With the help of Mirel, I was challenged to start a new section on this blog, dedicated to unknown Romanian performers working and living abroad. Mirel is that kind of guy who is for sure destined for big things. You can notice that from the very first interactions: ask him a small question and he'll make sure you have a full perspective over the most fundamented opinion. His accuracy, experience and tenacity will surely help him achieve his life goals. Here's his story and our nice conversation.
Name: Mirel Baila
Hometown: Born and raised in Slobozia but lived in Bucharest for +10 years
Abroad since: May 2014
Living in: London, UK
Current position & company:
TGR: What is your main responsibility at the job?
MB: For my consulting company, I'm implementing Lean Six Sigma or Agile Scrum projects in financial institutions (usually banks). Basically I’m helping teams improve the way they work and help them streamline their processes. It’s the same job I was doing in Romania, but I have a bigger portfolio of projects here.
For Ergophilia - I am trying to scale up the business. I had some very good successes till now and next year I’m looking to drastically expand the business.
Can you tell me something only you can do in your company?
Working with a team of 40 other Six Sigma Black Belts, it’s hard to find something only I can do. But, objectively speaking, I have a strong mix of soft and hard skills, being able to be creative and analytical at the same time. That’s something not a lot of people can do.
How many peers do you have?
For my consulting business it’s just me for now, but I am working to get more people onboard once I have a bigger project. I’m also working with around 40 other consultants, so there is much to learn from each of them.
For Ergophilia I have a young employee (who’s a student in Romania) and I’m quite proud of his progress in his job till now.
Is your team mainly made of locals or expats?
As far as I know, I’m the only non-British person (there are lots of Indians, but they are British Indian). This is because Lloyds is a British bank (even partly owned by the British people).
What about your free time - do you usually spend it with locals or other expats?
A mix. I usually grab an afterwork pint with my work colleagues (most of which are British). In the weekends I regularly go out with other expat friends (of various nationalities - Romanians, Bulgarians, Greek, Italian, Serbian, etc).
Do you feel integrated in the British society? Do you feel respected, appreciated?
I am respected and appreciated for my work. Sadly there are times when people are surprised when I tell them I’m Romanian, but I’m very proud of my origins and I’m trying to change the perception foreigners have about us. I even brought some of my British colleagues for a weekend in Bucharest - they loved it!
What makes London attractive for you? What makes you stay?
London is the best city to live in Europe. I could give you 1000 reasons why I believe that, but I’ll try to stick to my top 5:
How often do you travel to Romania?
Around 10-12 times per year. I have periods when I’m travelling 3 weekends in a row or periods where I’m not going to Romania for 3 months, so it varies.
What do you mostly miss about Romania?
I miss my friends, my family, but technology makes it much easier to talk to them nowadays.
Do you see yourself moving back? What could convince you?
Yes, I do. I would come back either for an extremely good job offer or to have my own business that I can manage remotely from Bucharest. Life taught me not to make these long term plans because anything can happen. The other day I got a really good job offer in Madrid. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll want to enjoy the siesta there!
What changes do you see in the Romanian society?
I was pleasantly surprised to see some good changes last summer when I came to Bucharest (like the dedicated bike lane on Calea Victoriei). I’m also really impressed about the Gov IT Hub that the Ciolos government launched. Overall, I feel positive about the future of Romania. As long as there will be peace in Europe, we will grow more and more as a world economy and as society.
Please tell me something particular about Romania that you would usually say to a foreign friend.
Bucharest - one of the best places to party in Europe. Prices are extremely competitive and it’s very safe compared to most European capitals.
Transylvania, Carpathian mountains and Danube Delta - places that anyone should visit at least once.
I also get their interest when I say Prince Charles has bought and renovated some properties in rural Romania.
Another fun fact I tell to people who think we are a 3rd world country - Romania has the 15th largest rail transport network size in the world, ahead of countries like UK, Spain, Turkey or Poland.
Interesting, I myself didn't know that. Thanks! Now, please tell me, what is your biggest dream?
For now, I just want to develop my businesses and maybe sell them in a few years. After that I want to travel for a while and when I've seen what I want to see, I want to finally focus my efforts in developing something beneficial for society. I am even considering entering politics once I feel that I've accomplished everything in my professional career.
Thanks, Mirel, I hope your dreams come true! Any final remarks regarding our home country?
It’s a beautiful country with beautiful, hard working people. Our geographical position didn’t help us develop at the same pace as other Western countries and communism and post-communism held us back for an extra 50 years. Unfortunately, a lot of people complain about how bad things are, but very few of them actually do something about it. But I think we are very close to the moment when a generation that was born in democracy will rule Romania. And I think that will be a period of great growth for our country.
The Golden Romania
All the interviews in this section, gathered in one place!
Razvan Mihai Oancea - the Regional Manager in the sewing industry whose transformation process has only started after 40, when he has moved to Hong Kong
Andrei Golesteanu - the experienced HR Manager who's in the position to develop US professionals
Radu Topliceanu, one of the top Romanian banking professionals worldwide!
Johann Stan, the Romanian who's in the position to approve a patent for any European innovation!
Andrei Lascu, the Country Manager of 750 IT Professionals in Indonesia
Mirel Baila, the first Romanian Abroad who has shared his amazing story to this platform!