Ebba is a Swedish trainee at gatc LP, a corporate member at SACC-GA. She has been with the company since September 2017. The original plan was to stay in Atlanta for a year, but that plan quickly changed into 1.5 years. Ebba is mainly working with gatc’s online marketing and digital presence and is in charge of their social media activities, but also assists with business development and market research.
Why did you choose to do a traineeship in the U.S?
I grew up in the state of Washington and lived there for 7 years so I’ve always felt at home here in the U.S. After attending college in South Carolina as an exchange student for almost a year, I wanted to come back to the South and found this opportunity through SACC and felt like it was meant to be.
What interested you in doing your traineeship with gatc?
My position is oriented towards marketing and business development, and since I have my academic background within marketing management, I wanted to get hands-on experience. It felt like the perfect fit and I also really liked gatc’s business model.
Can you tell us about gatc’s business?
gatc helps foreign companies (mainly from Europe) to establish and expand their business on the U.S market. We have been around in the U.S. for 35 years and have successfully established over 200 companies here.
What are the major challenges for businesses that are entering the U.S. market?
That’s a big question, but off the top of my head I would say that we have seen that people think it’s easier to establish business here than it actually is. The culture differences shouldn’t be underestimated. Perhaps you are familiar with some aspects of American culture through personal experience, but the business culture, banking systems, bureaucracy and business mentality can be quite different. We also see that foreign companies are sometimes not aware of the many state differences.
Have you noticed any cultural differences between doing business in Europe and the U.S?
Yes, I have. Americans don’t have the same distinction between work and free time. Also, the vacation and maternity leave regulations are more generous in Europe. Another thing I have noticed is that the American saying, “good is good enough” is something that many people live by here, making them very efficient. Europeans are often more detail oriented which can be time-consuming. People here are better at small talk and often start their meetings taking some time to talk about something else than business, which is usually not the case in Europe.
As a recent student at a Swedish University, what is your contribution to gatc, a U.S. based company?
We are targeting more Scandinavian based companies now, so my understanding of the Swedish community and how Swedish people prefer to be approached is valuable. Coming here as a student, you have updated knowledge and recent insights in new theories that you are able to apply. I really feel that I get to use my knowledge in digital marketing.
What has been your most valuable experience as a Swedish trainee?
I have really valued the opportunity to get hands-on experience of conducting business in the U.S. My supervisor has given me a lot of freedom to participate in various events, and I’ve also gotten the opportunity to take charge of my own projects. On a personal level, it has definitely been a learning experience to adapt to a new culture. Even though I was here as a student 2016/2017, I am now living here long-term and get to connect with different kinds of people with various backgrounds. The South also taught me that it’s possible to eat chicken and waffles together, haha.