Miriam Holstein, Bayer: “International Students Could be Your Door-Opener to a New Market”


Miriam Holstein, CEO of Bayer Nordic, makes career in Finland. She believes that diversity and inclusion are essential for Finnish companies’ success.

“Our aim is to attract and retain the best talents. That’s why this is also what we focus on when recruiting. Nationality or place of origin don’t really play a role – it’s the expertise and the personal attributes that matter”, says Miriam Holstein.

With Finland so focused on exports, Holstein emphasizes the way international students and talent can not only provide much-needed expertise on the needs of customers, but also insights into entering new or foreign markets.

“Serving your customers the best possible way starts with having a solid understanding of the needs and requirements of your customers. This is where international students can truly add value.”

As a multinational company, Bayer believes in the value of international talents. Bayer Nordic has, for example, recently hired an international trainee at its Espoo headquarters, and has established a long-term commitment to collaboration with the University of Turku and Turku’s Applied Sciences Universities. Collaboration with Finnish universities – which include Aalto University and the University of Helsinki – help to make students more aware of Bayer as a company and as an employer. This includes holding lectures for students and working together on concrete topics in order to gain an “outside-in, fresh view”.

Holstein believes that large multinational companies have a particular responsibility to continue creating opportunities for international students.

Miriam Holstein’s recommendations for Finnish employers: 

  1. Broaden your perspective and consider that your company and employees should reflect the diversity of your customer base to ensure you’re catering to their needs.
  2. To foster a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, e.g. create a buddy system for new international employees, in which a current employee acts as a guide. It really helps to have someone you can ask seemingly ‘simple’ questions that natives may never think of.
  3. Make diversity a topic of conversation: discussing how we can learn from each other, improve current practices, and be aware of how our differences can foster the company culture.
  4. Though it may not be viable for every company, and in every position, Holstein recommends English as a working language. While acknowledging Bayer, as a multinational company, is in a better position to do so, it also made the transition from German to English as a working language. It was cumbersome at first, but now allows for clear communication with teams all over the world.

The interview was made by our American summer intern, Anna Bogdan.

Photo: Bayer Nordic
This article is published also in Finnish