The EMBA Encouraged me to Take this Step

New York
Marvelling at the Empire State Building, a walk in Central Park and a ride over the Brooklyn Bridge. For RoBe alumnus David Hehlen, this is reality. He has been working as a Corporate Advisor at UBS in New York since November 2022. In this article he tells us what it means to work abroad and how the RoBe EMBA prepared him for the adventure.

Hehlen advises and accompanies companies on their way to the USA. “From Swiss start-ups to multinationals, we are the local point of contact. We arrange contacts, share our experience and help in the area of banking where we can,” says Hehlen about his work. He previously worked at UBS in Switzerland and had successfully completed the RoBe EMBA in 2022. UBS has desks on location around the world and regularly looks for interested individuals who dare to take the step abroad.

Chocolate, Cheese and Watches – As a Swiss in the USA

“Compared to New York, Zurich is a village,” says Hehlen, describing his first experience in the big city. “If you want to go jogging in the forest, you have to plan this trip longer. Here, I can’t just take a short trip up the Utliberg,” he adds. As part of the RoBe EMBA, Hehlen has already spent four weeks in Rochester. Although Rochester is not comparable to the city of New York, this stay helped him to get a feel for the USA and also encouraged him to tackle this change. After all, moving and working in another country is always a challenge and requires courage and openness – but also offers a lot.

Fortunately, Switzerland has a good reputation in the USA. People associate it with “chocolate, cheese and watches”. Americans are known for a warm welcoming culture and are interested in people from other countries. “In New York, I am often approached on the street. I get into conversation very quickly. In contrast to Switzerland, people here have much fewer inhibitions,” says Hehlen.

In addition, there is a fundamentally positive attitude of people in the USA. “Everything is ‘great’ and ‘wonderful’. This makes it easy to connect with people,” says Hehlen. And the attitude is also reflected in a greater willingness to take risks. “In the US, people are much quicker to just try something, whereas in Switzerland we would probably do a lot more clarification beforehand for the same project,” says Hehlen.

The RoBe’s management tools and network in the luggage

“The EMBA helped me to take this step,” says Hehlen about his decision to accept the job in the USA. In addition to the four-week stay in Rochester, which is included in the EMBA program, Hehlen was also able to take away a lot from the continuing education in terms of content. In particular, he remembers Professor Marc Gruber’s “Where to play” concept. It is a method that helps leaders prioritize ideas and decide which should be pursued and which should not. Because Hehlen has a lot of freedom in his new position, as well as the space to try new things, he can use “where to play” regularly.

“Of course, it also doesn’t hurt to have a degree that is well-known and has a good reputation in the U.S.,” Hehlen says. Furthermore, he was able to build a solid network during his EMBA studies. Some of the fellow students from his EMBA class will even come to visit him in the US.

Ready for the international adventure

“Be open-minded, approach things positively and accept defeat. Everything doesn’t always have to be perfect,” is Hehlen’s advice to anyone who also aspires a job abroad. An experience he recommends to all “You can only grow. Working abroad opens up perspectives and shows you that things can work differently than in Switzerland.” In this sense, further education such as the RoBe EMBA can be a door opener that contributes to the fulfillment of the dream of an attractive job abroad.