Christian Grajek: From Sparkasse Leipzig to Vietnam

In 2016 Christian Grajek transitioned from Sparkasse Leipzig to German Sparkassenstiftung -initially as a short-term expert in Rwanda, Eastern Africa. Since 2019, he has been applying his diverse experience as our Regional Coordinator in Southeast Asia.

1. In which institution of the Sparkassen Finance Group did you start your career and what brought you to the Sparkasse?

I started working at Sparkasse Leipzig in 2006. I was attracted by the idea of working at the largest regionally based financial institution in my adopted home city of Leipzig.  At the same time, the Sparkasse gave me the opportunity to combine work in auditing, controlling and finance – topics I focused on during my studies. Last but not least, the good reputation of Sparkasse for its social commitment also was a deciding factor.

2. How long did you work for this institution? Please describe your Sparkassen-career briefly.

After a few years in the audit department and participation in an internal development program, I accepted a position in the organizational area of the institution. As a project manager, I was allowed to accompany interesting projects; my portfolio covered risk management, controlling, regulatory reporting, consumer protection, information technology, retail banking and digital banking. I really enjoyed gaining a broad insight into a wide range of complex issues at the bank. I left at the end of 2015 to take a short sabbatical and then expand my professional environment.

3. When did you start your career at German Sparkassenstiftung and what motivated you to work in international cooperation?

I went to Rwanda for German Sparkassenstiftung back at the beginning of 2016. I was looking forward to combining my private interest for the African continent with an exciting assignment in a digitalization project for microfinance institutions. Originally intended as a short-term position, my assignment was later transformed into a long-term deployment and the tasks were extended to Burundi. I was not only able to gain a lot of valuable experience in East Africa, but also made good friends in the team. At the beginning of 2019, I followed the next professional challenge and accepted my current position as Regional Coordinator for South East Asia with responsibility for Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Again, I really enjoy working with the team and the tasks.

4. What valuable experience have you taken with you from your work at Sparkassen Finance Group to your project region?

In addition to specialist knowledge, there is one thing I have learned above all: systems and processes are important, but in the end, it is the acting individual person who decides. The larger and more complex the organization, the more important it is to have functioning personal networks. This applies to customers as well as to employees and project partners. Surprisingly, this realization is sometimes greater for us Europeans than for people from Africa and Asia, where personal connections generally carry more weight. In this respect, learning from each other works in both directions.

You can learn more about our projects in Southeast Asia here.

Deutsche Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation e.V.
Simrockstraße 4, 53113 Bonn

Fon: +49 228 9703-0
Fax: +49 228 9703-6613 o -6630

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