Interview with Lina Urso and Susanne Lamatz, trainees

Training to Become a Business Management Assistant at Zapp

Lina Urso and Susanne Lamatz do not know each other personally, but they have much in common. They are both future business management assistants, currently working in sales and in their second year of training. Susanne Lamatz is doing her training at the site in Ergste, Lina Urso is at Ferdinand Wagner in Pforzheim.

Both had done work experience with other companies before they started training in order to find out whether a commercial career was really as interesting as they both imagined. Although their placements led to the same end result, their experiences were very different. By the end of her stay, Lina Urso was allowed “to handle interesting tasks”. In her company, Susanne Lamatz did no more than filing right to the end. “Although I realized of course at the time that these are typical tasks for a school leaver,” the 19-year-old recalls, “I was still a little disappointed.”

But Susanne Lamatz has remained undeterred; she still wants to qualify as a business management assistant. Today, working in sales at Zapp, she values the fact that she deals with customers from many different countries. The language of business is of course English, and she is glad that she chose it as one of her main options at school: “Here at Zapp, they have also given me a course in Business English to teach me all the important technical and commercial terms.”

Lina Urso also appreciates all the international contacts. When she was looking for a company to do her training with, she specifically looked for one that operates worldwide. In addition to German, she speaks Italian, English and French and is currently doing a Spanish course. As well as all these different languages, she loves the mathematics involved in her job: “I’ve always found it fun to work with numbers and to identify the system behind them. With a correct understanding, even something that appears to be ‘dry’ like accounting is much more interesting than many students believe.”

Both women also value the fact that, during their training, they are also acquiring specialized technical knowledge. “If customers have a question, I need to have some idea of what they want to do and the sort of material that is needed,” says Susanne Lamatz. “Naturally, as a sales rep I don’t give any technical advice; that is obviously the job of the engineers. But at the very least, I need to understand enough to be able to pass people on to the right department.”

Sound training with opportunities for further development

Lina Urso is certain that she is receiving sound training that will serve her well as she seeks to further her career. But just like Susanne Lamatz, she is not yet sure what she wants to do after completing her apprenticeship. Studying for a degree is something that both are considering. “In any case, I would like to first get some post-qualification experience,” says Lina Urso. This is what Susanne Lamatz would like too. She can well imagine herself working in sales at Zapp at a later stage.

Training as a business management assistant at Zapp takes two years. The normal three-year training period has actually been shortened as a matter of policy. This is not the only reason that Susanne Lamatz is convinced that, in addition to good grades in school, real persistence is important in her profession. “Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and tackle difficult subjects on your own,” she says. “Anyone who gives up too easily has a problem. You also have to be able to communicate. If you have to think twice before you answer the phone, you will probably not be successful, at least not in sales.”