Working abroad

Interview with Markus Schmauder, LBBW

The Head of  Trade Finance for Bavaria, Saxony and South/East Wuerttemberg spoke to us about current trends among German companies abroad.

„Jede Kultur ist anders. im Ausland arbeiten und leben verändert den Blick auf’s Land massiv. In Deutschland schauen wir gerne auf die Risikoseite, die US-Amerikaner haben ganz klar die Chancen im Blick. Dies mit Neugier und Offenheit zu erleben, eröffnet ganz neue Herangehensweisen“, sagt Markus Schmauder. Ein Interview aus der Reihe #peopleinournetwork.

Dear Markus, what fascinates you in your job?

That’s an easy question, I am fascinated with internationality! When I was a child and whenever school allowed it, I accompanied my father, who worked for a printing company, on his journeys to trade fairs I was in Hongkong, Brazil, Malaysia and Singapore – and it had always been clear to me that I wanted to live and spend some time working abroad one day. In 2010 I got the opportunity with LBBW, so my family and me moved to New York. For the next five years,  I headed the Corporate Desk and Institutional Banking at LBBW New York Branch and provided our financial instruments mainly to the American subsidiaries of German companies.

I am very happy when I can show our products and competencies to our international clients – and when they make use of it.

When did you hear about the German Centres for the first time?

I heard about the German Centres in the early 2000s, when I was a corporate advisor in Böblingen. I had a customer who developed production sites, that time the first common one for Daimler and Chrysler in China. Right before his departure to China, we had a chat and I invited him to visit German Centre Beijing. A week later he called me and told me that he had rented an office at the German Centre for his local project team.

Until today, I am proud that we have this product “beyond banking” and provide a platform, where companies easily and quickly find know-how, space and networks that help to navigate in a foreign country. The client did not expect that – and I was really happy about this eye-opening-experience.

Which are the most important changes in working abroad currently?

The disrupted supply chains and the question of where can I sell my product when markets collapse are causing real stress. The supply chains are no longer about the price, but about the much more existential question of whether I can get a part at all. Sales is about opening up new markets and diversifying, because the goal is still to utilize existing production facilities to capacity and to preserve jobs.

A lot of advice, expert knowledge and country know-how is necessary and I see many companies, especially small and medium-sized ones, who currently have little capacity and their own know-how for this. When working abroad, you will figure out that one thing has been working quite well for a long time, and especially in the German Centres. It is the exchange, mutual support and cooperation between the German companies that have their offices there. I believe that we will see this much more here in Germany in the futur. Companies that have previously seen each other as competitors will look for solutions together to deal with the big global challenges.

About Markus Schmauder

Curiosity and openness drive Markus Schmauder’s passion for consulting internationally active companies at LBBW. He did an apprenticeship at LBBW, followed by a university degree in business administation at Universität Hohenheim and Fachhochschule Nürtingen, paralleled with a working student activity. In 2000, he started a traineeship in LBBW’s corporate customer business in Böblingen and consulted many medium-sized companies in the region. Markus was always keen on working abroad and in 2010, he had the opportunity to head the Corporate Desk and Institutional Banking team at LBBW New York branch. Here, he accompanied the activities of German companies in the United States until 2015. Since 2015, he has been heading the Trade Finance team in Bavaria, Saxony and South/East Wuerttemberg.

„Every culture is different and living abroad changes your view onto the country. In Germany, securtiy and risk management is of major interest. In the United States, the opportunites are always of top priority. An open mind and curiosity opens up new approaches – an experience which enriches me personally every day”, says Markus Schmauder. In his leasure time, you can meet the father of two in Warmbronn, when they fly their self-made model aeroplanes or navigate the model boats through the lake there.

What motivates out to keep going although it is difficult?

Everybody is able to do the simple stuff. I am exicted when things are getting tricky! One example: During the tough lockdowns in many countries, it was sometimes impossible to send documents from A to B. Letters of credits threatened to expire. Such situations motivate me to look for alternative solutions and to provide a helping hand. Luckily, I benefit from the vast experience and know-how of my colleagues  abroad and in Germany in such situations. Giving as much as possible, especially when it gets difficult, that’s my understanding of good customer care.

Where do you see the need for a further German Centre?

I discuss a lot with my corporate customers about new markets and noted that there is a big interest in Africa, especially Subsahara Africa. At LBBW, we finance one or the other business that came about occassionally than by a structured sales approach. For many companies, Africa is a blank area on the map, linked with many questions regarding security, corruption, infrastructure or the “right” place to be. A German Centre with its market experience and networks reduces the risk and the obstacles for companies when tapping into a new market. So, why not anywhere in Africa?

Vielen Dank, Markus Schmauder!

About LBBW

Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) is a medium-sized universal bank and one of the world’s leading banks for export finance. In its international business, LBBW supports its customers worldwide in subsidiaries, branches and representative offices with country expertise, market know-how and financial solutions. In addition, LBBW maintains three German Centres in Beijing, Mexico City and Singapore, which advise German companies on their market entry and provide local offices and networks.

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