Career decisions are some of the most life-defining determinations one can make. They are the culmination of expressing the one’s desires, dreams, goals, and ambitions in life.
This paper is a personal analysis text that explores several issues appertaining to my career life. Its purpose is to assess oneself to gain insights into which the career transfer would be the most appropriate for me. The paper first identifies a multinational corporation that has significant operations outside the US and analyzes the external environment for those foreign markets. The essay then delves deeper into analyzing the cities I may have to live in if I become an expatriate in the selected countries. Lastly, the paper examines an extent of my compatibility with different people and cultures delineating how I can adapt and excel as an expatriate.
Multinational Corporation Choice
The multinational corporation of choice is the Coca-Cola Company. It is one of the largest and most valuable companies in the world (Snowdon 321). It is also one of the most recognizable brands in the globe. It is ranked among top 10 private employers worldwide employing approximately 700,000 individuals. Its popularity has enabled the firm to have a significant operational presence in more than 200 states. Moreover, it has more than 1.9 billion servings on a daily basis spanning 500 sparkling brands and 3800 beverage choices (Snowdon 321). In many countries where Coca-Cola has its significant operations, I am inclined to consider the opportunities in Italy and India.
The company’s subsidiary in Italy is the Coca-Cola Italia. It is one of the biggest beverage organizations in the country. The Coca-Cola operations in Italy span the production, sales, marketing, and distribution of its products within the state. Currently, the firm has six bottling plants in Italy that are collectively hiring 2500 people (Coca-Cola Italia). It also has two large warehouses through which it channels its products. Coca-Cola Italia serves almost 187,000 retail and wholesale clients. These customers, in their turn, sell the corporation’s products to the ultimate buyers (Coca-Cola Italia). Given the extensive profile of the company, there are various positions that are available and interesting to me. For instance, there are the roles of brand managers for various firm’s brands that are being sold in Italy including Sprite, Fanta, Dasani, and Powerade among others.
There are also some managerial opportunities for the product portfolio of local marks as, for example, Amita Juices, Sveva, Toka, and Solaria among others (Coca-Cola Italia). Apart from the brand manager positions, there are as well the roles of supply manager, warehouse administrator, sales executive, and marketing manager.
Coca-Cola Italia, just like any other company in the Italian business environment, is affected by a prevailing political and economic surrounding. Italy has a relatively stable political atmosphere (Landy 282). The only noticeable political threat is posed by some sections of society that are lobbying for the country to exit the EU. The stable political environment guarantees a stable and favorable operational surrounding for business entities. The government, in a bid to comply with the European Union’s standards, is increasingly liberalizing its market. It makes it progressively easier for companies, including MNCs to operate within the country (Ganugi, Grossi, and Ianulardo 147).
The reduction of trade barriers presents an apt opportunity for Coca-Cola to magnify its operations and optimize its penetration in the Italian population made of 60 million people. Additionally, the economic environment in the state is as well accommodative. A primary economic threat is that the country is heavily in debt. It is being currently at a relatively high risk of defaulting. The inflation rates have been in average 1% in the past five years. The quintessential inflation is positive yet being rather low (Ganugi, Grossi, and Ianulardo 160). The companies such as Coca-Cola can immensely benefit from the conducive business environment and political stability.
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The Coca-Cola subsidiary in India is known as the Coca-Cola India Pvt Ltd. It re-entered the Indian market in 1993 and is currently one of the leading beverage firms in the country (Coca-Cola India). Just like Coca-Cola Italia, the subsidiary in India also has an extensive beverage portfolio comprising of Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero, Diet Coke, Fanta, Minute Maid, Fanta, Sprite, and Dasani among many others. As of the end of 2015, India has had 2.6 million retail outlets stocking Coca-Cola products (Coca-Cola India). Directly, the company, through its subsidiary in India, directly employs more than 25,000 people. It further creates the indirect employment for more than 150,000 individuals (Coca-Cola India). Given the extensive operations and market penetration in the country, there are many positions available that I can fill. There are various brand manager’s roles for the more than 300 brands injected into the Indian market. There are also marketing and sales positions in addition to supply and warehouse management ones.
The political environment, just like in Italy, is relatively stable. It is conducive for the subsidiary. The only political threats arise from the conflicts in Kashmir with some terrorist groups and the Pakistani government. Otherwise, there is a democratically elected authority in place. It guarantees a conducive business surrounding. The economic environment also bestows a lot of opportunities for Coca-Cola to expand its operations. The Indian government is also liberalized to optimize foreign direct investments (Barua and Sawhney 670). The economy performance has also been favorable over the past three years being average to the growth rate of 5% (Barua and Sawhney 703). As the economy grows, Coca-Cola India will be better placed to optimize its profitability by taking advantage of the India’s increased disposable income and marginal propensity to consume.
