Jonas is an Executive Assistant at the Bertelsmann Printing Group, one of the eight divisions within the Bertelsmann SE & Co.KG aA. The Bertelsmann Printing Group is Europe’s largest network of printing companies. The Group unites a broad range of print-related services, reaching from prepress services, and printing to postal delivery and flyer distribution for a variety of products such as magazines, books, directories, catalogs and brochures.
During his International Business Studies in Regensburg, Jonas had the chance to spend two consecutive years abroad. The first 12 months he stayed in Bilbao in order to go to university, to be followed by two six month internships in Barcelona and London. After another year in Regensburg he finished his studies and directly joined Bertelsmann as executive assistant for international sales and export, where he has been working for almost 18 months now.
QX: After your studies in Regensburg, Germany, and Bilbao, Spain, you decided to join Bertelsmann. Why did you opt for this corporation?
Jonas: Actually I was not even looking for a job in the first place. My initial idea was to continue with a postgraduate program. Just when I talked to Jessi about my plans for the near future I began to think about starting a job instead of going to university for another two years. After I decided to look seriously for an entry position, I had some interviews with different companies in Germany, but Bertelsmann was the only one where it “clicked”. Having said that I have to admit that in my first idea I just wanted to go to the interviews for training purposes as Gütersloh is not a very sexy place to start one’s professional career.
What in the end convinced me were the people I dealt with during my application process.
Besides that Bertelsmann’s position and influence in the global media market is of course very appealing as well.
QX: Choosing an executive assistant position as the mode to start a career in business has become more and more popular in recent years. How did your decision process look like?
Jonas: When I was clear about my decision not to continue my studies and gain professional experience first, the position as an executive assistant was my number one choice. As my studies were rather generalist I was not really able and did not want to decide for a specialized job at that time. My intention was to gain a broad view over a company as a whole in order to find out which field of business I like most and where my strengths really are. Another big advantage of this position is the management level you are working at. For me it makes a huge difference to being able to understand why decisions are made and eventually even having been part of that decision making process instead of just seeing their results. Working with board members on a daily basis and being able to learn from them directly is probably the most interesting part of my job.
The most important advantage though is the network you are able to build up in your company. Working beside a member of the top management of a company gives you an incredible opportunity to get to know the decision makers of the company you work for.
QX: Bertelsmann has established itself as a leading multinational corporation in several industries. You joined the Bertelsmann Printing Group division which is Europe’s largest player in that industry. How does a typical week look like for you?
Jonas: I would say as an assistant you do not have something like a typical week – you mostly live according to your boss’s agenda. With my boss being responsible for international sales as well as for three printing plants all over Germany, my typical week mainly consists of three major parts: travelling, working with customers and normal day to day assistant’s jobs.
The structure of my week is usually characterized by the trips that are planned. I both travel nationally for example to Dresden and Hamburg, but also internationally mostly to Paris and New York. In a normal week I am away from my desk at least for two days.
The rest of the week I spend in one of our plants meeting customers and internal stakeholders. The time that is left I usually use to do the normal day to day assistant work like preparing meetings, making slides or writing minutes.
QX: We just had the pleasure to welcome you to our annual Christmas celebration at the QX-Manor in Frankfurt. You have been a QX’ler now for a bit more than 3 years. How was that like?
Jonas: It has always been big fun mixed with a lot of wine. Jokes beside, I think the people you meet is what makes this network so special. It is not about networking in order to make the next step in your career, it is about to get to know people on a personal basis, have a good chat and a glass of wine with them and eventually establish friendships that also exist after an event is over. Saying this: Shout out to my boys Dennis, Stephan, Basti, Paul and Benni - a group of friends that would have never met each other without QX.
QX: Since you are the first Vanity in 2017, can you tell us about your new year’s resolutions?
Jonas: To be honest I do not have a real new year’s resolution. If I am able to make 2017 a little bit more successful than 2016, privately as well as in my job, I would be more than happy.
QX: And, as always, our last question: What is your personal Vanity?
Jonas: Trash TV! When I turn on my TV I normally find myself watching, let’s say the bottom shelf of what German TV has to offer – and I love it.
Thank you for the interesting talk!