Harald Tomintz lives in the metropolis of Manila. © Canva; Harald Tomintz
Harald Tomintz speaking at the Goethe Institute in the Philippines © Canva; Harald Tomintz
Mr. Tomintz, you successfully completed your master's degree in International Business & Law at MCI exactly 10 years ago. How have things been for you since then? Where did you work during these years and what were your tasks?
"The decade after my master's degree was incredibly exciting. An absolute highlight was my work at the UN in Vienna. Through the Philippine Embassy and Permanent Mission of the United Nations, I got to participate in multilateral events (including IAEA, UNOOSA, COPUOS, UNODC, CTBTO, etc.). Other exciting projects were in the fields of arts, culture and tourism for the Goethe-Institut in the Philippines and AccorHotels in Austria.
On the side, I was employed at a university in the Philippines: Ateneo de Manila University, where I taught subjects such as "Economy, Society, and Sustainable Development", "International Economic Relations of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations", "International Economic Cooperation and Development Assistance", "European Marketing and Business Strategy", and "European Business and Macroeconomic Environment".
During the 2020 pandemic lockdown, I thought about doing something else. After careful consideration, I decided to change industries. Currently, I am employed as a GSA (Germany-Switzerland-Austria) Specialist at Ernst & Young (EY) in the Philippines. The ten years after graduation have been a great and international adventure for me.... and the story continues, of course!"
You are currently in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. What is your everyday life like there? What is it like to work in a big Asian city?
"Metro Manila is a huge metropolitan region in the Philippines. You are constantly on the move. There are lots of transport options, many of which are foreign by Austrian standards: "jeepneys", "trikes" and also various motorbike services can be found alongside light rail networks, buses and taxis. People need this variety of transport - with well over 10 million inhabitants, Metro Manila is at least five times bigger than Vienna!
As a GSA Specialist at EY, my team and I work on various projects in the Philippines with EY colleagues mainly from Germany. During the pandemic, we had adapt in order to do almost 100% of our tasks from either home or online. Despite this change, I also got to collaborate and network with EY colleagues from all over the world, such as UK, Hungary, Poland, Argentina and even India.
Work-from-home has become pretty normal in my job, and there's not much you could do outside in recent years. This year, however, the lockdown rules are not as strict and there are few restrictions. This year, I can finally go swimming every weekend again. The weather in the Philippines, averaging 20 to 30 degrees Celcius a day with lots of sunshine in summer, is just perfect to relax. Perfect weather for a swim!"
We imagine a life in the Philippines to be wonderful, but is there actually something that you miss? What did you particularly like about Austria?
"Since I am always in the Philippines, I often think of my home in Styria and my relatives in Vienna. Unfortunately, it was not possible for me to come back for a visit in the last three years. The beautiful mountains in the green heart of Austria and the excellent cultural scene in Vienna are to be missed, no matter how exciting a long time abroad can be. I am already looking forward to the next opportunity to come back to Austria!"