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Here is the Full Cademix Interview on the Success Story of Jackie Genbo Chen. His career journey started from China, then moving to Austria, working in several Prof. Zarbakhsh Project, and landing on an industrial positions in AVL and Tectos GmbH.
The Interview was originally recorded as an Audio Track and it is available on these Links.
Interview Part 1: Background and Career: https://youtu.be/UvpnU1xsc1Q
Interview Part 2: About the Work: https://youtu.be/AiAC8cDOeHk
Interview Part 3: Life Style in Austria: https://youtu.be/r_GSFtWvy3k
Interview Part 4: Jackie’s Career Story in Chinese: https://youtu.be/Br9UGVXxpe4
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Thank you very much, Jackie, for joining this interview. I think this is quite an interesting career that you had. You started in Austria. We know that you came from Grading, is I think the name of the city, and you came from the south of China. There you had the experience of seeing, and talking to tourists who visited China. So maybe you can tell this story from your point of view, just from the beginning? How was the situation that you start thinking that’s now I should move to Europe to study abroad?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Okay. So at the beginning, I got some news that in Europe, especially in Germany, or Austria, The mechanical engineering is good to learn. So I’m trying to move here. But the problem is the language. I need to learn German first. At the beginning I cannot speak any German. So, the first year, I came here, I learned German every day. At the end I need to pass B1 or B2 level of German, so that I can continue to study in the University in Austria.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Jackie, If I remember well in the beginning you had some courses like mathematics courses with me. We had the course in German, but you were talking to me in English I think sometimes or it was a mixture of English and German. It was quite interesting to me. Can you describe it from your point of view, how did you manage to speak both languages at the same time and how did you manage the situation in the beginning?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Oh, actually, for me, I think it’s not enough time to study perfect German in one year. So for me, English is better than German now, or at the time, but in this moment. Both of the language could be worked for working in communication everywhere.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): This is I think something very important that you just mentioned, you don’t need to be very perfect in German just like you don’t need to be perfect in English in order to communicate, but you have this knowledge that’s helping you to work in Austria at the moment. So, moving to the current situation that you are you’re right now in Tectos GmbH, you’re working in Graz, so is the language that you have is still a barrier to you, or you just say okay the level of the English or German that I have is enough. And I can communicate. How is the situation there?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: I think, because my company Tectos it’s a small company, There are only 15 employees in my company. So, normally in the office we speak German. But if we have some tourists, or visitors from another company from another different countries. We also need to speak English. So actually in the Office normal days, we speak German. And some special days, we also need English. So both of the language in such a small company are very important. But I did my master’s thesis in AVL. That is different, because in the office, most of the people are speaking in English.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): That’s actually quite interesting, because many people go into some industry sometimes they say that oh for this industry they need German language, but you see that some large companies, I would say for example Infineon or some companies like Siemens, AVL.. they have this culture of speaking in English, in many meetings. So as soon as one person is speaking English or basically put it the other way around. As soon as one person is in the meeting who cannot speak German, they are totally okay and they’re so switch it to English. So from that point of view, AVL is a good example of the companies that have this kind of culture.
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: That’s True. That’s True.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Jackie, Let’s go to the time that we had a project together in Villach. I remember you came and said that you want to do some project. Can you tell this story from your point of view.
