Xpat Interview: Marc Coleman

  • 9 Oct 2009 12:00 PM
Xpat Interview: Marc Coleman
A Master's graduate of the National University of Ireland, Galway in Biochemistry & Microbiology, today he is the Founder and Director of HRNEurope.com and Oxygen Business Perspectives.

A seasoned professional with cross-country and cross-functional expertise that includes, regional management roles in Asia Pacific and Europe for both large market enterprises and start-up operations. He began his career at Microsoft HQ in Redmond - Seattle, and has senior management & project leadership experience in roles ranging from selling & marketing sports sponsorship to producing global leadership forums & leadership research reports.

He is from very south of Ireland, a beautiful little village called Lismore which lies alongside the River Blackwater and sits at the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains in County Waterford. Currently lives in Hungary with his wife and son.

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
2005, a job helping a start-up start up.

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, Japan and the States.

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
The weather and the culture - I believe there are at least 8 months of the year which allow for a fantastic quality of life - 2 places I have lived Ireland and Seattle buckets down with rain for months and has a massive effect on the quality of life. My wife bought a coffee mug with sheep last time we were in Ireland inscribed "I survived the weather in Ireland" I love the big occasions here in Hungary August and Christmas-New Years I enjoy the most. Graffiti on the beautiful architecture - it's not even good graffiti!

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
I think it very much depends on the people. Choice on my recommendation would follow; Castle area, Gellert Hill, Hero's - all around, Duna walk Pest side from Parliament area to the Szabadsag Bridge, Baths, Parliament, The Market, Vaci, Vigado Ter, Andrassy, Funny Photo Opportunities Statue Park, etc. Select bars and restaurants - must follow tradition - have goulash and Mezes Barackos Palinka does the trick every time my family and friends arrive!

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
I enjoy most of the food here. My wife's parents and her Nan are all fantastic chefs so love going to Jaszbereny. I have to have a siesta after each visit. Beef Stew, Goulash, Goose/Duck, Red Cabbage, stuffed cabbage, lecso, catfish stew, langos, strudels ... love it. (Except the fish swimming around the bath tubes (ponty) at Christmas!!)

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Fridge magnets!- the wife loves them so much they have migrated to other kitchen appliances!

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?
Don't have any and not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings I am not much of a linguist so I don't spend much time pondering over favourite words in any language.

8. What do you miss most from home?
Family, friends, sea, mountains, horse racing, rugby, fresh fish, friendly and professional customer service.


9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
Toilet cleaner in India! Have you seen "slumdog millionaire"?!!

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?

12. Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
I would like to go home to Lismore in Ireland for a month as the Irish side of the family have not met our new baby son - my dad's side of the family is massive so receiving growing number of death threats from my aunties and both my grandmothers.

13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
I would have to be a patriot play it safe and say U2 but I have amassed quite a strange music collection (my mum's a musician in classical, jazz and Irish Traditional and past music teacher so you can imagine what it was like growing up with that - we had dogs who over the years perfected their howls to Vivaldi's Four Seasons)

A long list of movies -Godfather Collection, Shawshank, etc may be the films I have seen the most.

Hobby's were and still are divided into quite time and loud time - fly fishing for salmon & trout / screaming my lungs out on the terrace with family and friends for the last 2 furlongs at horse racing festivals!

14. What can't you resist?
My wife and son.

15. Red wine or white?
The nectar of the gods - I love them both! I have asked myself this question since I was first allowed to drink and for simplicity - it depends on time of the year - I will agree to drink more chilled white wine during summer/with fish - spicy red room temp around Christmas/red meat.

16. Book or movie?
Movie/film buff.

17. Morning person or night person?
I've been told night person I beg to differ - the time's at which I have been told this would suggest otherwise! I love to fly-fish and grew up on a stud farm - which means jumping out of the bed at about 5 in the morning. If you don't get up that early you miss the best part of the day. It has got to be 'good afternoon' from 9am onwards in my book!

18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
The environment/planet - I love the great outdoors and big empty spaces with no dwellings/man's touch.

Living in Hungary social issues - the biggest and most blatantly obvious are poverty and corruption/crime, as I see it they go hand in hand. Over the last few months I have noticed a marked increase in homeless people - men and women, old and young and I am not referring to the edges of Budapest or particular districts - it's endemic to the whole city.

Around Nyugati area above and below ground for example, as a central and key transportation hub of Budapest and a 5 minute walk to the Parliament ... I think it serves as a good litmus test as to health of politics and civil service in Hungary - right across the board 'top down and bottom up' should be made accountable.

19. Buda or Pest side?
To live Buda - you can't beat the hills, the view and the clean air especially if you have a family. I lived in Pest for the past 10 months and it's not our cup of tea - we just moved again. To go out/socialise etc Pest without a doubt is where most of the action is.

20. What would you say is your personal motto?
A day without laughter is a day wasted.

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