Tom Enders has had an interesting academic background, prior to getting involved in Germany’s political affairs and the German defense sector and then his corporate career at Airbus and EADS. In his early 20s, besides the University of Bonn, he also went abroad to the United States to study economics, politics, and history, an experience that gave him a launch into ‘going international.’ He offers his advice for young business graduates in their 20s today.
What did your time at UCLA bring to you?
I loved the Californian way of life- the international experience and the campus experience. I did a lot of skydiving at the time and rented cars to drive into the California desert and explore. I began life as a country boy. While it was at Bonn that I first left the countryside, it was UCLA and my military years that have had a major imprint on my personality and personal development.
What advice would you give to a business student, just completing their studies and embarking on their career?
Firstly, you should select a job that you like. You should then go international as soon as possible while you don’t have family. In particular you should get some experience in Asia because that is where the future lies.
Also, you should not stay too long in your first assignment, no more than two or three years, as you need to get a variety of different experiences.
What advice would you give to a 20-year-old Tom Enders?
My career is so weird in the sense because in the first ten years, I did not work in business. I studied economics, political science, and history. I then worked on the political side, government defense ministry, and think tanks. I did this because I thought it was exciting and interesting.
I think you shouldn’t have a rigid career plan as some people do. I would say to young people not to be narrowly focused on your career plan. That’s the biggest mistake young people can make, because you won’t see the opportunities that open up. It is the unexpected stuff that is exciting. So be open and go for opportunities that were not in your plan. Follow your instincts and your interests. As long as you’re doing something that’s exciting to you, you’re good at it, somebody will become aware of you. Also, you should go international. I always loved working in international environments, and the business is what is keeping me energized today.
The worry for young graduates is that, if they go from job to job, people will accuse them of not knowing what they were doing.
One should not follow the flavor of the month. Sometimes you have to swim against the tide. It is very much a question of character and personality. With young people, I think it’s important that you get, in a rather short period of time, “different angles from the take.” So try to get experience here and there, instead of getting stuck within a job straight away.
In your late 20s, it is a good time to get an assistant (to the CEO) job. This will give you a glimpse into how decisions are made at the top, how processes are followed (or not followed), what is process-driven, and what is intuitive and situational. This is important because people who do not get this type of experience could make assumptions about how it all works and how a company’s governance works. Assistant jobs are make-it or break-it jobs. They can show you if you can handle this type of job in the future.
This type of job is always risky, but is very rewarding. Yet, young people should be risk-takers. Don’t be afraid of challenges. Even if you fail, whatever that is, if you’re doing something that’s exciting to you, you’ll find a new opportunity.
An Interview with Tom Enders, CEO of EADS (Airbus) Part 1: The challenges of running a large international corporation
In May, I had the opportunity to interview Tom Enders, CEO of EADS. The company is often better known for its Airbus division. EADS is a pan-European corporation that employs over 140 000 people and generated revenues of nearly €57 billion last year. It is a fascinating company for many reasons; its governance with diverse political interests, the strategic importance of the aeronautical industry and the very international structure of the organization. I am very grateful to Tom Enders and his team at EADS for a very open discussion I had.
An Interview with Tom Enders, CEO of EADS (Airbus) Part 2: Strategy and execution in the aircraft industry)
Tom Enders is the CEO of EADS, the parent company of Airbus, the giant commercial aircraft company. EADS is a pan European corporation that employs over 140 000 people and generated revenues of nearly €57 billion last year. In the second part of this three-fold interview, Tom Enders talks about strategic execution at Airbus and EADS, how politics can influence strategic plans and the relationship between Airbus and Boeing.
“To know how to buy, you must know how to sell.” Lessons on Purchasing and Networking with Philippe Grau
Philippe Grau, an alumnus from Grenoble Ecole de Management (graduated 1997), is currently a Commodity Sourcing Group Leader in Airbus’ Procurement, an Organization with over 2000 employees, including buyers, sourcing group leaders (like Philippe), multi-functional team leaders, supply chain specialists, and many other professionals.
A GEM Alumnus’ Account of His Time at Airbus: Insights into the European Working Context
Navir Rustomfram-Shukla, a recent alumnus from Grenoble Ecole de Management, is presently working at Airbus as a financial controller. He had previously studied at the University of Mumbai in India and graduated in Economics before veering off into business.
It was a great pleasure during the last semester to share a class at Grenoble EM with Dr. Gregg Glover. Gregg has been a good friend for many years (though he might deny this!) and I am delighted he accepted our invitation.
He did his doctorate in organization change at Harvard University and has worked there for over 25 years. He was able to bring his vast teaching and professional experience to the class and share some of the things he has learned and studied while working for the world’s most known university. Read more…
|One of the great man’s last works. Contains the concept of N=1; R=G.||An excellent history of finance. Easy to read and lots of interesting examples.||