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Yeah, I remember the first project or the first big project that I did with you, It’s about my bachelor thesis, with the company Lam Research. At the beginning, I had totally no idea what should I do. So you give me really more information and good ideas, so I can following. If I have some questions, we can find it together, we can discuss it together, we can communicate it. Even there we visit the company together to go there to present our tasks, and our ideas, at that moment. I think that’s was really good experience for me.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): So, the project that we did at that time was finite element project and you were working in CFD. And the other project that we did on Blender. You were also using the blender for making realistic simulations or let’s say realistic animations. It was something between simulation and animation. So this was quite nice project that we did together for Lam Research. What was your experience at that time? I think before that time, you were student. And at that point, you’ve become a kind of researcher. So how was this kind of feeling in the beginning to think that.. oh, I’m not student anymore. I’m doing research, or what was your experience during this project?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Yes, Yes, at the beginning I’m only the University students. So everything when I should do, I need to ask the professor in the university, but after that I need to find my own way to work by myself to do the research to learning by myself and to do everything by myself. We did also some communication together. So I think, to learn from yourself or by yourself, is the biggest difference between University and research.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Exactly. When it comes to the learning or during the project, of course, you’re not a student anymore. You need to work like an independent researcher. Okay. Let me go to another important question. You were living in Villach, which is actually quite small city, and now you move to a larger city. So how do you compare the small cities and the large cities?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Actually, in my study direction, I learning, mechanical engineering. The place what I studied is special for the electronic engineering. So there will be less chance for me, so I decided to move to another city, a big city. There are more opportunities for me to find a good job, and also in these kind of the cities, there are more big companies, they need people employees like me, so I decided to move from the small city to the big city. I think if you move to the big city, of course you get more chance to find a better job. For some small city, they have only one or two directions ( special directions ) for this kind of technology, or for this kind of engineering to do this kind of job.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): I totally understand. I mean you’re talking about for example, the city Villach. It has one major company that is Infineon. And most of the other companies are also like subsidiary companies of Infineon. So if there are some jobs, there are jobs related to electrical engineering, and as a mechanical engineer, you might have some job opportunities, but the opportunity is not that much. For that reason you want to go to the larger city, so you get a diversity of different jobs and different companies working there.
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Yes. And there is another reason is that in the big city… Normally this kind of company are international, so they will be having some chance to connect China and Europe here, so maybe these kind of company need a Chinese to work with them. So I think there is also a good chance for me to find these kind of positions. In these kind of companies, they need a Chinese to work with them.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): This is exactly one of the next questions, I had. At the moment you’re working in a company that has international relationships, even with China. What was the effect of that on your employment because at the moment one of your tasks is to go to China to do some activities. Could you describe it on your side?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Yes, like last year, we did an expo in Shanghai, to show our technology in Shanghai, so we can get more chance to find another business in China, and you know, in China, now, we have more opportunities to find some company as a partner. So that’s one of the reasons we want to open in the Chinese market. In the future we can sell our products to sell our technology to China, and also this year we are also planning to do another export in China in Shanghai.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): This is actually quite an interesting, both for the students coming from China to Europe, and also for companies who are here in Europe and you want to start a business in China. Let’s talk about the second one first. There are many companies here, who wants to start a business in China and they don’t have that much idea about the Chinese market. They start putting some videos on the YouTube, and they think that Chinese prospect might see those videos. So can you talk a little bit about the marketing in China, if you are a service company in Europe and you want to get into Chinese market so what do you think they should do in order to enter the Chinese market.
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Actually, when we have some projects between China and here, because of their cultures are different, and the language are different, sometimes when we discussion with each other, we will make some misunderstanding. In case to reduce this kind of misunderstanding, we need how to say, a bridge to be connect China and Europe to make the misunderstanding less and less. So we need this kind of employee like me, a Chinese who can speak German, English and Chinese. Sometimes to do some communication with the project. so that these kind of companies, they need these kind of people, to make them fluently in the future.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): This is exactly the opportunities for students when they come to Europe. When the Chinese students who come to Europe, they might ask, okay, where can I find the job? And sometimes the job is clear. The job is for all of those companies in Europe who want to have some kind of export or relationship or cooperation with China. This is actually a huge market for Chinese students to find a job with those export companies. What is your suggestion to Chinese students who are searching for a job in Europe?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: So in my opinion at the beginning, you don’t need so perfect in your language. But you need at least to understand what they are talking about. And the second point is that if you are a technical person, you need to learn more details about the technicals so that it can be easier to find a job here. So, your language, you don’t need so perfect. And the second point, you should focus on some technology or technical points to find these kind of job in the future. So this will be easy for you to find it. Of course, if you have skills (software skills) for the company said, this will be great for you. If you want to find a good job, you need more working experiments in the beginning or before, find a job, but for the international students like me, our language are not so perfect. So we need to find some small projects that we worked with our professor, or we can also find some part-time job to do some research at the beginning. to learn more about working experience so that you can find a job easily in the future.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): And of course very important is that the Institute, or the pathway program should also be open to the international students. Sometimes the companies or the universities are not really open to give the jobs, or to give the open project to the students, especially coming from China. So at least, we tried to give the opportunities to the student coming from everywhere.
