Life at Deloitte
On secondment in Finland
Kristi Marks, Audit
Kristi Marks moved 1.5 years ago to Finland from Kansas City to serve a large first year audit engagement. This secondment has given her a lot both professionally and personally. Moving to a foreign country by yourself is a big leap, but a pandemic takes it up to a whole new level.
This secondment has really given me the opportunity to experience so much more both professionally and personally.
Where are you from and what kind of work you do?
I am originally from a small town in Kansas of only about 2300 people but when I started my career, I moved to a suburb of Kansas City on Kansas side of the state line. I started my career at Deloitte as an intern in the Audit and Assurance practice in the Kansas City office and at the same time I was moving to Finland on my secondment I was being promoted to Manager in Audit.
Working with Deloitte Finland is the first time I’ve ever been to Europe. I came to Finland in August 2019 for a work trip and then less than a month later I packed four (very overweight) bags and moved here!
What things influenced in your decision to move to Finland?
From very early in my career I had expressed to my coach and the partner on my largest engagement that I was really interested in doing a secondment in another country as I know the experiences would be invaluable from both a professional and a personal standpoint. When the opportunity presented itself to move to Finland to serve a large first year engagement, I knew this was the perfect time to make the leap.
What was your first impression after the move?
My first impression after the move was how beautiful Finland is with all its nature and how much the country embraces and appreciates it. I also appreciated how relatively easy it was to navigate the public transportation early on, which made exploring the city so much easier. I will admit when I first arrived there were a couple of times that I accidentally rode the metro going the wrong way than I intended – only a 50/50 chance of getting it wrong but still chalked it up to learning experiences!
What have you learned while living and working in Finland?
In my time in Finland I’ve experienced firsthand how truly global our company is and have been given the opportunity to interact and grow as a professional with colleagues from all over the world. I have also been able to grow personally as this has given me the chance to see the world from a wider lens and appreciate cultures that are different from the one that I grew up in.
How has the experience been so far?
The experience so far is one that I can truly say is once in a lifetime. Of course, moving to a foreign country by yourself brings its own set of challenges but adding on a pandemic really takes it up to a whole new level! However, both professionally and personally we have multiple different avenues to help us stay connected to work colleagues and friends. Additionally, the silver lining of this is that it has also given me the chance to further explore around Helsinki and more parts of Finland – especially while I’m on the hunt to find the best korvapuusti (cinnamon bun) in the country! Currently taking recommendations if anyone knows a place that can beat Cafe Regatta!
What is your passion?
Outside of work I really enjoy baking for fun. I won’t claim that I’m the best baker but it’s fun to turn on some music and just experiment with different recipes. Some of my colleagues know how much I enjoy baking as during the autumn time I was on the hunt in Helsinki to find canned pumpkin to make pumpkin bread and pies!
What we did not know about Kristi?
When I was in the US, I also ran a clothing re-sell business from an app on my phone. It’s something I really enjoyed working on in my spare time. By the time I left the US I was at approximately 40,000 followers on the app and hope to pick it back up when I return to the US.
Which has been the funniest or most surprising thing in Finland?
One of the most surprising things that happened to me when I first got here is when I tried to purchase bananas from a K-Market but didn’t realize that you weigh and tag your product before going to the checkout. I remember the cashier trying to tell me what I was supposed to do but we weren’t understanding each other so he graciously walked over to the scale with me and showed me how to identify the numbers to type in. Now it’s become like second nature to me here!