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Isabella Sauerberg, Head of Sales, Industry Cranes, Siemens
People story: Isabella Sauerberg
How to fast-track your career in a truly progressive company
A mix of powerful factors shaped Isabella’s professional journey from day one: extraordinary drive, determination, hard work – and a strong network. She started as an intern at Siemens Management Consulting, and today, after an exceptional career at SMC, successfully heads the sales department for Industry Cranes of Siemens’s Cranes unit.
Isabella first got in touch with Siemens during an internship in the UK, where she was studying at Lancaster University. “I enjoyed working at Siemens,” she says, “even though I didn’t have a technical degree. I just found the products really interesting and I liked the company.” It was her supervisor at Siemens who recommended Siemens Management Consulting to her: “He told me about the people, the projects, the environment – it sounded like a great opportunity.”
Isabella completed her first internship at Siemens Management Consulting in Munich, and, a year later, a second internship at SMC in New York. When she came back, she says, “I wanted to know what else was out there. I did an internship at another consultancy, just to see what it was like.” Afterwards, Isabella was sure that she would join SMC full-time as a consultant: “When I left, I was sure that SMC is a special place. And it was the perfect way for me to kick-start my career at Siemens.”
One factor that makes SMC different, she says, is the early exposure to senior management: “You interact with people you normally wouldn’t meet this early in any other career.” Working with people from all levels, whether they’re interns or CEOs, helped her build the people skills she needed throughout her career. Another skill she acquired early on was being able to handle large amounts of complex information. “This is something I learned at SMC and that I’m really thankful for,” she says, “because now, no matter how much work I have, I’m sure I can prioritize it adequately and thereby handle it.”
But successfully completing complex projects doesn’t just come down to the individual. It requires exceptional teams: “That’s the special thing about Siemens Management Consulting: the people. They’re smart and fun to work with. I initially thought that there’d be a lot of competition, but in reality, the teams work together very well.”
It was the perfect way for me to kick-start my career at Siemens.
Siemens Management Consulting: a long and successful career
Isabella says about her career at SMC: “In the beginning, I thought that I’d spend a couple of years at SMC and then see how I can transfer to Siemens. But I loved being at SMC, and the years just flew by.” After 3,5 years at Siemens Management Consulting, Isabella was promoted to Project Manager. It was a great learning experience: “You get a lot of feedback – from your team, your clients, your superiors. And you get it early on, which helps you understand what you’re really good at.” SMC also offered her the chance to strengthen her educational background. So, Isabella says, “I took some time off and completed a PhD in Management at the Technische Universität Berlin.”
Isabella had been Project Manager for two years when she decided it was time to take the next step in her career. She says, “if you want to develop, you have to become active yourself.” Over the years, she had built a strong network across SMC and different Siemens businesses. Her clients truly appreciated her work: “As I became more experienced in my job, I started receiving offers for different roles.” So, she says, “I made up my mind and decided what I wanted to do next. Siemens Management Consulting always encourages us to think about what our next step could be.”
I loved being at SMC, and the years just flew by.
A new challenge: leading the strategy department
She received an offer from the CEO of Siemens Large Drives to become Head of Strategy: “At that time, I was doing a project in his Business Unit and worked closely together with him. When the position became vacant, he gave me a call and asked me if I was interested.” She continues: “I didn’t even have to think about it. I knew that he’s a great guy. I knew the Business Unit. I was very well prepared, thanks to my time at SMC.”
The transfer made perfect sense, because being Head of Strategy is closely related to strategy consulting. At the same time, the new role came with its own set of challenges: “I was responsible for a large team, 30 people in total. That was new to me, because the teams at SMC are usually quite small.” Again, her network and experience proved to be helpful: while she had the responsibility for a larger team, she already knew many of the people she was working with.
Beyond strategy: becoming Head of Sales
After two years as Head of Strategy, Isabella decided that she was ready for a new challenge: “I didn’t just want to be the person who tells people what they should do according to a strategy roadmap. I think it’s easy to tell people what’s right or wrong, but if you have to do it yourself, it’s a whole different thing.” She adds: “I wanted to be the person who did it herself.” She approached her CEO, who, again, was very supportive: “He asked me where I wanted to go next. Then he talked to three of his business segment heads, and all three of them offered me a role.”
Today, Isabella is Head of Industry Cranes Sales at Siemens Cranes and responsible for the growth of the unit: “The most rewarding projects are the big ones, those that bring a lot of volume,” she says. “It’s great when a team member comes to me and tells me that we’ve won a project or that we sold a high volume of products.”
When discussing the future, she says, “for now, I’m Head of Sales. I want to grow my experience. I want to expand my business responsibility.” But of course, there is always room for progression. And with her skills, experience and network, there are always open doors.
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