Jakub, you have started your career generally quite early, is that correct?
Well, after my high-school graduation, my father told me that if I wanted to move to Prague and to study there, I would have to provide for myself. So I basically started working right away. At first those were smaller part-time jobs in a bar, later on I moved to sales, collections and finally even people management. I anyway kept on doing both, full-time job as well as daily study program. The challenge was that as soon as you get your own income, you start to question, whether you really need that university title. You do.
After you started working at AB InBev, it only took you six months to be promoted. That’s not very common for standard employment.
After six months in my first role, I was promoted to a Specialist in Transport Planning team. We were just implementing system for the UK market and I was offered to be a so called “key-user“, which is basically a guy who tests and designs how should the system work after implementation. And honestly speaking, AB InBev is that kind of a company which moves at a light speed pace. The center in Prague is constantly growing in size year by year. The opportunities are there, you just need to grab them.
Jakub comes from a hipster spa paradise (his words) of Mariánské Lázně 🙂 He studied International Business at VŠE when his friend recommended him for AB InBev. Since then his career moves in light speed. He hopes to make a vice-president one day but the journey is the thrill for him. “It is like with the mountain climbing. Standing on the summit is nice, but what you remember and eventually tell your grandchildren is the story of how you fought the mountain,” says the super-positive young man who – in his free time – also sings in a hardcore band, flies drones and hikes whenever and wherever he can. Kudos, man!
Why is it so fast over there?
We believe that the people we hire need to be significantly better than us. With this mindset you are really going for pure talent, we are talking about highly motivated people, bursting with energy. In this kind of environment, you can´t keep people in similar positions for too long or they will naturally get bored and quit. Their own hunger for growth, however, is enabling even their managers to move up, as they will have plenty of potential successors to choose from.
Another six months, another promotion.
I was lucky enough to be appointed into company´s talent program. It is called BOOST and it is designed to really boost your career. We received plenty of extra trainings like change management, project management, leadership etc. We also were in charge of a very important project that redesigned the company´s means of internal communication. As a result of this program I was ready to step into a managing position. I applied for an Order Taking Team Leader for the UK market, which was basically the department where I started.
Did you ever face any other issue that would come from your new positions and fast promoting?
Apart from having a bit less “free“ time after work I have to admit that all I see are positives. There is always of course this “transition“ period right after you join a new position, when everything is new and you feel totally overwhelmed, but I like even that.
AB InBev is the world’s largest brewer. In their office in Prague, there are almost 600 international employees. “The whole experience is very eye-opening,” says Jakub. Are you also in a search for an exceptional career?
What you currently do is outsource people all around the world. Can you explain how this works?
For almost two years now I work as a Transition Project manager. My job is to define where a certain process should be located, design the knowledge transfer, prepare the communication plan and oversee the whole project. It is really from start to finish, end to end.
And you’re abroad right now on a business trip. Do you travel a lot?
With this role you have to travel a lot in between the sending and receiving locations, so there are times when I basically live in the hotels. Currently, I am in India, and it is almost my second home. I would say I spend about one quarter of the year travelling, usually around Europe or to India. This is not something that you could manage via Skype only. The face to face contact here is an absolute must, especially if you are also running recruitment.
Tell us, how does one work “in the world of beer“? 🙂
It is simply the BEST! I am so fortunate to be working for a beer company. And not just any beer company, I work for the best and the biggest beer producer in the world. I mean, we don´t make diapers or washing powder here. We make something which brings people together. We make a product that you can be passionate about.
Oh boy, stop, we’re already envious! 🙂 How about hobbies, do you have time for any?
I believe that even when you are super-passionate about the work you do, you should still devote equal time to whatever interests you outside of the business. I was always active in music, playing multiple instruments in various bands that ranged from Jazz to Metal. I found the biggest balance as a lead singer in a hardcore band. There is nothing quite like it. You are basically channeling out all the accumulated stress and anger from work in a crazy show where you literally scream your lungs out! Stage diving also helps with that!