From a Sales Development Program in different American metropoles to a Digitalization Consultant in Prague – an underrated city in the heart of Europe. There I discovered my passion for traveling, built friendships with my co-workers, and learned about flexibility as a key aspect to embrace digitalization.
Crossing borders and an Ocean
July 7th, 2014 – I still remember the first day of work at Siemens like yesterday! Now it’s been almost seven years, and the time has flown by! After studying Electrical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, I initially applied for a Siemens role and got told that it had already been filled. It was not until another recruiter called me shortly after that I was invited for an interview in Philadelphia. It all happened so quickly. I took a flight to attend the interview and two days later had an offer and then swiftly joined the Sales Development Program in the USA.
The program consists of an 18-month rotation. It is highly structured to develop a customer-centric selling approach, hands-on training on Siemens products and solutions, training on internal and external tools, and establishing Siemens contacts nationally and internationally. I worked in Philadelphia initially before spending some time in Atlanta, our main hub in the USA for Digital Industries.
During this time, I also spent time receiving training at six different manufacturing locations around the USA to develop my product knowledge and contacts in our facilities. The next three months I spent in Minneapolis working with our local area sales team, business development group, and our area distributors to round off and complete my training. I spent the next three years working as a sales engineer in Minneapolis, working with our different customers and business partners in the region.
But I did not want to pigeonhole myself into Sales, so I was looking for another opportunity. And I found it! A colleague of mine told me about this new center of competency in Prague, Czech Republic. I liked the idea of moving to Prague, it is a global city, growing fast, in the heart of Europe. After having various discussions, I received an offer and applied for a visa to work in Europe. Before I realized it, I was again on a plane, starting a new adventure. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean, I was curious and excited to start my new role as a Business Development/Technical Consultant in Prague.
Working with friends rather than colleagues
Prague is the best city I have ever lived in! I am working in a young team, 75% are under 35 years old! The work-life balance in Siemens Prague is fantastic. Before COVID-19, our floor at the office would organize ski trips to Austria, tennis tournaments, park and pool days in the summertime, and of course, team-building refreshments at the pub across the street from the office after work. This open culture has forced a change in mindset for the business because, in our team, we are not only co-workers but friends.
And I would say the friendships that I’ve made with co-workers, business partners, and customers have made my time at Siemens so rewarding. A few years ago, a couple of co-workers and I backpacked across Peru and Bolivia, which was an incredible experience. We started our travels at the Pacific Ocean, then through Machu Picchu and the lake of Titicaca to La Paz.
My work here in Prague has opened so many new opportunities – professionally and personally. For instance, I am passionate about cycling, and Prague is one of the most bike-friendly cities. There are countless bike paths for cycling or mountain biking. It is very refreshing after work to go for a ride through the forest or along the Vltava. Being in central Europe also makes it easy to cycle in the neighboring countries. So, I’ve been riding in Italy, Austria, and Germany.
I discovered that I love traveling, and since then, I have visited every continent (apart from Antarctica!) – which is ironic because growing up, I never left the US!
Life is always a combination of hard work, timing, and luck – not always in that order! I was lucky to have joined the General Motion Control Digitalization team early on. It has been an incredible journey to see our team grow, our Digitalization offering released, and to see awareness of our portfolio grow exponentially. It reminds me of start-up culture. I often get messages on LinkedIn or emails from customers that were not aware of our offering and want to learn more because they see a fit in their business. Our team is very international, we have development teams throughout Germany, China, Turkey, and Hungary and portfolio managers and consultants throughout Germany and here in the Czech Republic. We embrace digitalization!
The remarkable thing about software is that we can have much shorter development cycles. We can continuously improve our offering based on customer feedback. This allows us to take on co-creation projects with our customers, listen to their pain points, and create a standard solution. This is what separates us from our competitors. Our competitors treat cloud and edge technology as a Customer Service business where every solution is a custom solution – this is impossible to scale. Right now, only the most tech-savvy customers have developed a comprehensive IoT approach. However, increasingly less tech-savvy customers need to understand the benefits and see the value. I make the difference by making this complicated topic of digitalization easy to understand – you need to be able to describe the how, why, and what to an average Joe to be effective.
Flexibility – a must-have in future
I love jumping between the IT / Drive train / Automation and Sales topics. On a typical day, I will be talking to a customer about the IT requirements for MindSphere, and on the next call, I will be talking about how we apply machine learning algorithms to our Industrial Edge Applications. It requires a lot of flexibility – a skill which will be crucial in the future as well. For instance, the new way of working has been a game-changer. A crisis can fast forward trends from 10 years to 10 weeks. During COVID-19, some customers had an abrupt realization that they were not prepared to have all their engineering and maintenance staff removed from their office and production floor. How do you support developers that need hardware that they cannot take to their studio apartment? How can maintenance staff monitor their equipment while also teaching their children at home? The answer is with simulation and cloud, two critical topics in digitalization. But yes, it is a time of universal change. We must adapt to this changing environment and learn how to cope with the new normal. The era of continuous learning is upon us, and many of our colleagues worldwide have truly embraced this mantra. I find it very heartening when I give training to people – some of whom have been working with frequency inverters and automation since before I was born. They have decided to continue learning and dive headfirst into cloud and edge. It’s people like this that live the growth mindset and that I find personally motivational. I am proud to work at Siemens; I’ve had so many great opportunities already in a short space of time, and I hope there are many more to come!
Find out what the future might hold for you by checking out our digital career opportunities.