How my ESR journey began

My name is Mikhail, and I am originally from St. Petersburg, Russia. Before I joined ESR Labs, I was part of the R&D department of a world-class electronics manufacturer.

Having spent several years in tech, I started to see traction based on my profound professional and personal experience. That is one of the reasons I repeatedly received messages from recruiters sliding into my LinkedIn inbox. Although most of them were rather boring and not really what I was appealed by, I remained hesitant to think about working abroad.

At some point, however, I received a message from ESR Labs, which is an acronym for “Embedded Systems Research Laboratories.” Upon reviewing their homepage and the information I received, it seemed like this company could be a good fit for my skills, experience, and for what I was aiming at in my career. Ever since I was a young boy, I had a knack for cars. The fact that ESR Labs were mainly working in the automotive industry with the most automotive focused country by far is what sparked my interest even further. I wanted to see how an automotive software company works. I was interested in getting to know the people and the company culture itself.

So I entered the application process which started off with a short telephone interview with a recruiter Named Niclas, whom I remember as being very professional at the same time. Apart from technical specifications such as skill set, experiences, and what not, Niclas was already trying to evaluate my culture fit to see whether I could thrive in an environment as it is nurtured at ESR Labs.

After the call, I was satisfied how smooth it all went down. But now it was about time for some vacation. We went on a great bike trip through southern Sweden. Although Niclas remained interested and we continued the application process after my vacation starting with three technical interviews, back to back.

The interviews were captivating. One was in Russian, two in English. I was quite happy that there were already some Russians working at ESR Labs which made it possible for me to ask a lot of details about the company on early stage after the first technical interview. Upon completion of my technical interviews, which were by the way very challenging but friendly and sympathetic nonetheless, ESR invited me to an on-site day in Germany.

On-site day

I was looking forward to the on-site day. Not only could I get to know the company I was talking to the whole time, but also was I able to check out Munich for the first time. To me, it was important to see what the city is like.

Upon my arrival, I was greeted at the reception. First impression: not an office, but a home. The office had a nice kitchen with lounge space. After good coffee, one of my future colleagues led me into the interviewing space where I could breathe a few moments and gather my thoughts before the interview process began. My on-site day consisted of two major parts. The first part was a presentation of the project I would be working on which lasted about 30-60 minutes. Following the presentation were three interviews with 45-60 minutes each with lunch pause. I can tell that this was not an easy feat, but the interviewers made it easy to go through all those interviews. I appreciated that the interviews were quite challenging and not programming language specific, but focused on skills. Those gave me a proper impression of what it must be like to work at ESR Labs.

After the interviews had been over, I was offered some drinks and fruits to recharge. Little hint here. If you want some feedback right after the interview, don’t be shy to speak up.

One of the things that made me totally happy, when I planned my on-site day, I was asked whether I would like to stay another day to spend some time getting to know the city. That was such a huge thing since it helped me form my decision whether I would be willing to live and work here.

The Move

A few days after my return to Russia, I received a call from Niclas. He told me that they liked me as a person and that my work experience and skill set was a great fit for the company. Hence, they wanted to have me on board. Hearing all this positive feedback made me smile big time. Although I had previously not thought about moving to Germany, the thought of working with ESR Labs and living in beautiful Munich had grown on me. After talking with my wife, we accepted the offer and made a big decision in our common life.

And adventures were ahead most certainly. Not only because it was paramount for me to move together with my wife, but also because getting a visa for work is not easy. Luckily we had help from the very professional executive assistants and human resources. A few things you might want to keep in mind when deciding to move to Germany: Have all your important documents translated (diploma, references, etc.) by the way; it’s always helpful to have a notarial translation and one or two copies per document Your contract from ESR Labs in German for the German authorities A confirmation of your diploma

The diploma part is a bit tricky since you can’t be sure that you will find your diploma within the ANABIN database (list of all accredited institutions). In case you can’t obtain your diploma in that database, you have to file for approval of your diploma by the German ministry of education.

Once you have all the documents, getting a visa goes quite smoothly. For me, it took only three working days. For my wife, however, it was not smooth sailing. I was planning on writing all the little details, but it would be too tedious and long. If you need help, just hit me up directly.

Bottom line: Getting all the paperwork is not easy. Fortunately, recruiting and HR at ESR Labs helped us with every little detail along the way making sure that we get everything 100% right. One of the great perks of moving to Germany with ESR Labs is that your apartment is paid for for the first three months since it is slightly difficult to find a flat in Munich from abroad or find an apartment in Munich at all.

Apartment hunting here is like a national sport. Everyone does it, and the competition is insane. We, however, had a significant advantage. And its name was “Anne.” Anne, being a partner of ESR Labs, helped us to get a suitable flat after the first review. The significant advantage is company car that we could use for our furniture hauls.

Settling in

My first days were amazing. I’ve rarely been welcomed so warmly. I was shown around, got to know my colleagues. Everyone in office speaks English very well. You won’t have any problems communicating in Munich unless you decide to go on a cultural adventure and get registered by the local authorities. Since you will need some German at some point, ESR Labs provides its foreign employees with the opportunity to have a teacher come into the office every Monday morning. That will introduce you to the German language and equips you with conversation starters and the basics you need. In summer at lunchtime, it’s cool to soak up the sun and enjoy the swimming pool we have on company office space.

And regarding my colleagues, I could not have wished for better ones. They will always explain if you don’t quite catch what is meant during a conversation. As you “dive deep” into the German culture through daily exposure, you’ll learn basics very fast. If you want to take your German to the next level, there are several intensive courses here in Munich that is not too expensive. Learning intensive German, however, comes with mandatory “Lederhosen” and “Beer” classes ;)