Mamadou about his career at Bosch and a fresh start in the Philippines
Interview with Mamadou, Head of Bosch Service Solutions Philippines
Mamadou started his career at Bosch in 2008, when he worked as a student in Customer Service for tickets at Bosch Service Solutions in Magdeburg, Germany. Within three years he became Operations Manager, and in 2013 he joined the team for a leading German airline in the same role. He was later appointed Global Operations Manager and most recently held the role of Global Key Account Manager. In February 2020, Mamadou was named Head of Bosch Service Solutions Philippines.
How did you and your family find settling into your new life in Manila?
It was very exciting to experience a new country, a different culture and new responsibilities as a Technical & Commercial Responsible. I was very much looking forward to my new duties and to living in Manila. I was delighted to receive such a warm welcome. Settling in and adjusting isn't something that happens overnight, and the current corona virus related restrictions pose significant challenges. But I'm ready and willing to take them on.
Are there any cultural differences between Germany and the Philippines?
Yes, obviously there are differences. Take communication, for example. In Magdeburg I received direct feedback from employees, some of it in the form of criticism. In Manila, most employees are very reserved. I'm trying to convince them that constructive feedback will help make our business better. One of the things I really like is the strong sense of community among employees. I find that highly motivating.
"One of the things I really like is the strong sense of community among employees."
Did you spend a long time considering the offer from Manila?
I didn't, because I'd been working toward a position as Technical & Commercial Responsible for many years. For me personally, moving to another city or country isn't a problem. As a child I moved around a lot with my family, and I'd already spent four years living in Mali. For my wife the decision was more difficult and we spent a lot of time discussing it. It's very important to me that my family feels happy in Manila.
What do you see as the key to your successful career?
Passion and ambition. My knowledge of English and French has also helped me. And, of course, I've had a little bit of luck on my side as well. Getting to know our business from the ground up and being able to develop my skills gradually has really helped me. It's always great to dream big, but with a healthy dose of realism. Early on in my career, I had positions in mind that I was clearly not yet ready for. You have to be patient and consistently follow your chosen path. Even if things don't always go according to plan.
How did you handle the sudden coronavirus lockdown in Manila?
Obviously, it was a big shock at first. Within the space of a few days the capital was in a state of emergency. This was an unfamiliar situation for everyone and I had just started in my new role. We had to work as a team to adapt to our new circumstances, and this actually helped bring us closer together. All of the employees here have been amazing. Some of them even took their monitors home on the back of their bikes so that they could work remotely.
What long-term changes might we see as a result of the crisis?
I would expect to see more flexible working models in the future. Throughout this crisis we have proven to our customers that we can respond quickly and provide the same level of service working from home. Acceptance of new working models has therefore risen sharply. The biggest advantages to working from home that I see are more flexible working hours and time savings for employees. This is a positive development particularly for those who normally have a long commute – sometimes up to two hours.
You've been with Bosch Service Solutions for 12 years now. What do you like about the company?
I appreciate the fact that I've been able to follow a somewhat unconventional career path. I started off as a student, but immediately realized that I really enjoy working and that I could develop my skills here. I am now a Technical & Commercial Responsible in Manila, an achievement of which I am very proud of. And I did it despite not completing my studies. I'm also happy that Service Solutions is part of the Bosch Group, which brings security and stability. At the same time, everyone working in our business unit is both agile and flexible. This is a fantastic combination and is the key to our success.
What are your goals in Manila?
We want to continue to grow successfully and profitably. We want to consolidate our position as a mainly English-speaking Service Center in the Service Solutions network and further develop our skills in the area of service design and automation. Over the coming months I'll be developing an appropriate strategy with my team.
What do you do in your free time?
I used to play a lot of team sports, especially basketball and football. Unfortunately, I don't have the time for that these days. I also like to play the guitar or go fishing. I already knew Manila pretty well from my business trips here. I know a few beautiful lakes in the area that are ideal places to go fishing. For me it's the perfect way to relieve stress.