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: The opportunities for doing some projects at the beginning it’s very important, in my opinion,
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Yea, yeah Of course.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Let’s talk about the kind of job that you’re doing, because you’re working in a company that is very specialized on finite element simulation and engineering services so your job title is related to finite element simulation engineer and this was exactly what we were working in the beginning and now you are moved to exactly the same kind of position that you are really working during the study. How is the job at the moment? Can you describe it what you’re doing exactly.
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Yes, yes, yes. So my main task for my job is to do some finite elements simulation with software abacus. and my second main task is to running the multi body simulation with Adams. and my third job is to organize or to communicate between China and Europe to make less misunderstanding when we have a project with China. At the beginning I had no experience with the finite elements simulation of abacus. In the university what I learned was ANSYS Workbench, I had the opportunities that I did my master’s thesis in AVL, so that I learned Abacus there That was one of my advantage at that moment, to finish my master’s thesis in company and to learn some software there so that in the future I can find my job easily
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): How difficult was it to move from one software to the other software?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Actually it’s not so difficult to move from one software to the other software. For example there are so many software with 3D drawing, which is called Inventor, Catia, Siemens NX, and so on, or Solid Works. So, all of them are 3D drawing software, but the technology behind them are the same so it’s not very difficult from one software to move to the second software. You just to know how to click the bottoms and to find the correct bottoms in the right position that will be easy for you to know this software actually behind this software or behind the finite element software, the theories are the same. The only difference is the surface, it’s different. So for me it’s not very difficult to move from one software to the other software.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Let’s talk about the industrial jobs at the moment. You’ve been working in several companies, and you’ve been involved in the different jobs and opportunities available in the companies. Can you say how is the situation in different companies, let’s say in AVL or Tectos, if they want to employ another technical person – fresh graduates. Right now that you are inside of the company, probably you have some insider information.
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: So, actually now I’m working with Tectos. So there are also some new employees come to us every year. In my opinion, most of the new employees they also get the news from those who worked with Tectos before. So the relationship between the human beings, it’s very easy to find a job in the future in my opinion.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): It’s actually quite an interesting thing because, many people think that all of the jobs are advertised Online. In reality we see that the relations that the companies or individuals have, includes more information that what it really goes online. In many cases the companies coming to us and say that we want to have special engineer in that area. Can you make sure that we will get enough applicants? So this kind of sourcing services that we do is something quite interesting for some companies. Comparing your situation with the other students coming from China or let’s say, other graduates from China, Your situation was quite good. But do you know stories of the other people whether they found the job whether all of the Chinese who came to Europe they found a job or not?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: I think for the other people, they made the mistake is that they just wanted to study or to do research only in the school. So, that is not enough. Because if you want to find a job in Austria, the companies will not see so many experience that you worked in school. They prefer to see you have some working experience out of the school. For example working as a part time job in some company to learn something, or to do some research in this kind of company or the organization. They’d like to know you are not a student, you are a worker, you are researcher. So that they can accept to working with them. That’s one of my opinion. So this kind of guys, it’s hard for them to find a job, because they have less working experience . They have only the study experience. That’s it.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Yeah, that’s exactly the kind of the problem that we see that many people especially coming from China, they only have the experience of studying at the University, and right after the University, they expect to find a job in industry. and it doesn’t work like this. You always need to have some work-related experience. The point is that for having a work-related experience, you need to find a job. So the point is that if you don’t have it, they don’t accept you. So this is a kind of a closed loop. So, somehow you need to break the loop and start working in some organization, I mean just like what we offer, was a kind of project, so probably other people need to find that kind of organization who offer project for the early graduates. That is actually something that the people usually need. Talking about interviews and recommendation letters and so on that you had, you were quite successful in getting to interviews and you had many job opportunities, and many positive answers. What was the difference between your application and the other Chinese students or the other Chinese graduates in this program, just like you. I mean there are so many people coming from China. But they are not able to find a good job, after their graduation. So what was different in your case in compare to the other Chinese graduates?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Yes, the first point is that you need to do more some projects before you find a job, or you need more activities to know more technologies, so that it will be easier to find job in the future. Then you need more patience to learn, to study some special software skills, so it also could be the advantage of yourself to find a job easily. I found a job that I’m working now, the employer saw it in my CV that I did so many projects. For example I did the CFD simulation with you as my bachelor thesis. and also I did some 3D printing technology project with you. That’s also the advantage to find a job at that moment, so, I if have more opportunities to do more kind of project to learn more computer skills to do more activities with a group or the organization, the company saw it in your CV and saw it your working experience, they will think that you did many project, you must know more working experience. So they would like to accept you to join their team.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): That’s exactly something that many students missing. Because they only have done some courses during the university, and then they start immediately applying for jobs. so what is really missing for many students is this project – real project after the graduation. And of course, there are many organizations, we are also doing this. And this could help graduate to find a job better. Speaking between English and German sometimes you say that Your German is also quite as good as your English, so I would like to switch to German so that our audience also hear how do you speak German. So, wenn wir jetzt auf Deutsch switchen, (So, if we switch to German now,) und wenn ich auf Deutsch was frage, (and if I’d ask something in German,) hätte ich gerne wissen, wie die Situation aussieht? (I’d like know how the situation look like?) wie Du die Arbeit hier in Österreich gefunden hast? (what do you think about working here in Austria?) und vielleicht kannst Du was in die Richtung erzählen. (and maybe you can tell something along those lines.)
