A professional man is smiling into the camera against a navy office wall with a sign reading 'MathWorks'.
Andreas Roeder. Image: MathWorks Ireland.

How working in Galway city helps this man achieve work-life balance

22 Oct 2019

Andrew Roeder of MathWorks discusses his move from Germany to Galway, and how his new home helps him maintain a good work-life balance.

Andreas Roeder is an inside sales representative at MathWorks in Galway.

He told Siliconrepublic.com about the best parts of his job and why he loves his new Irish home, from foosball games to “enjoying a decent pint in one of Galway’s innumerable pubs”.

Future Human

Where are you from and what’s it like there?

I was born and raised near Friedrichshafen on the shores of Lake Constance in southern Germany. The area is well known for its beautiful landscape with breathtaking views over the Swiss Alps, famous wines, and big industry players like Airbus, ZF and MTU.

How long have you been in Ireland?

After having worked at a previous job in Dundalk for a few months in 2014, I moved to Galway in November 2017 and joined MathWorks at the same time.

What prompted your decision to move here?

I studied language and literature at Saarland University and particularly favoured English and Spanish, so it was inevitable that I would spend some time in an English-speaking country honing my skills.

What most Irish people might be surprised to hear is that I didn’t choose to go to London or New York to gain this experience – instead I chose Dundalk! I worked for five months as a telesales agent for an indigenous company there and loved every minute. I really enjoyed the Irish culture, the people and the unique way of approaching life. This positive experience of living and working in Ireland nurtured my plan to explore a career in sales in Ireland after finishing my studies.

During my job search, MathWorks Ireland provided exactly what I was looking for: an established, stable and growing multinational company. The company’s principles convinced me and with every piece of information I got, I could identify more with MathWorks.

And most importantly, I was attracted by selling a meaningful product that has not only a measurable impact in the real world, but has been changing our world for more than 35 years and keeps driving and shaping technological and scientific progress. Learning what our customers create with the help of Matlab and Simulink is mind-blowing.

Last but not the least was the company location. Galway offers great quality of life with its rich and vibrant culture, promising economic development and the sea always within eyeshot. It feels good to live and work where other people spend their vacation.

What’s your role in the company?

I’m an inside sales representative at MathWorks, a role that’s part of commercial sales. I work as part of a larger selling team including field sales representatives, software maintenance representatives and application engineers.

A typical day for me starts with a decent cup of coffee and a brief look at the day’s agenda and workload. Knowing how I am currently set against my target will give me the information I need to prioritise my tasks. After a few customer calls, I have a chat with my sales rep in Germany to share relevant news on customers, orders etc. Until lunch break, I would normally be having some more customer conversations, including rather complex quote negotiations.

The first two hours after my lunch break are usually still quite busy, with decreasing chances to reach customers later in the afternoon. That’s when I start working on projects, reports, forecasts and any other items that don’t require talking to a customer. As we have regular team meetings throughout the week, it’s quite common to spend the last hour of the day in a meeting to discuss current issues, calibrate our workflows or clarify questions that have recently come up.

How would you describe your working environment?

I think two of our company core values are the driving force behind our office culture – ‘respect and invest’ and ‘rational workplace.’ I have never experienced any colleague or manager applying unreasonable pressure, and we can be sure there is a helping hand whenever we have a problem we can’t solve on our own. Throughout the year, we have a lot of events, team-building activities and outings. Even when things are getting more stressful towards the end of the year, we treat each other with respect and patience.

Besides the great atmosphere created by our office members, I appreciate the opportunities we are given for both personal and professional development. If you show aptitude and interest in specific areas, your manager notices and ensures you gain more experience, responsibilities and reward in them, even if they’re not directly part of your job role.

If you’re struggling, you can count on genuine assistance not only from your teammates and direct manager but going right up to the managing director as every single person in the office is invested in helping you succeed.

Each of us is applying our company core values in everyday life, and I think that’s why we are such a compatible team who shares activities also beyond five o’clock.

What do you like most about your job?

The MathWorks Galway team is a really close-knit community, and I’ve been proud and excited to be a part of this group for two years and counting. Whatever question you have, whatever help you need, you are never alone.

Social cohesion among our team is strong and goes far beyond our daily eight hours at the office – it is indeed no exaggeration to say we’re a bit like a big family. There is always time for a nice chat with your workmates in the kitchen, a passionate foosball match in our playroom after work, or a night out enjoying a decent pint in one of Galway’s innumerable pubs.

A lot of company events, outings and group activities during the year put the cherry on top of the cake.

Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?

Thankfully my Dundalk experience allowed me some time to get used to the Irish ways before fully committing to settling down and starting a career here. I have found the Irish to actually be culturally quite similar to the Germans – we both love socialising and enjoying nights out, and we also share the same dark humour and sense of irony, even if we perhaps express it differently.

What was perhaps more challenging was getting used to the Irish laid-back style – as much as I love it most of the time, it can be quite infuriating when it comes to timekeeping, especially given the German focus on clockwork precision!

What surprised you about moving to Ireland, if anything?

I’m probably like a broken record here, but I felt that the people have been very generous with their time and energy in helping me settle in. And it’s not only the Irish – Galway is now such a multinational city that I’ve been aided by Brazilians, Italians, Australians, you name it.

How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?

The MathWorks office is located just off Eyre Square – step out of the office and you’re just in the middle of Ireland’s perhaps most vibrant city (and, by the way, Europe’s cultural capital 2020).

Heading to the beach for an after-work swim during summer? You’re there in a 20-minute walk. Want a stroll around our famous Christmas market? Literally, just cross the street and you’re ready to enjoy a nice cup of mulled wine!

A positive work-life balance is really important for me, so having Galway city centre at the doorstep of the office is a huge benefit – I don’t have to spend most of my time commuting or travelling to access basic services such as grocery shopping, banking or the post office.

What do you like most about your adopted home?

Ireland itself is so compact – especially coming from somewhere as large as Germany. This means that there are so many amazing sights and experiences only literally a couple of hours away.

Then Galway itself is even more compact again, offering so much to do socially and culturally in a small space – there’s swimming just up the road at Salthill, it’s just a stone’s throw to the Cliffs of Moher or the wilds of Connemara, and of course there’s the entire Wild Atlantic Way offering a mind-blowing 2,000km coastal drive to enjoy too. If you’re looking for the big smoke, take a bus to Dublin and you’re there in as little as two and a half hours.

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