< SWITCH ME >

ANGELIKA INGLSPERGER Selects GRADUATES FOR ALLIANZ GROUP

E&M: In these economically difficult times, is it still possible for Allianz to hire and train new, young employees regularly?

Inglsperger: Of course we still hire, though we hire selectively and do not search for a fixed number of new employees. We are always looking for new staff in sales and in certain target groups such as actuaries. We also constantly hire apprentices and are always in need of interns and working students.

E&M: What different kinds of jobs can I apply for at Allianz? Can I only apply if I have a degree in business studies?

ANGELIKA INGLSPERGER

inglspergerBefore Angelika Inglsperger came to Allianz she started in an advertising agency, then spent three years as a consultant in European marketing. At Allianz SE, she is Head of Global Employer Branding and Recruiting. She is responsible for the positioning of Allianz Group as an employer on the global market.

Inglsperger: There are many different types of jobs within the Allianz Group. On our career website you will currently find 18 different job profiles; those range from finance positions, sales and underwriting to communications. Of course a majority of employees have a business background.

Working in the actuarial field, however, requires mathematical skills. The work of an underwriter entails outlining risks and assessing big projects such as bridges - the know-how of an engineer is needed here. For our IT and operations department we need computer scientists or graduates in business information systems, and for communications we are looking for people experienced in journalism.

E&M: As an applicant, should I already have gained some experience working or interning in a certain field before I apply to Allianz?

Inglsperger: For graduates it depends on which Allianz company they apply to: some offer trainee programs and experience in a specific field is not as important.

Allianz Germany for example offers the 'Vorstandsassistentenprogramm' ("executive assistants program") which has three different stages: first you work as an executive assistant of a board member, then you work in sales and finally you spend some time in a specific function or project at head office. For this program, leadership potential is more important than experience specific to the field. However, if the company offers a direct hire, people who have completed internships in areas related to insurance or asset management are more desirable.

E&M: Allianz is an international company. Is it important that your employees speak multiple languages?

Inglsperger: English is the corporate language; if you work at the global headquarters at Allianz SE in Munich it is more important to speak English than German.

E&M: What practices are unacceptable, or frowned upon, for applicants? Are there any common mistakes I should avoid during the application process?

Inglsperger: There certainly are avoidable mistakes that happen quite frequently. No-gos in applications are typos, addressing the wrong person (for example copy and pasting the name of the competitor) or failing to provide enough reasons for wanting to work for Allianz. In the interview it is important to be prepared and to be able to deal with questions: if someone asks you to list briefly three stages of your work experience in which you have explored a certain area and you sum up your entire CV again, it just shows the interviewer that you did not understand the task.

E&M: How do I find out about job openings at Allianz?

Inglsperger: Allianz Group is very decentralised, with many companies in many different countries. We are currently working on an e-recruiting tool allowing applicants to search globally for jobs. Thus far, there are ten Allianz companies listed; the goal is to cover the job openings of all Allianz companies. For now, you can go to "search for jobs worldwide" on our website which covers around 90 Allianz companies and lets you search by country, company or business line.

E&M: Does Allianz offer special programs for its employees to work abroad?

ALLIANZ GROUP

Founded in 1890 in Berlin, Allianz Group today has more than 155 000 employees working in over 70 countries, with a strong presence especially in European countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain and Greece. It includes around 900 Allianz companies worldwide. The headquarters are located in Munich, Germany. Products range from insurance for major Hollywood and Bollywood productions to insurance for huge building projects such as the construction of the 12,3 km long Incheon-Bridge in South Korea.

Well aware of the costs of potential damages through climate change, most insurance companies are also highly interested in improved energy efficiency. Allianz has conducted studies in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund and made headlines with their campaigns to raise awareness for insurance solutions to prevent largescale destruction caused by climate change.

Inglsperger: It depends on the company. If you work for one of the international companies, international job rotation is often part of the development plan. Thus there is a 100% chance to work abroad.

The Allianz insurance companies also have exchange programs called "international assignments" between the local insurance companies and the headquarters. There are also group initiatives; we invite experts to the headquarters company for a certain period of time to work on a specific project. We have both short term project appointments, sending people to another country for four months, and international assignments for two or three years.

E&M: How will I be trained when I start working for your company?

Inglsperger: For every new employee there is "on-boarding," a day to introduce them to the company. Often they will also be assigned a mentor, or "buddy" as many companies call them. Those mentors are experienced employees who are there to help and answer practical questions.

Apart from local on-boarding activities we have functional and regional training academies and the Allianz corporate university, the Allianz Management Institute (AMI). The AMI is our international platform for leadership development and dialogue and offers strategic discussions with our board members as well as lectures and workgroups.

Furthermore we offer global development programs for specific target groups. Just to give you one example: we offer selected senior actuaries a three week global training program during which they will receive training in their field of expertise as well as in the areas of project management or communication skills. The training is followed by a three-month international assignment in a department at head office and a specific Allianz Group project.

E&M: To get an impression of your company: what should I expect the working atmosphere at Allianz to be like? How is your company organised?

Inglsperger: We have employees of very different backgrounds and many nationalities, if you walk into the cafeteria of Allianz SE you will experience the very international atmosphere and hear the many different languages spoken there. We even have French, Spanish and English 'Stammtisch' (groups of regulars) meetings.

Integrity and trust are our core principals. At the headquarters for example all employees have the chance to get involved in a social community project of their choice for two days, be it teaching in a school or working in a community service.

E&M: Finally, what is Allianz' unique selling point for young Europeans compared to other financial services companies?

Inglsperger: Allianz is a global company with German roots; working for us there will be many international opportunities, exciting jobs and a variety of ways to develop. We can offer a career in an expert field, as well as work on international projects or a management career. The possibilities are almost unlimited, to quote one of our marketing campaigns: "Expect the unexpected." Allianz offers a lot more than you might assume at first glance. In a nutshell, there are opportunities from A to Z.

Angelika Inglsperger was interviewed by Henrike Maier.

NEXT ISSUE
IN -824 DAYS