I quickly learned how to swap my windsurfer for a snowboard and was kept busy dealing with large clients that presented many more challenges than I had dealt with before. After one and a half years I applied for another international assignment with KPMG in the UK. Although the jobs I dealt with in London were new and exiting, I started to miss the degree of challenge and the sheer scale of large Russian audit clients, so I returned to KPMG in Russia in 2006. I also realized that I could build a more successful and challenging career in a country where audit and professional services are still emerging.
The working hours may be longer in Russia, but they are so rewarding – filled with serious issues and decisions and a level of responsibility that is only constrained by your own will. As a result, it’s a fantastic environment for growth. Qualified people are in demand, so the opportunities are endless and your career progression is rapid. And don’t worry – the need to speak Russian depends on your function so it isn’t always necessary.
I may go abroad to retire one day, but for me, my working life here is difficult to beat at the moment.