies at Stockholm School of Economics. In a recent interview with eCurrents, she explained how important the experience was for her. In Georgia, she interned for Global Atlanta, a small online newspaper with five employee. She had heard about the SACC Trainee Program from a friend who worked at SACC in Washington, DC and then found the opportunity in Atlanta through the SACC network. At Global Atlanta, Caroline was brought on to work with sales. She assisted with mapping out new prospective customers, contacting them, and holding meetings with them. While in Atlanta, she valued working for a small company. The advantage, she explained, was that everyone got to do a little of everything and that she got to learn a lot by sitting in on projects outside of her area of core responsibility.
Her favorite aspect of the job was its international focus. According to her, Global Atlanta serves as Atlanta's international hub, giving her the opportunity to meet and network with many international businesses and chambers of commerce. Looking back after several years of professional experience, she says that the internship helped her a lot by giving her the opportunity to learn about the sales process in another country. In retrospect she especially appreciates meeting business people from so many different cultural backgrounds and thereby gaining valuable insight into doing business in different cultures.
One cultural difference that she noticed between Sweden and the U.S. was in regard to the concept of "Jantelagen," the idea in Sweden of not drawing attention to oneself. After several years of international experience, Caroline says that a reserved, traditionally-Swedish attitude can be disadvantageous in business, especially in large international companies where it is important to make your voice heard. While Caroline thoroughly enjoyed her time in the U.S., she did miss some things from Sweden. In addition to missing her friends and family one important thing that she missed was Swedish filter coffee. With some humor she says that she was shocked when, upon arriving at the office in Atlanta, she found out that they did not even have a coffee machine.
Caroline can offer important advice to young Swedes thinking about interning in the U.S. She warns against narrowing your focus and search too much, both in terms of job sector and geographic area. Instead, she recommends a conscious effort to stay open to new and different opportunities, saying, "It is easy to narrow your focus too much, without knowing what opportunities are out there."
After her internship in Georgia, Caroline went directly on to work for Google at their European headquarters in Ireland. At Google Caroline works in sales as an Account Strategist for clients in the Swedish market. She is very happy at Google and plans on staying with the company, while possibly transferring to another location sometime in the future. This past January, Caroline published her first book, Life Happens, which is based on her own experience and as she describes, is fifty-percent fiction, fifty-percent reality. The book is about two girls who are best friends that end up not speaking for over ten years until one of them is diagnosed with a serious disease. The story is about them trying to figure out what happened, whether they can mend their relationship, and how they can move forward.
You can buy her new book here.