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Ja, ich glaube, in meiner Idee ist das.. (Yes, I believe in my opinion that.. ) Du sollte mindest Englisch zum können. (You should be able to speak at least English) Das heisst in der Büro, normalerweise die Leute sprechen Englisch und Deutsch. (That means in the office, people usually speak English and German.) Aber hauptsächlich die leute sind auch Englisch oder Deutsch, sprechen Beides. (But mostly the people speak both English and German.) In normale Zeit, wir sprechen Deutsch. (in normal time, we speak German.) Aber, wenn die Kunde kommt, wir sprechen auch Englisch zusammen. (But when the customer comes, we also speak in English together.)
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Jackie, noch eine Frage … (Jackie, one more question …) Redest Du auch bezüglich die Finite Elemente Simulation, (Are you also talking about finite element simulation,) und unterschiedliche wissenschaftliche Themen auch auf Deutsch? (and different scientific topics also in German?) oder sprichst Du normalerweise auf Englisch, wenn es zu wissenschaftliche Themen oder Engineurwesen Themen geht? (or do you normally speak in English when it comes to scientific or engineering issues?)
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Ach so. In der Besprechung, wir diskutieren mit Deutsch. (Well, in the meetings, we discuss in German.) Wenn wir in Gruppe zum diskutieren manchmal … (Sometimes when we are discussing in the group) Wir haben Leute kommen auch aus … (We have people originally from other countries,) Er kann nur im Englisch zum sprechen. Dann wir werden Englisch zusammen nach ihnen. (He is only available to speak in English, so we will all use English with them)
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): okay, Alles Klar (OK, All right) Let’s switch back to English. I think the audience understood. Basically you don’t need to be speaking perfectly in English.
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: That’s Right
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): You also don’t need to speak perfect German. I mean this is Europe. People speaking lots of languages and people speaking two to three languages in many cases, actively used during the working time. and this is totally ok. I mean, people are really knowledgeable about that and people really acknowledge if you understand the second language but shouldn’t be a kind of criteria so you better focus on the project and the expertise
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): You’ve been in Europe for several years. How is the student life? How is the working life from a Chinese perspective?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Yeah. So actually in the in the student life what I did from bachelor and the master It’s quiet in Austria, not so hurried every day. Sometimes every week I just need three days to go to the University to study, and the other times, I can learn by myself or I can do whatever I want. play some games to relax, drinking some beers with my friends. The working life it’s a little bit different because you have less time to do your hobbies. You have only the night time and the weekend do to something what you want to do. I think in Europe for working it’s relaxed not so hurried like in China. because you know in China some of the company in different kind of area, They should work on Saturday. Sometimes Sunday, they also need to work. But here, if you don’t work as the supermarket or restaurant for the normal company .. You just working from Monday to Friday. That’s the one of the reason I prefer to work in Europe. You get more time to relax. Only from Monday to Friday. And weekend you can do whatever you want. You can go climbing the mountain to visit the views, And by the way, the views in Austria is really good. And the air and the sky are also quite nice, because there are more jungles in Austria. You can see more natural things, not like in the big cities in China like Peking, Shanghai. It’s full of people. And the people in Austria is of course less than China.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): I think this is also a long touristic journey. Sometimes the people say that the study and tourism. So sometimes mix of tourism, experience with the studying together. So what is your experience of comparing China climate with the European climate?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: I need to say, in China of course there so many tourist cities, which are also not bad. But in Austria you can see more jungles or more natural things. Like me I’m living in the south of China. I’ve never seen snow or I just seen one or two times snowing in my city. So I moved to Austria. Every year I can see the snowing there. I love snows, But not like so cold in the winter, because all the flats, they have the heating. So it’s not like my home town, there is no heating and also very cold in the winter. So I preferred this weather here and it make me comfortable and good seeing and I of course while you climb the mountain in Austria, you can see many things you can never seen in China.