Do you have an electronics development background? Are interested in going into consulting? A year ago, Giuseppe Pepe also switched to Kugler Maag Cie. After completing a PhD in electrical engineering, he was previously responsible for engine controls and petrol systems. Now a senior consultant, he talks in an interview about the change in perspective.BACK TO CAREER
None, actually. I used to work for Bosch so I’d already had a lot of overlaps with consultants. I generally found them to be quite open and professional. They were a lot of help to us with our projects, so the experience I had with them continues to be a source of inspiration to me – I try to approach things the same way they used to as consultants.
My first impressions of Kugler Maag Cie were extremely positive. I was pleasantly surprised not to encounter empty advertising slogans on the website, but real people and useful content. That continued in the interviews. The people were friendly and professional and things are no different today. The way people interact with each other at the company is marked by respect and appreciation. That’s exactly the way I imagined it would be.
The other thing is the business travel: they made it totally clear in the interviews that I would be travelling a lot and that I would constantly get new customers, so I’d have to keep adjusting to different situations. But actually that was exactly what I was looking for. I previously worked for 15 years in an environment where the electronics development ran according to fixed administrative processes, so I needed more action.
Dr Giuseppe Pepe worked for 15 years in the field of automotive electronics, where he was responsible for managing development with a focus on engine control systems. Five years ago, he took a break from hardware and set up his own online business in Italy. This allowed Pepe to gain experience in programming web apps, designing user experiences and marketing content through search engines. He joined Kugler Maag Cie as a senior consultant in May 2018.
I think the biggest challenge is breaking out of old routines. At Kugler Maag Cie, each new client involves me in a new project. Sometimes they introduce me to a technology or process I’m not yet familiar with, or a problem I’ve not encountered before. Of course I can build on previous project experience, but in the end I have to approach each issue with a new, individual solution. That has to be the biggest challenge. But at the same time that’s what I find so exciting.
My colleagues have also been a huge help. There’s an unbelievable wealth of expertise here, not just on the automotive sector but also because of all the years of experience managing people and working in consulting. I benefit a lot from this. Every Friday is put aside for learning new things and discussing experiences with others. So I get to meet up with other colleagues, either at the office or online. It means we’re not just working by ourselves; we also get to use each other as sparring partners.
There are two important things about working at Kugler Maag Cie: learning and trust. Consultants are expected to be willing and able to keep take new things on board and develop as a person. A key aspect of this is regularly sharing experiences, in the way I just mentioned. Kugler Maag Cie also places a great deal of trust in us as consultants. We’re given plenty of leeway in terms of how we organise our own work. As an employer it trusts us to do our best, come up with our own solutions or simply get in touch if we run into a problem. What we’d like to do as consultants is build this same degree of trust with our customers in the long term. We call this ‘customer intimacy’. It’s about delivering excellence, being transparent in how we work with customers, and giving them important guidance – even if their markets can be quite complex. In the long term, that creates loyalty.
Another important factor at Kugler Maag Cie is the informal way we interact with one another.
Every new customer is a new challenge.
Although I’ve been living in Germany for many years now, I’m originally from southern Italy. My wife and I had to go back to Italy with the kids at one point for family reasons. When my son started going to school he never really took to it. He said he got headaches and didn’t want to go anymore. I began noticing that something wasn’t quite right with the way he was expected to learn new things there. There was no way we were going to be able quickly change the education system – reforms take a long time – but I soon discovered that my son wasn’t the only one with the problem. So I joined forces with a number of other parents and set up a school based on an alternative teaching concept. It’s called ‘education in complete environments’.
At first the school was actually in somebody’s house but now it’s on a farm in Abruzzo, about 3 kilometres from the Adriatic coast. The teachers provide instruction on traditional topics such as geography, maths and Italian, but it’s done in a much more hands-on way. So for example if you’re trying to teach children what a map is, you take them out to the fields and get them to draw their own map so they can find their way around. Only then do they start learning the theory. At the same time, the children learn art, music and eurythmy, they work in the fields with the teachers and help them make lunch. This allows the children to learn real processes, from sowing seeds to selling and consuming foods and drinks.
If we want our children to retain their sense of curiosity and have fun as they develop into creative and attentive individuals, we need to change how they’re educated. Our school is called I Colori del Sole, which means ‘colours of the sun’, and it’s now got 25 pupils. There’s a small pre-school group and a mixed primary school group with children from the 1st to 4th form.
No, unfortunately he doesn’t. He’s now 12 so he moved up to a senior school two years ago, which means he’s back in the conventional system. But he’s doing all right there.