QX: Susanne, after a magnificent time at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Esprit you are now the Director of Shoes & Handbags at Amazon Europe. What is your passion about this industry and what fascinates you about working for Amazon now?
Susanne: It’s obvious how much the internet has changed our lives and even more the way we shop for products. It’s still day one and e-commerce will continue to enrich customers’ shopping experience. Amazon has pioneered many products and services, and it’s exciting to be part of this journey. What I appreciate most at Amazon are our leadership principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for simplification and invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. It’s a culture of smart thinking, debate and creativity as well as continuous performance monitoring which helps to stay focused. And on top of all of that I love fashion.
QX: Any difference between working for a classic fashion brand rather than working for an e-commerce company?
Susanne: The main difference is that it’s not about creating products anymore. It’s about building an assortment customers love by selecting the right pieces in the right quantities from hundreds of brands and delivering the best possible shopping experience tied to the customer’s needs when shopping for these products. And customers shop differently for fashion items. I’m excited about the opportunity to be part of the evolution of e-commerce in the fashion world. Strategic decision-making for an emotional product in a data- and technology-driven environment is a fascinating challenge.
QX: With so many opportunities out there and a strong fear of „missing out“, would you recommend young members to also start in consulting in order to end up with jobs like yours at Amazon?
Susanne: Consulting is a fantastic environment to start a professional career. It offers abundant opportunities to build your own expertise either in a function or an industry given the diversity of topics and clients. It’s challenging, but it allows you to grow fast and assume considerable responsibility over time. The most sustained learning for me was that paying attention to details is as important as seeing the big picture. To manage a business successfully, you don’t only need great vision, you need to get the basics right first. Something we highly value at Amazon as well.
QX: How do you create quality time moments in your life besides business? Tell us about the „private Susanne“.
Susanne: Enjoying good times with my friends is extremely important to me. It doesn’t matter what we are up to, just following the mood and flow of the day. I would also call myself a foodie – I love good food and wine! Moreover I discovered scuba diving a year ago and fell in love with it. I’m amazed by the beauty of the underwater world and it’s a nice disconnection from the world.
QX: What is your vanity?
Susanne: Shoes, of course!