The primary implications for my career development of working in these countries will be strengthening of diverse people’s skills and competencies while working in competitive business environments. Interacting with various individuals in diverse cultural contexts will enhance my personal growth through the development of people’s skills. Additionally, since both economies are vibrant, working in these surrounding should enhance my competencies in sales, marketing, supply or any other occupational sector I will venture into.
Milan is a city I will most likely live in if I choose to work in Italy. Milan is the second largest city of the country after Rome. It is hosting 10 million residents (“Cost of Living in Milan, Italy”). Rome is a political and historical capital. As for Milan it is an undisputed financial and commercial central city of the state that has many subsidiaries for multinational corporations. As such, this capital has a large expatriate community, comprising almost 60% of the total expatriates in Italy (“Cost of Living in Milan, Italy”). Currently, the society constitutes 3% of the total Italian population, which is estimated as 60 million persons (Landy 282). Living in Milan, therefore, presents an apt opportunity to connect and communicate with a large number of expatriates. Some of them are derived from the United States.
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As for the cost of living, Milan is one of the most expensive cities to live in. The prices in it are higher than in most other urban centers in the EU countries. It is also the most expensive city in Italy. Milan was ranked as the 38th centre in the world in 2012 in the Mercer Cost of Living Rankings as being rather expensive. It is representing an improvement from the number 25 in 2011 (“Cost of Living in Milan, Italy”). In 2015, for example, a monthly rent for the furnished house being 900 square feet in a modest area cost nearly $1165 (“Cost of Living in Milan, Italy”). In posh suburbs, the similar apartment is worth $1735. The utilities for a month, including electricity, gas, and heating for two persons would cost around $130. Meanwhile a taxi on a business day would charge nearly $17 (“Cost of Living in Milan, Italy”). It is evident Milan remains one of the most expensive large metropolitans in the world.
I would most likely rent an apartment in one of the nine districts in Milan. The city is divided into nine administrative boroughs known as zones. They include Centro Storico, Stazione Centrale, Citta Studi, and Porta Genova among others. I would most likely live in the neighborhood of Citta Studi, the third zone. It is slightly located on the outskirts of the city and hosts several university campuses. The multiethnic population would help me fit in a quite easy and unlike living in a predominantly Italian region. The area also has a vibrant night life and a lively LGBT scene, which is a testament to the accommodative nature of residents. The zone would suit my assimilation. Milan, in general, and Citta Studi, in particular, has no major safety concerns. There are a few cases of mugging. However, these incidents occur only lately at night while walking alone in the isolated parts of the city (“Cost of Living in Milan, Italy”). Otherwise, the urban centre is relatively safe.
Milan has an extensive transport network. There are several airports, including Malpensa Airport and Linate Airport. They are a primary hub for international and domestic air traffic respectively. There are also train, bus, taxi, and shuttle services. Some parts of the city have special lanes for bikers. I would most likely use the train services since Citta Studi is not far from the central business district. With four meter stations and 17 train lines, the city center is easily accessible (“Cost of Living in Milan, Italy”). As for the entertainment, there are many historical churches, famous restaurants, monuments, and fascinating museums I could visit. Most importantly, I could go to the Giuseppe Meazza stadium to watch the world-renowned football clubs, AC Milan, and Internazionale Milano. Milack does not lack entertainment or recreational spots.
New Delhi is a historical and commercial capital of India. As such, it also has a large expatriate community. The survey conducted in 2014 estimated that there were about 500,000 expatriates in India. Almost 80% of them live in or around New Delhi (“Moving to Delhi”). The others are spread across the other major cities including Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata. New Delhi, unlike most prominent locations around the globe, has a relatively low cost of living. Its prices for entertainment, education, housing, and food are below those ones in most cities in Europe and America. In the survey conducted in 2012, New Delhi ranked as the 113th most expensive urban centre to live in. It is representing a remarkable improvement from the position 141 in 2011 (“Moving to Delhi”). In 2015, a furnished apartment being 900 square feet situated in a modest area cost $384 a month, incredibly cheaper when compared with Milan’s sum of $1165 (“Moving to Delhi”). The expensive one is $546 a month, also being cheaper as compared to Milan’s cost of $1735 monthly. The average price for the utilities including heating, electricity, and gas for two people is $133, with a taxi trip on a business day that is $2.45 for an eight-kilometer ride (“Moving to Delhi”).
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I would most likely live within the central business district. Even though it is crowded in the streets, there are many special housing complexes built to host expatriates in New Delhi. Instead of dwelling in the outskirts and getting stuck in traffic jams everyday going to the destination, it is prudent to live in those houses. The disadvantage lies in the fact that the interaction with the Indian society is limited to these complexes. As such, they create some sense of isolation. One may feel like they are living in a hotel rather than at the real home. There are no significant safety concerns in New Delhi. Just like in Milan, the crime rate is low. Therefore, most of incidents of mugging happen at night (“Moving to Delhi”). Otherwise, the city is relatively safe, especially during the day.
