In 2011, Jochen Weinisch joined ZEISS as a trainee, and this proved to be the first step towards an impressive career. Today, seven years on, he is Senior Director for Nordics at the Industrial Metrology business group; as a manager, he is responsible for 45 employees across four countries. He spoke to us about his current role and about the benefits of his time as a trainee.
Jochen, you joined ZEISS as a trainee. What really stood out for you during the program?
The trainee program was a great way of getting my foot in the door at ZEISS. I learned about the values and the corporate culture from day one. This, together with a string of seminars on topics like communication and teamwork, project management and presentation techniques, ensured I was in a great position to prepare for the role I was aiming for. In addition to these soft skills sessions, it was above all the different business groups and functions that I worked at during the trainee program that helped determine my future career. Within a short space of time, and thanks to a stint in the US, I was able to build up a big international, cross-divisional network that serves me well to this day.
A highlight of my traineeship was the way the trainees all worked together. The result was great projects and friendships – and it’s fantastic to see that so many of my fellow trainees are still working here at ZEISS.
What was your next career move after the trainee program?
After completing the trainee program, I started working in my target role of Regional Sales Manager for China/Taiwan at Industrial Metrology. Roughly three years and 20 trips to China later, I accepted a job as BG Head of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg at the beginning of 2016 and moved to the Netherlands – I was now an expat. I was put in charge of further developing sales & service, and assumed disciplinary responsibility for the first time for my team of ten.
And now you’re moving to Sweden – what role will you be assuming there?
This new job is similar to my previous one, but everything is so much bigger! I’m responsible for Nordics at Industrial Metrology, so for Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. My main responsibilities are P&L, budgeting and planning, and managing the sales and aftersales business. I’m also in charge of ensuring we achieve our sales and profit targets. I also analyze the market and competitors, and address particular customer needs.
To what extent did the trainee program contribute to your development at ZEISS?
Taking part in the trainee program helped me identify with the company in a big way. I received a lot of support at all times and am still making excellent use of my network; people took a leap of faith with me and I’d now like to show them they were right to do so, and give something back. I’ve never even considered working for another company.