What's your job about?
I work as a Project Manager for the lead of the APA (Asia Pacific & Africa) Aftersales organisation. My main focus in this role is currently the design and execution of a variety of process optimisations along the Aftersales value chain. In more detail, this comprises 17 individual projects with quite different focus areas. These reach from Business Intelligence, Supply Chain, Customer Support to Sales- and Operational-Planning.
In my role, I am in constant contact and alignment with AGCO teams around the globe. This includes a lot of phone calls and business trips back to Germany, but also other parts of Europe like France, Hungary or the UK. Of course, the other parts of the APA region besides ANZ require a considerable time and focus which as well implicates close collaboration with colleagues in Johannesburg, Singapore and Shanghai.
What's your background?
Born and raised in northern German countryside, I developed an interest in agriculture and its machinery early on. While absolving a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Bayreuth University in Bavaria, I usually spent my semester breaks working on farms back home.
Finishing my studies with a Thesis on a corporate communication concept, I was able to use the real-life example of Volkswagen AG. With this, I could simultaneously gain my first professional work experiences based at the big VW plant in Wolfsburg.
After other assignments e.g. with Capgemini Consulting in Berlin or co-founding a start-up in Hamburg, I finally joined AGCO as a Strategy and Integration intern at the EME (Europe & Middle-East) headquarters in Switzerland in 2017. Followed by an assignment to roll-out a Salesforce-based lead- and opportunity management application, I could extend my understanding and passion for the AG-industry, AGCO and it’s brands.
Taking this forward, I joined the Australian team in Sunshine in March 2018, while undertaking a master’s degree in entrepreneurship at Melbourne University. After completing my degree, I decided to stay with AGCO to contribute to the development of an industry-leading Aftersales organisation in APA (Asia Pacific & Africa).
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Certainly, people from other backgrounds could do my job. Successful project management and leadership is more a question about someone’s motivation, curiosity and willingness to learn, his creativity and the ability to work structured and independent. And most importantly intrinsic motivation and the willingness to approach new people and find alternative ways. These capabilities can be learned from various backgrounds – however, my sound understanding of the industry, the Aftersales business and the AGCO environment are valuable assets in my day to day work.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
What I enjoy most about my job is certainly the opportunity to sustainably influence and change the way we do business today. It always has been most important to me to see the outcomes of my work. As I saw it after ploughing a field in my early days of agricultural engagement, I am excited to now see how slight changes in processes, improvements of systems or the provision of business intelligence take effect in AGCO's day-to-day operations. Apart from that, I consider being part of a global team with people from many different cultures and backgrounds a very cool thing about my job.
What are the limitations of your job?
Part of having a global role is to have phone calls which due to different time zones often happen in the late evening or early morning hours. One of the few downsides being based in Australia. As our office is connected to our warehouse, AGCO in Melbourne is based in Sunshine West – I guess one could also hope for a nicer location. But these really are rather common characteristics of working in this industry than constraining limitations.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
Gaining work experience as early on as possible has played out to be really valuable for me and would be one of the two things I recommend to people in an earlier career stage. Whether it is an internship, thesis or part-time employment – especially in a business background no studies can outweigh the value of practical experience.
The other advice I would give is equally simple but maybe a bit drastic: If you don’t like your job – quit. There is no point in sitting through an internship or any other type of engagement if you feel not appreciated, don’t learn anything and waste your time. You only live once – and most of your life you spend working. So, it’d better be good.