Interview

Thomas Schöpf

COO, Kapsch CarrierCom AG



More than one step ahead: from trainee to the Board
Thomas Schöpf is Kapsch CarrierCom Sales Director

“In summer 1992, just before completing my studies, I was interested – like many of my fellow students – in a trainee programme, which I suppose could be seen as a form of “career entry point”. At that time I was focusing on industrial/technology companies, as a result of my technical college training (electrical engineering) and subsequent studies at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. In the end, the choice boiled down to two companies in the telecommunications sector, one of which was Kapsch.

In the first company, I was told that I would need to decide between a technical or commercial route before the start of the programme, and that there was a set career plan based on this decision, which would lead to a post that was already in place. I was somewhat disillusioned by the time of my interview with Kapsch. But it turned out that there was a completely different trainee philosophy here. Firstly, my combination of training was presented as something desirable, and secondly there was a clearly stated objective for the trainee programme – that is, to bring on market-oriented next-generation managers. The date of 2 November 1992 is etched in my memory. As Trainee Number 3 (!) ever at Kapsch, I received a very warm welcome from my two colleagues. We had the opportunity to get to know the areas of work and the strategies in the individual areas of the business. This also meant that we became communicators between the company management and staff in our respective departments, in a positive sense, not least also contributing to the positive status of the “trainees” at Kapsch.

My personal career led me into what at that time was the “Strategic Business Unit/Public Exchange Engineering” during only the second six-month period of my work at Kapsch. In this unit, traditionally, there had been few young managers. In 1994 there was the first key career orientation for me: I decided to become involved in what at that time was the new field of mobile telephony.

The liberalisation of the telecoms markets in 1996 saw what at that time was the biggest challenge in my still short career: the new tender for the switching network for the newly-established Mobilkom Austria. After long nights of working, together with my small team we succeeded in convincing the unit management and the Board that we would only have an opportunity to win the tender with an exceptionally aggressive approach. After that, things moved on quickly and we secured the tender. The trust gained through this action with our customer Mobilkom Austria was the basis for our success, and my career grew with the rise of the mobile phone sector. In 1999, I was also given responsibility for fixed network sales.

In a meeting agreed upon at short notice in autumn 1999, Mr. Georg Kapsch offered me the chance to manage Austria Telecommunication (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Strategic Business Unit), focusing on sales. The Kapsch Group restructuring in 2002 ultimately led to the emergence of Kapsch CarrierCom AG. My appointment as Sales Director at Kapsch CarrierCom AG marked the peak of what is now my long career at Kapsch.

I am proud of these years, and am delighted that I can also continue to assist in shaping the future with this company!”

more testimonials

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- Arezoo EdrisianVice President Research & Development Kapsch TrafficCom AG
- Maria WagnerTrade Compliance Kapsch Components GmbH & Co KG
- Katharina SchermannTrainee 2015 - 2017, Kapsch Group
- Albert HayrSenior Expert, Kapsch CarrierCom AG
- Rodrigo Calvo PaniegoSolution Verification & Validation Kapsch TrafficCom AG
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