A conversation with our employees

Interview with Anna-Magdalena Kohl

The decision for a company also means to be part of a corporate culture. But what does it mean to be a part of usd? Franziska Aulbach found out by interviewing our employees.

FA: You have a degree in business Administration. What were your career ideas when you started your studies?
Kohl: During my bachelor studies in economics with a focus on corporate education, I pursued the goal of a career in personnel development.

FA: How did your ideas change and why?
Kohl: In line with my studies, I initially worked in personnel development. Quite soon I realized that working with external customers was more appealing to me. My working student time in sales at usd completely convinced me that I was on the right track. I especially enjoy working with external customers because every customer has different needs and you have to put yourself in the customer’s shoes again and again and adapt to them.

FA: Why did you decide to stay with usd after finishing your studies?
Kohl: It was a given for me that I would stay with usd if they’d have me. Working in the sales department has always been exciting and I realized quickly that this is absolutely my thing. In addition, a lot of really nice and open-minded people work at usd, which makes everything much more fun.

FA: How much time and effort did you have to invest into familiarizing yourself with the complex field you work in in addition to your regular working hours?
Kohl: Since at the usd Sales Department we are actually reponsible for the initial consultation of our clients, in-depth expert knowledge is important. However, my training took place during my working hours. I never had to sacrifice my weekends, vacation days or nights for any professional training and usd didn’t expect me to.

FA: Did usd support you by providing training courses?
Kohl: Every permanent employee at usd goes through the “Become a Hero” program. During these training days, all departments of usd present themselves and their products in detail. In this course I also completed an ITIL Foundation training including certification. In the meantime I have also received the Qualys Certified Specialist and PCI Professional (PCIP) certifications and attended a management seminar for personal development.

FA: What does your typical working day look like?
Kohl: The question is easy to answer: The typical working day does not exist. In addition to standard sales work, we also provide support as an interface to our specialist departments. This includes product management, for example. As an “ear to the market”, we first learn from our customers “where the shoe pinches”, can give suggestions for new products or consulting services or work on developing and improving them further. In addition, my position also includes representing usd at specialist congresses worldwide, especially in the area of credit card security. For example, I have already had the opportunity to travel to Cape Town, Barcelona, Edinburgh and London on behalf of usd.

FA: What is so special about the work in usd’s Sales department?
Kohl: We do not have a commission system or a fixed sales target. However, we are no less motivated because we, like all employees, share in the success of the company. On a technical level, there is rarely a “standard solution” for a client. Before we offer anything, we act as an initial consultant and develop tailor-made solutions for each client. In addition, usd builds on long-term client relationships. Therefore, the satisfaction of our clients is always in the foreground and is worth much more than “quick money”. The classic cold acquisition was and is therefore usually not a part of my work, but rather a key account or existing Client management.

FA: What requirements should a new colleague fulfill in your opinion?
Kohl: Above all, a new colleague should be motivated to accept challenges and be open to new topics. She/he should simply enjoy taking on responsibility, furthering their education and thus development. In my opinion, in-depth specialist knowledge in the field of IT security or years of experience in sales are not as important.

FA: What do you like best about working at usd?
Kohl: We are a team! Everyone is invested in each other’s success. When I go on holiday or when I’m ill, I can rely on my colleagues to continue to look after “my” clients just as well as their own. This team spirit is really something special. Our decision-making processes are quick: waiting for decisions or approvals for months is not the way usd works. Therefore, we can usually clarify questions or issues at short notice and face-to-face.

About Anna-Magdalena Kohl
usd Sales Representative, 
PCI Professional

Anna-Magdalena Kohl completed her Bachelor’s degree in Economics in Konstanz and graduated with a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Goethe University in Frankfurt. She gained her first practical experience in telephone customer support, personnel development and subsequently in sales. It was not until she joined usd that she came into contact with IT security. She was so excited about the challenge and the growing relevance of the field that she decided to stay with it.