As for the transport, I will use taxis and normal buses because of proximity to the place of accommodation and the workplace. The train transport network could have been a viable alternative. However, it is very slow and crowded. As for a personal entertainment, I would visit many temples that also could double up as historical sites. I could also engage into yoga, Bollywood dancing, and visit theaters as well as cricket grounds.
One of the factors that would be central to my ability to adapt to these foreign settings is my ability to bridge a cultural distance between my culture and foreign ones. To achieve it, I have to assess my background and culture with those customs of the foreign lands I am interested in working in. I am an American at the age of 27 who immigrated to the US in 1992 when I was three years old. Both of my parents are Iranians but have an Armenian origin. The great grandparents were Armenians too. They had to flee the country in 1915 due to the ongoing genocide at that period. They relocated to Iran. Currently, all my relatives are living in the US, except one of my aunts still being in Armenia.
As I have grown in the US culture, the Western customs are a cultural environment I am most comfortable in. Expectedly, my traditions are rather different from that of Italian and Indian ones. If we use Hofstede’s cultural dimension theory, it is apparent that the US culture is fundamentally dissimilar to that of Indians. However, it is a little bit similar to the Italian customs and traditions. The power distance is one of core dimensions in each culture analysis. It denotes an extent to which people accept the inequality in the power distribution between different genders in the society (Hofstede 54). The US culture I am familiar with, just like in Italy, has a low power index. It means that there is almost the equal power distribution between men and women. The Indian culture, though as Mukherjee notes, has a low power distance index with the females playing the second fiddle in comparison with their male counterparts (54).
The US culture has a high index of uncertainty avoidance. The American population and most Western societies including Italy have a low degree of intolerance to ambiguity (Ladegaard 145). The Indian culture has the same index low as the majority of people are comfortable in ambiguous and uncertain situations in this country. The masculinity versus femininity dimension also influences a cultural distance among cultures. It is a degree to which the population is task- or people-oriented (Hofstede 120). The US culture is largely considered masculine as individuals are focused often on their tasks. However, both the Italian and Indian cultures are people-oriented. There are stronger ties between persons there compared to the connections within the United States. It is more likely to find people living with their extended families in Italy and India than in the US. As such, both the Italian and Indian cultures can be described as short-term oriented. The reason is that they value local traditions, although Indians esteem their customs more than the Italians do (Galustyan and Papchenko 38). The US culture, however, is long-term oriented. Most of people there value adaptation and pragmatism as opposed to traditions especially when it comes to solving problems.
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The last major dimension is individualism versus collectivism. The US culture I have grown up in is a largely individualistic community where individuals tend to put their interests first and conceptualize themselves as persons (Hofstede 78). This viewpoint could not have been more different from that in India. The Indian society is largely a collectivist community (Galustyan and Papchenko 37). The interests of individuals there are mostly subservient to those ones of the whole community. Therefore, people there accept themselves as the members of the society first. The Italian culture bridges these two extremes as it borrows some components from both countries. For instance, Italians still express individualistic tendencies in their businesses and workplaces. However, they as well show some soft collectivist tendencies as the extended family is a center of the social structure. It is a primary source of stabilizing influence for its members (Landy 283). The situation is different in the US, as well as in most Western cultures, where the nuclear family is an ideal system.
I have had previous cross-cultural experiences, although not very significant. The reason is that they have not been used in a business or work environment. When I was ten years old, I visited Armenia where I had stayed for some time and interacted with the locals. I have also vacationed in Mexico several times during the summer. I have had extensive interactions with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Therefore, I consider myself sufficiently adaptive and equipped to deal with a culture shock in these two countries. I do not have any family obligations. I do not have a spouse or children. It should streamline my transition and adaptation. I do not have to worry about the extent to which they can adapt or how I need to help them adjust and deal with the culture shock.
Being single, I will have to cope with loneliness in a strange place. I have still to figure out how I will do that. The tentative solution is to keep myself busy and interact with the locals to make some friends. I will especially target at the large expatriate communities in these countries. I am sure I will find several American friends who can help me integrate and settle down there. I am positive that I will enjoy the supply and stock management aspects of working for the subsidiaries. I expect the sales and marketing sides to be demanding especially due to the challenges such as an inevitable culture shock and a language barrier. However, I expect the situation to become easier as I will learn about the foreign cultures and master the local languages.
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It is evident that the Coca-Cola Company is one of the largest private employers and as well one of the most recognizable brands in the world. I will be interested in working in any of its subsidiaries around the globe. After analyzing the available opportunities in Italy and India, the living conditions in their capitals, and even the cultural distances I am certain I would prefer to work for the Italian subsidiary. It presents the same job opportunities as its Indian counterpart does. The deal breaker is an ability to reconcile the issues of living conditions and make the cultural integration easier. In Italy, the life is not rather encouraging, especially concerning prices. However, living there requires a little cultural integration and assimilation in comparison with India. The benefits of an easier adaptation in this country, in my opinion, outweigh the advantages of the cheaper cost of living in India.