Sara’s Success Story
‘When I started my master studies in Frankfurt, it was important for me to be able to apply and deepen the theoretical knowledge of my studies in practice. I didn’t just want a job that would be a nice addition to my CV, but one that would allow me to learn my profession from scratch.’ Sara started as a working student in the marketing team and we are very pleased that she has achieved one of her goals and has become our new marketing manager.
Along the way and also during the Covid-19 lockdown in Germany, she has successfully written her Master’s Thesis at billwerk with the title: The influence of subscription business models on the customer journey of companies in the manufacturing B2B sector. ‘My first source of inspiration was the Subscription Leaders’ Summit 2019, which billwerk organized. There, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hermann gave a presentation on the complementary transition of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG into the Subscription Economy. On that day, I realized how important the digitalization of the industry is for Germany and what an essential role Subscription Business Models play in this process.’
An inside look at Sara’s Success Story.
What was the reason you chose to write your Master’s thesis at billwerk?
‘Since billwerk is strongly connected in the Subscription Economy and maintains contacts with a wide variety of experts, I had access to exclusive knowledge. As my topic was in the B2B sector, it would have been difficult to establish contact with experts without billwerk. billwerk also enabled me to participate in the Service Forum of the FIR Institute at the RWTH Aachen University as part of my Master’s thesis, where I was able to discuss my topic with Germany’s leading subscription experts and get tips and tricks from them. Last but not least, billwerk also gave me the possibility to have access to the experts whom I interviewed as part of the methodological part of the work (qualitative expert interview) and on the basis of which my data collection took place’
What were the benefits of writing your Master’s thesis at billwerk?
‘The process of addressing the subject was really difficult at times. In addition to the fact that there is only little research literature on the subject, the Covid 19 pandemic made it even more difficult. When I started working on the subject, there was a lockdown in Germany, which meant that I had suddenly only online access to literature (the few books that exist) and to the experts and supervisors. Thanks to the equipment (laptop, but especially tools like GoToMeeting or Microsoft Teams), which billwerk had already provided to me as a working student, I was able to stay in regular contact and make the most out of it.
I also had a lot of support: On the one hand, from my billwerk advisors Ricco and Pierre , who not only provided me with professional support, but also always had a solution ready, especially for bureaucratic issues. My colleagues Daniela and Hüseyin also helped me whenever I had a question, and they counter-read chapters page by page and provided input from their perspective. At this point I would like to say a big thank you to everyone! I can say that writing my thesis at billwerk not only had advantages due to better access to information, but also due to the support of the whole team, which is a huge advantage.’
What have you learned during the process of your thesis at billwerk?
‘Never give up. When the world seems unfair to you and you think you can’t go any further, you just have to look around and you see all the people who will support and help you.’
‘billwerk counts on the expertise of each individual employee, which means that everyone is an important part and key player in the company. However, this does not mean that you have to be an expert in your field before you join billwerk. In fact, you become an expert through dedicated coaching.’ – Sara Pfenning
Any piece of advice for students planning to write a thesis?
‘Pick a topic that really interests you and do not shy away from new things. You spend a lot of time on the subject and in the end, it is your best showpiece.’
We are very happy that after your studies, you chose to continue at billwerk in the offered role as Marketing Manager. What keeps you motivated to keep on rocking with billwerk?
‘I am particularly looking forward to the experience I will be able to gain in the future and I am excited about the tasks and projects I will be taking on. I was familiar with topics such as disruption and innovation from lectures in my Master’s program. But to actively participate and be part of change is not only incredibly exciting but also absolutely inspiring.’
How has the transition from a student position to your new role in a time of Covid-19 and remote work been and what do you enjoy the most about your current role at billwerk?
‘At billwerk you learn to take responsibility for tasks and projects at an early stage. Especially as a student, this was sometimes a great challenge for me, but it helps you to develop both personally and professionally and has prepared me very well for my role as a permanent employee.
The transition from working student to marketing manager was smooth. Unlike other students, I did not have a gap year or anything like that. Therefore, the new job was very unusual for me – not only because you work more hours all at once, but because I had more responsibility and therefore had to rely more on my decisions and actions. However, the anticipation of new tasks and the familiarisation with new topics was too much fun for me to let this uncertainty be a challenge for a long time.’
What does this new career step mean to you professionally and personally?
‘From a professional point of view I have taken one more step along the way. Now that I have completed my academic training, I am keen to be seen as an expert in practice and to gain as much experience as possible in my field. I am glad that I am able to gather this experience at billwerk and look forward to using my expertise to drive the company and the industry forward.
During my time at billwerk I have gone through an enormous personal development. I have learned to carry out projects independently, to take responsibility for my tasks and my actions and to stand up for my ideas. I think that the corporate culture and especially the values lived at billwerk have contributed to this. I am curious to see how my development will continue and I am looking forward to the Sara I will be in a year from now.’
‘At billwerk, the modern attitude of the founders, team leaders and colleagues shows that work-life-balance, equal opportunities and compatibility of work and family are not only theoretical constructs, but are actually applied in practice.’- Sara Pfenning