Diversity is cool, Canadians think. We spoke with Klaudiane and Shawn from Montréal about multiculturalism and the impact on the business world. Together with other business students from the HEC Montréal University, the two 25-year-olds are staying at the Schulz Hotel Berlin Wall to get to know Berlin's start-up scene and to better understand the German mentality.
Canada is famous for welcoming immigration. But what are the advantages of living in a multicultural society?
Klaudiane: It helps you to understand different mentalities and different cultures. And that just by living in Montreal, you don't even have to travel.
Shawn: You tend to learn a bit of different mentalities, so if you have diversity you will learn different paths and try different things. You can take the all the best aspects and then find your own way. On a side note, outside of Montreal it is a bit more conservative.
Klaudiane: People outside of Montreal are scared to come to the city. They think it is not safe. But difference is good because it makes you grow and change.
What does a society need to provide in order to create a safe space where everyone can feel welcome and rooted?
Klaudiane: It needs an outside structure, there need to be rules and laws, that people can rely to and then in the inside everyone is free to do what they want, free of what to do with their time, but there must be limits.
Shawn: We need institutions that offer outsiders a place and help. But time is the key: In kinder garden everyone is playing with everyone. With time and generations people feel better.
In modern society social responsibility, diversity and sustainability become more and more important. As business students, how do you think these topics can be implemented in a modern business or management culture?
Klaudiane: When you hire someone, you don't stop at religion or name, but check if the person is capable. There is no social barrier, the only question is: Can you do the job or not?
Shawn: Nowadays a lot of companies have social activities. But you need to feel that the management means what it says and really implements these things.
What do you think Schulz is doing different?
Klaudiane: What Schulz is doing different is the mix between business and social. Usually Germany is black or white, one or the other.
Shawn: The staff makes the difference. As I understand Schulz rather is going for someone with a heart. People here really are not snobs. That is such a difference to a hotel where we stayed in Munich. They didn't want to help us at the reception much. Here they propose us stuff and smile more.
Klaudiane: Yesterday for example we were sitting down with the bar guy and chat. In Munich there was no interaction between staff and guests.
Shawn: In Munich there was this situation where they displayed cutleries in the dining room, but I couldn't borrow a fork. Apparently, the restaurant was closed and the guy at the reception told me that hotel and restaurant are two different businesses and I can't borrow the fork, even so it was right there in front of me. Here at Schulz on the other hand everyone is very helpful and kind.
What else did you learn about the German business mentality?
Shawn: Germans are more formal. Another thing: Germans are loyal to German brands so if you come up with something new or else it must add some value. In North America we bring in new concepts or technologies and the clients will try and tell us what needs to be improved. In Germany it needs to work the first time.
Thank you so much!