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Very Good. Let’s talk about the differences between China and in Europe. It’s not always about the language. Sometimes people talking about a different culture. Can you mention a few of those differences? A kind of cultural differences between China and Europe, or mainly let’s say German-speaking areas?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Okay. That’s I think the working culture or the working … it’s not so similar between China and Europe here. Because you in China your leaders were always pushing you pushing you pushing you. But in Austria, they don’t push you so much. Just at the end they will say, did you finish this project or not? If not how much time do you need more? So I also made this kind of mistake at the beginning. For example, there is one of the Chinese employer in China. He always pushing me every day to find some solution for them. So at the beginning, I always to find the people who can solve the problems to him in our office. But at the end, the boss said. You don’t need to answer the guys who is from China every time. You just give the task to another guys, so he can help me to answer the question to the Chinese sides. So I think it’s a little bit different culture between China and in here. So it’s like in China, you need to working very hurried, very fast. But in Europe, you need just working comfortable. You don’t need to working so hurried every day. It’s very relaxed here, I think.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): This is of course correct. I mean, this is something of course it’s different from one country to the other in Europe. But at least in the German-speaking area in Germany in Austria and Switzerland, and partially in some neighboring countries … the situation is like this that the employers give you some freedom, to work on the project in a relaxed way. So working in a relaxed situation on the project might be beneficial for you and also for the employer, because then you have more focus on solving the problem. It’s not about the amount of the work. It’s not about how fast you work. It’s about the effectivity. And for that reason the quality of the work and being effective is more important. All these Central Europe is about the quality. And that is actually what is different than working hard and working a lot, which is actually the main part of the China. But apart from that what are the other differences, when it comes to let’s say after work culture?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: We also had some activities after job. For example after finished the whole week job. Sometimes, on the weekend we went to some bar to drink some beers together in the evening. We talked some stories on our sides. We can also play some games together, play some sports. did some sports in the weekend, climbed the mountains for example. I think it’s really relaxing. In my company, we did also some barbecues in the afternoons on Fridays or Thursdays, Finished some big projects. So we celebrate it together. It’s like a big family.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Yeah, that kind of excursion that comes at the end of some project is also quite interesting. Jackie, did you have the opportunity to have the Mitarbeiter Gespräch or the Staff Apprasal so far? or this was not yet happened to you?
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: I think this year this… because now, it’s beginning of the year, it’s January a At that moment, I did my vacation. When I (came) back to the company, So, our boss talked to us what we should do this year, and what we are going to finish; some project, and how many employer we are going to get more in this year, and what is the next step for our global goal in this year and how many export what we should do in the future this year, something like that.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Ok, so, you had already a general discussion. But this was not specific for you, for your specific goals.
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Yes. It was for all employees. It’s not special for me.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Of course this kind of stuff appraisal, there will come in a private meeting. Usually between employers (or the boss) and the employee. and of course we can talk about it, so that you can get prepared on that. If you do achieve your goal during the year, usually you can ask for a raise. So your salary will be increased. This is actually the important point how you manage a kind of stuff appraisal. And this is very important that you you mention that these goals that were defined in the beginning, you achieved this goal, this goal, and you have also your personal plan for the next year. So this will help you to define the specific goals, and at the end of the year, when everything is perfectly done, you usually get an appraisal – A kind of increase in your salary when the goals are done. Maybe later we can talk about this.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Thank you very much.
Jackie (Genbo) Chen: Thank you for this interview. For me also I learned a lot. And I think we can talk about our next task and what we are going to do in the future.
Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh (Cademix): Yeah, Of course, we will continue the collaboration any way.
okay thank you very much. okay then talk to you later. Thank you. Bye for now.