Say 'Na zdraví!' to an expat career at a Prague center like no other

Working for the world’s biggest brewer is all about collaboration, connection, and delivering great experiences for customers.

William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 03.04.2024 17:42:00 (updated on 03.04.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

What springs to mind when you think of the beer industry? It might not be what you’d expect, but behind time-honored brewing methods, famous brands, and good times spent over a drink or two in the pub, there’s a backbone of shared business services making it all possible.

AB InBev’s Prague office is a perfect example. The world’s biggest brewer works from a gleaming and attractive modern office space in Prague 4, while focusing on a work culture which pays homage to what beer is all about: down-to-earth sociability, friendship, and togetherness. visited AB InBev to find out more about delivering great beer experiences, and about how collaboration is central to driving success, for AB InBev’s Customer Experience team, and for the business as a whole.

Beer (culture) in the workplace

Walk around AB InBev’s offices, and it’s clear the company puts passion for its products at the forefront of everything it does. The lobby features a towering display of beer kegs, while meeting rooms are decorated with designs of the company’s world-famous brands. With regular open bar events providing the perfect place for members of the 800-strong team to socialize, it’s a professional working environment with a distinctly beer-themed twist.

For the Customer Experience (CX) team based in Prague, covering eleven markets throughout Europe, the goal is to deliver this passion and excitement to individual consumers and businesses stocking AB InBev products.

“Beer sparks joy for people in our business. We, as a department, are responsible for generating this positivity with our brands in all our customer and consumer interactions," explains Michele Van Spilbeeck, Customer Experience Director Europe at AB InBev, a Belgian national who recently moved to Prague.

“From a consumer perspective, that means people who are interested in our beers and want to know more. Then there are customers, such as a bar in the middle of Germany wanting to sell Corona on draft. Our goal is to help all our customers, on-time, and above expectations.”

With the CX department actively recruiting, AB InBev puts strong emphasis on seeking out people who support this culture of openness, believing in-person connections are vital to success. “We first look to see if someone is a match for our specific, vibrant company culture,” Michele explains. “We’d rather have someone who’s a good fit for our culture than someone who is simply very skilled in a particular field of expertise.”

Why? “We like to dream big,” she explains. “Even in day-to-day work, we like people who challenge themselves and are ambitious in their role. Working here, you can feel like an entrepreneur because of the freedom you have to work on your own ideas. This is made possible by our open, transparent, and informal culture. Everyone is approachable; you need this in order to enable people to take responsibility.”

CX as collaboration

AB InBev’s ethic of openness and collaboration may be evident most strongly in its CX department. For Lidia, a member of the B2B Center of Excellence team focusing on AB InBev’s web shop, a collaborative culture is central to professional development. 

“You can reach out to people; if you’re curious about another team’s role, you can ask for a shadowing session, and people are very approachable. Likewise, if a sales team has an issue with a customer using our web shop, they reach out to me if they cannot solve the issue. We come in contact with a wide range of activities and get to know a lot of people.”

Ondřej, who works in bonus management for the German market, has been with AB InBev for six years. Each of AB InBev’s market teams form close-knit communities of employees, and Ondřej says he appreciates that AB InBev “gives me space to enjoy what I’m doing while continuously improving. The company also opens up opportunities to gain more experiences.”

CX and beyond

The Prague’s center’s key role within AB InBev’s European operations opens up diverse career paths. “Departments literally sit side by side,” Michele explains. “If a customer has a problem with a truck, we’ll need help from transport planning, which is part of the logistics team. We’re sitting in the same building, very close to each other.”

“This builds friendships between teams. We also have open bars, presentations from brands showing us their beer, days out together, and shadowing opportunities. You might be in the German CX team, but you’re in daily contact with the transport team, and in the next phase of your career, you could explore working there, before going on to learn about finance, procurement, and so on.”

With collaboration at the heart of life as a CX professional, Michele points out how all new and upcoming digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, could improve the working experience. “These technologies make collaborative work so much more relevant. An AI-supported CX agent could, instead of calling three departments to get the information needed to help a customer, have the information provided in real-time during a call. CX will only improve if we embrace technology in the right way.”

Opportunities at AB InBev

The CX team at AB InBev’s Prague center consists of around 20 nationalities, with particular demand for speakers of German, Dutch, French, and other languages in addition to English. “We have fresh graduates looking for an international experience in a big company, as well as local Czechs who love their job,” Michele points out. 

“Prague is a great place to be,” she adds. “For young people, it’s a vibrant city with so much happening, while for those with children, it facilitates family life really well. A lot of expats come to work here and don’t know what to expect; but they have a really good, happy, and healthy life in the Czech Republic.”

This article was written in cooperation with AB InBev. Read about our partner content policy here.

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