More agile, freer, faster – from police to project management
Julia worked as High Commissioner at the Criminal Investigation Department. After completing a Master of Business Administration at IUBH she switched to the private sector and is now Project Leader at Zurich Airport AG.
My name is Julia and I work as Project Leader at Zurich Airport. I started my professional life, however, as High Commissioner for the criminal police force in Germany. Why did I move to Switzerland? My partner is Swiss and we decided to make his home country our base. We highly value the quality of Switzerland’s leisure activities: we love the mountains, lakes, cheeses and chocolates, and there is an abundance of that here.
Action scenes are rare for a police officer
Even as a kid, I thought Sherlock Holmes and Columbo were great heroes. Solving cases and helping people were two things I wanted to do in the future. Since sports are my passion, I decided to start a career with the Criminal Investigation Department. The work was not as exciting as portrayed on television. Instead of the “action scenes” that are televised, 80 percent of police work involves reports, research and interrogations. At least if you work in the investigative area. Overtime was common, because criminals, unfortunately, do not care about office hours. In addition, I did not have career advancement opportunities.
Venture into new territory – with a flexible MBA degree programme
After ten years of criminal investigative work, I ventured to try something new. I started my MBA online degree programme at IUBH and simultaneously switched from the police force to being a consultant at a Swiss start-up. Among other work that I did there, I generated crisis and emergency concepts, also for the 2017 Ski World Championships in St. Moritz.
I chose the MBA programme because it could give me a solid overview of all relevant topics in the field of business and management. I wanted to study flexibly, quickly and independently, so IUBH Distance Learning was perfect for this. Thanks to the individualised design of the programme, including vlogs, audio lectures and lecture notes, the programme fit well with my life and my learning style. Today, I can apply many of the techniques I learned to analysis and projects. I also gained competence in regards to dealing with colleagues and managing teams.
Zurich Airport – a professional challenge
After finishing my MBA I started working at Zurich Airport AG as Project Leader. I had an intensive orientation-training programme so the new start went smoothly. Nevertheless, it will take many years to understand all the processes because an airport is a complex environment with many different stakeholders. I do think, however, that so far I have established myself well in my area.
My responsibilities include project management, quality control management, training topics for the area security, and the planning and implementation of communication campaigns – to name just a few. Particularly challenging is working with different partners and requirements. The aviation industry is also a highly regulated area, so in many respects one cannot be as flexible as one might want to be. That can also be very challenging.
Fast pace of private sector is a big difference
The biggest contrast to my work with the police is the fast pace of the private sector. Job security is a bit lower, but everything is more agile and one can make decisions more freely. With the police, the primary focus is on investigation of criminal offenses and less so on economic efficiency. Free market enterprise requires more managerial and economical thinking. In my current job, however, I can put the methodological skills I learned as a police officer – the ability to analyse and process things, to tackle projects – to good use. Similarly helpful, are the communication skills and ability to judge character that I learned as a police officer.
What are my plans for the future? In general, I always want to find and master new challenges and expand my leadership skills. Since I just started my job eight months ago, my next professional steps are not yet planned in detail.