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Career with MBA: From Soft Commodity Trading to Renewable Energy

January 07, 2020

What an MBA can do for a corporate career

Can you, please, share with us your career development until now? What stages in your life have had the greatest impact on you?

I started my career as a trader in an international trading house (which used to be part of the Raiffeisen group) where I traded soft commodities in Europe. For this company, I spent several years in Singapore, during which time I was responsible for trading in Southeast Asia. After a brief stint at a French bank and back in Austria, I joined VERBUND, doing business on foreign markets (focusing primarily on France) for several years. Since 2012, I have been the commercial managing director of the German subsidiary. We sell green electricity and services to public utility companies and industrial customers in Germany, and are very active in marketing renewable-energy systems (wind power and pv).

 

Did you originally want to pursue a different career? If so, what made you change your plans?

As a child, I wanted to become a medical doctor. As time went by, I first and foremost wanted to travel the world and work abroad and with foreign markets at some point. Hence, I embarked on a career in business instead, which has allowed me to make my wish come true.

 

What was your biggest professional success?

My biggest professional success was to build up the French market for VERBUND and also to position us, in my current role as managing director of VERBUND Sales & Trading Deutschland, as a successful marketer of renewable energy in Germany.

 

What was your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was undoubtedly developing new business areas in Asia and experiencing the new culture and mentality.

 

What are the 3 most important experiences in your life that have led you where you are today?

  • Without doubt the international experience I gained, inter alia, in the context of spending several years in Singapore, where I worked on foreign markets and in multicultural teams.
  • Not to be scared of new challenges. You should seize professional opportunities that come your way, or open up opportunities for yourself.
  • Being able to unwind within the haven of the family is important.


When you think of the greatest talent in your organization, what 3 pieces of advice would you give her/him for a successful and fulfilling life?

  • Get yourself a job you find fulfilling.
  • Work abroad at some point in your career.
  • Spend time with your family and friends.


Using just 5 words, how would your team best describe you as a leader?

Teamplayer, goal-oriented, assertive, upright, committed

 

What has changed in your career as a result of your MBA degree? How did the program support you in reaching your career goals? What concrete career opportunities have opened up for you?

We discussed many practical examples and case studies, including problem-solving strategies, which I found very helpful. Shortly after graduating, my then boss offered me the position of general manager, saying that, along with other factors, my MBA studies had played a crucially important role in his decision.

 

How did you manage to balance your MBA studies with your demanding job and your family life?

With the help of my partner, my family and babysitters.

 

What do you consider a “great luxury”?

A nice holiday with my family by the sea.

 

What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed?

“Becoming” by Michelle Obama

 

If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be?

To tell the truth, nobody. I would not want to miss a single day of my life.

Wordrap

I can laugh about:

Some fun YouTube videos that are situationally comical.

Shortcomings I am most likely willing to overlook:

Being slightly late for important reasons.

My funniest/most exciting travel experience was:

Taking a trip in Australia from Brisbane to Canberra in an old VW transporter with a friend of mine.

I couldn't live without this app on my cell phone:

“Bring”, which lets you make and manage lists (such as shopping lists or to-do lists) together with others.

You can always find this in my fridge:

Prosciutto crudo.

I would spend my last money on:

A holiday trip.

10 years ago, I thought:

That we had completed the next technological leap.

Today, I know:

That I will see some interesting and exciting technological developments I had not even thought of 10 years ago.

Read more interesting career stories of our students and graduates here.

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