I am halfway through my third and last internship of the Roland Berger Gap Year Program: Roland Berger Dubai. In my last blog I wrote about the huge differences between the Roland Berger Amsterdam office and the scale-up I worked for, but surprisingly big differences exist between the Roland Berger Amsterdam and the Roland Berger Dubai office as well.
Known as a real expat-city, Dubai is a great city to work in as a foreigner, without feeling like a foreigner. After six weeks of being here, I understand what brings people here and mostly, what makes them want to stay. Projects in the Middle East region are generally quite demanding, but very impactful and rewarding. Additionally, working in Dubai means working in diverse and ambitious teams.
Upon arrival at the office, I heard that I was staffed on a project on social commerce, an increasingly popular combination of e-commerce and social media. After a week of hopelessly reading up, I got to understand the features of social commerce, the different business models, and the market dynamics. The project focuses on East-Africa and as our client is based in Kenya, I even got to travel to Kenya with my team to join a client workshop, one of the highlights of my time in Dubai. After the client workshop, we drove to a nearby market and were able to get some useful information from local vendors.
Working in Dubai also means living in a city with impressive skylines, Middle-Eastern culture (including Ramadan), high temperatures and swimming pools, all in the middle of the desert. Together with my fellow (Gap Year) interns I spent hours relaxing at pools, strolling around malls, lounging in bars, eating in restaurants and driving around the country. Dubai turned out to offer a diverse range of weekend activities that made getting back to work after a weekend extra difficult.
Five more weeks are left to discover and enjoy this interesting city and country, struggle with the heat, laugh with colleagues and work on consultancy slides, after which I will go back to Amsterdam. Here, all Gap Year interns get together during a closing event to share stories and officially end this great Gap Year. Afterwards, I will go back to university to get a Master’s degree. I am grateful for the past year and will take with me all the memories, struggles, friendships, skills and wins.
Roland Berger, I’ll be back!