Having dinner with some of my MBA class, 2008, just after graduation.
The first big move I made for my career was in 2005 when I made a decision to take 2 years out, to study for a full-time MBA in the USA.
I hoped to work in the USA for a few years afterwards and get some good experience there. It didn't hurt that it was two dollars to the pound at the time.
I got a scholarship as well as a part-time job in the Marketing Department at Northeastern University - Office of Corporate Programs. So that also helped financially.
1. Other than the usual challenges of getting an MBA; Taking the GMAT, making the applications, writing the application essays, interviewing for the schools, finding the money to go; I'd say getting the Visa sorted out was the hardest part.
It required me completing a lot of detailed paperwork. Further down the road, when I finally got my US Permanent resident card ('Green Card'), it was even harder. There were so many hoops to jump through that I eventually had to hire an Immigration lawyer at considerable expense to expedite it.
Equally important, though not as hard; after two years living in the country, I had to pass my US driving license - many years after passing my British driving test.
Help, Where's my car? I need to get to work!
For example, during the last winter, I was in Boston, in 2015, over 14 feet of snow fell in the city. In the summer, you need air conditioning in your apartment. It gets up to 40 degrees C and it's humid.
Returning from Boston to move back to London, 10 years later, was actually a bigger and more complicated affair. I was now married, with a 6-year-old son, with disabilities and a 9-year-old daughter.
My wife, Catherine, had always wanted to live in the UK. She was running College recruiting at her company, Akamai, in 2015, when she was offered the chance to go to London, to run EMEA recruiting there.
This was a major promotion for her, from manager to director, from managing a team of 5 in Boston to managing a team of 25 recruiters, throughout the whole of Europe.
I found a great job too, setting up Lead generation in the UK and Europe, for a little-known Cybersecurity start-up called Zscaler (it has since had an IPO and is now valued at $5 Billion on the Nasdaq). This brings me to my next point:
3. Corporate relocations have experienced a paradigm shift in the last fifty years. In the twentieth century, the husband usually worked and the wife, who did not, would manage a lot of the move.
Today, more often than not, you are dealing with 2 parents, who both have to manage demanding jobs. Consequently, anything that will save you time is an absolute necessity.
Make sure you employ all the help you can. For this, we used a corporate relocation company to manage our move. Moreover, we used an army of staff, from childcare professionals to cleaners.
My son, Jack, in our dining room in Boston, Massachusetts, USA
5. The importance of having flexible work. There is no way We would have managed this move so effectively without remote working.
I had two weeks training in Austen, Texas and I travelled back to Europe a number of times to run conferences there. One time, just after the move, I had to travel from England to a Sales kick-off in Las Vegas.
During this time, I was partially renovating and selling our house. We were unhappy with our real estate agent, so had to switch agents mid-way.
Throughout this, Zscaler allowed me to work remotely for the UK office, from Boston, USA, for almost 3 months. Zscaler's and Akamai's flexibility made a big difference to Catherine and me and we really appreciated it. Full article on the buzz survey blog here.