Tell us a bit about your background. How did you end up in your current job?
I studied Business Administration followed by a Master’s in Electrical Engineering. After my studies, I spent around about seven years working in business consultancy for Porsche consulting. Afterwards, I joined the We sub-brand of Volkswagen as a senior product manager, and I’ve been doing that for around two years now.
Could you walk us through your role and what your typical day or week looks like?
No day is like any other day. Volkswagen is in the midst of a huge change from a car manufacturer to a software-enabled company. Every day, after bringing my daughter to kindergarten, I drive to the office around nine o'clock and have a daily meeting with the team.
Afterwards, I might meet with the legal department or procurement department. It's more about orchestrating all the different departments and having my visions about mobility solutions on track.
So, you’re basically looking at the big picture and coordinating different departments?
Yes, I have to talk to software developers as well as with board members. I need to be able to communicate on different levels to be part of the technical solution and present it to the departments.
What qualities does someone need to succeed in this role?
To be honest, common sense. You need to be able to talk to software developers as well as board members and be able to communicate on different levels. In the morning, you might talk to the software developers about an AI solution, and then in the evening you have to talk to a board member and explain what the developers are doing in the next couple of weeks. It's very important to switch your communication depending on who you are talking with.
As a product manager, I am part of a huge change in the automotive industry and it's amazing to be part of that. Especially in my role, I have the feeling of being an integral and critical part of the huge change in our industry.
What's the most fascinating thing about your job?
I work for a company with more than 600,000 employees around the world. As a product manager, I am part of a huge change in the automotive industry and it's amazing to be part of that. Especially in my role, I have the feeling of being an integral and critical part of the huge change in our industry.
What challenges do you face in your position?
It's a challenge to combine the old world of Volkswagen and the new world of Volkswagen. It can be hard to combine our new mobility and software solutions and the old car world; they clash around the whole day.
What advice would you give someone who tries to break into your industry or your position?
From my perspective, it's very clear – be open and be interesting. It also helps to have new mobility business models on your mind.
Do candidates need to have a mobility background when they approach VW?
No, not necessarily. My colleagues come from different backgrounds, like architecture, for example. It's not necessary to study battery management or vehicles or anything like that.