“I work with big, industrial robots. It is, in essence, my dream job,” says Christopher Napier
, the current project manager at Hexagon Metrology in Glattbrugg, Switzerland, who is in charge of skilled engineers across a number of different countries.
The recent St Gallen MBA
graduate is originally from New Zealand and began his career in engineering after completing a BA in Information Technology at the Victoria University of Wellington on the country's north island.
Before embarking on a full-time MBA program at the prestigious European university, Christopher worked for two different companies in Germany - Network Engineer and Intact-IS GmbH - managing multi-national teams of employees and developing business connections with France, Denmark and Singapore. While working as a Service Team Manager at Intact-IS, he established and trained an entire service desk, based in Singapore.
But despite such success in his engineering roles across Europe, Christopher switched to business. But it was by chance. “The goal wasn't to switch to business,“ he explained. “I wanted to simply move up to the next level of employee status - not just working for someone, but facing various challenges and being responsible for those challenges. I am still in technology, albeit metrology now, and very much enjoying it.”
Christopher first worked as a technology analyst in his native New Zealand, a country with an IT sector that boasts salaries that are twice the national average. The opportunity for high-earning IT jobs would tempt most in the industry to stay in the southern hemisphere, but Christopher was determined to move to Europe. “I could not call myself an expert, but perhaps the reforms in the nineties helped emphasize the importance of the industry,” Christopher said.
“Additionally, the supply and demand of skilled individuals in the sector surely has had an impact too.”
Christopher’s working life has since been spread across Europe. But that was down to chance, too. “It was actually by chance that I came to Europe,” he said. “I had originally applied for a Rotary Student Exchange. I was accepted but only for my second choice, which was Switzerland. Then I learnt some German and felt obliged to keep up the trend.”
And the best thing about studying in Switzerland? “The cheese,” he jokes. “The quality of life isn't bad either.”
All humor aside, Christopher says that the Learning Assessment Week has been the highlight of the MBA program at St Gallen. “The Learning Assessment Week was the highlight of my MBA," he said. "It scared the hell out of me, but also opened my eyes to some real-world requirements. I cannot emphasize the value of this enough.
“The location was what caught my eye: I had been in Switzerland before and was pleased to find an opportunity to go back. Additionally, I had seen in a few places that HSG had an excellent reputation in the German speaking world.
“As I investigated more, I had good feedback from friends who attended the university, and details like the small class size, the interaction with the rest of the university and the high caliber of the MBA students and alumni all helped to convince me it was a good choice.”
Christopher was also a member of the St Gallen Presentation Club, and he believes that being actively involved in MBA clubs has helped him further his career in the business world, and has great admiration for the founders. “Most definitely it has helped," he said. "I wish I could have devoted more time to that club.
“It was an incredible initiative from some very talented and intelligent classmates. I can honestly say that I learnt more from them than I did in some of the classes. In my current position, I am regularly required to give presentations. The feedback and skills that I learnt in that club have proved invaluable!"
It is clear that Christopher thoroughly enjoyed his MBA at St Gallen; so much so, that he decided to remain in Switzerland after graduation. He has since landed his dream job, a role that combines his newly enhanced business administration skills and his former love, engineering.
“I travel a lot, I work with big, industrial robots and I interact with a number of experts from different countries and cultures from all around the world,” he says of his role at Hexagon Metrology.
“I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, and with the right background for the job application. It is, in essence, my dream job.”
Christopher shows no signs of wanting to cross back over the Swiss border anytime soon: a result of his career success after an MBA at St Gallen. Or the cheese.