Interview 2: Maciej Galant, Former Managing Director, BMW Group Hungary

  • 15 Oct 2020 4:04 PM
Interview 2: Maciej Galant, Former Managing Director, BMW Group Hungary
1. What’s been happening at home at work and since your first Xpat Interview?

Click here to read his first interview

A lot, so briefly…This spring I returned to Poland due to Covid situation for a short time, but after a few weeks I came back. I am back now to Hungary fulfilling my plans in terms of reforming things.

We are healthy,  business is picking up I’m pleased to say, things are showing a positive sign, within the circumstance.

2. On a scale of 0 to 10 how happy are you with life in Hungary these days?
Travel restrictions make our opportunities a bit limited, due to obvious reasons we can not participate at international programs, but we are having a lot of great, online initiatives, which work quite well. The weather has been great in September – so the city is showing its beautiful face, and there is less traffic, which makes commute much easier.

3. What’s the best party you’ve ever attended, and why?
I believe that was last autumn, at the Xpat Charity Party, organised by That was honestly the best I have been to since being in Hungary, with very good people, who donated a lot of money for children in need. Me and my wife were very pleased to be there.

4. What’s your favourite drink?
I have many favourites. In the terms of soft drinks, I like water – and can say buborékos víz fluently 😊 I also like Coca Cola. In terms of wine, rather red than white.

5. What special but hidden talents do you have / a special ability nobody knows about?
Well, I have always been a very sporty person, so I could maybe say something that comes from my youth time: I’m really good at skate boarding. This is a special skill I think, as recently one of our friends with kids went skateboarding with me, and they were really impressed how I can still do great tricks. The kid even said to me, “I thought I’m good but you are much better!”

I can also say I’m a great snowboarder, I also know tricks and can do high speeds as well – that’s unusual, as people usually go relatively slow on a snowboard, but I’m a fast rider!

The other special skill I could mention is my ability to anticipate situations. Like if I talk to people I know upfront what they want to say at any meeting, this seems to be the case with anyone I meet.

6. What was the most interesting travel trip you have ever taken?
As a marine engineer / navigator by education, I spent three years at sea on a ship. Back then I had some very interesting travel trips. For example, on one in 1992 we went to China. We went with a big ship, and when we approached land we continued 100 km into the country by water, then we travelled through jungle on some scooters, not by car because there were no roads. It took us 24 hours to reach the first big city. That was a really interesting travel experience.

Also worth mentioning is that the first time I went to Dubai in 1992 it was rather a smaller scale harbour. I went back again in 2007 and also in 2014, and it was really interesting to see the changes. The current road that goes into the main Marina was simply desert in 1992.

7. If you were given one wish that could come true, what would you ask for?
It is a very difficult question, since there are thousands of wishes I would have. So let’s say my wish would be for everybody to be healthy, happy and to have food to eat.

8. What’s the last book you read, and movie you watched?
Book: Homo Sapiens, by the Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari. It is a difficult read because of the vast amount of information included, but it is a very interesting book. After reading the book you can much better understand politics, the church, and human behaviour.
Film: Jumanji – Next Stage.

9. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?
A seaman on land.

10. What is the perfect pizza toppings combination for you?
I am pretty modest about pizza, one with a good tomato sauce on a thin base with some nice cheese spread around, but not too much cheese, and with small slices of salami on top. That is what I eat all the time, less is more in this case.

11. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
That would be my counterpart in Portugal. That would be an interesting swap, I love the mild winters and the long sunny days.

12. On a scale of 1 to 10 how unusual are you, and why?
It is very difficult to assess myself. I am normally usual, but have unusual things in my mind sometimes.
Meaning I dig into things that interest me down to the smallest detail, because I would love to understand it fully, to the slightest detail of it. But if I’m not interested in something then I don’t ask a single question. I do not know if this is unusual or not. I am either completely involved or completely disconnected.

13. What’s the best website you’ve ever visited, and why?
Wow, that’s a very difficult question. I would say it is the BMW’s website, and MINI’s as well, because you can really get a lot of information, a lot of specific and useful information about our cars. Apart of that I like Instagram, of all the social media it’s one of my major source to find out what’s new, and what is coming up.

14. Who do you admire the most, and why?
The first person that comes to mind is my father, because he gave me so much, he was the one I always looked up to and admired, and I still do.

15. What do you like best and least about living in Hungary?
The best thing is the people. People are great here, I have to say when I came to live in Budapest I felt very welcome. The people in the countryside are very warm and welcoming too. They are pleasantly polite with the foreigners as well. There is nothing I could say that I don’t like, except maybe the traffic when it is very heavy, but that’s not different here than any metropolises - it is like it is. My solution is to use a scooter around in the city centre. Parking is also something that can be improved here, as there could be more underground parking places, which in many big cities are standard.

16. What has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
I think it came after three years on the sea. I realised that the sea is best for fish. When I went ashore, my life really changed, turned more positive.

17. If you won USD 30 million, what would you do with the money?
I am sure I would not just fulfil my wishes but help others too via charity.

18. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
‘The Show Must Go On’, By Freddy Mercury and Queen.

19. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
I definitely would like to go to Portugal because of the beautiful natural environment, especially on the coast. My favourite place there is Cascais, there are several golf courses around that area, amazing nature, race tracks, so there would not be much to complain about.

20. In ten years from now what will you be doing?
I wish to be still working for BMW, because it is a great company with great products, and I can meet great people. I am longing to discover other parts of this wonderful continent, I believe I could be happy in the North and in the South as well. There is so much to experience.

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