C-suite career advice: Paul Resch, Valutico

How important are specific certifications? “I think the signalling effect of certifications (such as university degrees) is waning. The challenges we are facing are becoming increasingly complex, so certifications won’t be of much help.”

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Valutico

Name: Paul Resch

Company: Valutico

Job Title: CEO & Co-Founder

Location: Vienna, Austria

Paul Resch, Austrian CEO & Co-Founder, is an M&A and valuation expert formerly working for Raiffeisen Investment AG, Boston Consulting Group and Deutsche Bank. He also gained relevant experience as an entrepreneur due to his role as co-founder and CEO of Greetzly (founded in 2014), a web based video communication tool to interact with influencers and celebrities. Following his studies at the University of St.Gallen, Columbia University and the London School of Economics his professional career was focused on mergers & acquisitions and valuation topics, identifying not only trends but also problems/frustrations across the industry landscape. 

What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received? Do scalable things that can grow beyond your personal time invested.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received? Spread your bets and do many different things. Why is that bad? Well, you might be 10% smarter than the next person, but if you’re only dedicating half of your time that 10% won’t be enough.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT/tech? Keep a broad perspective, don’t specialise too early. There is a widely held belief that to be successful you have to specialise early and focus all your efforts in one area. To dabble or delay just means getting left behind. The best way to succeed is to sample widely, gain a breadth of experiences and take detours. It’s never too late for a career change or to discover that new hobby you love. You might just be amazing at it.

Did you always want to work in IT/tech? No I started my career in banking (which was itself a coincidence) and then later transitioned when I started my own business. When I was working in M&A I spent many nights tirelessly working in Excel which was arduous and subject to error. There was no other tool at the time so I shifted careers from Banking to Fintech and created our own valuation tool.

What was your first job in IT/tech? Co-founder of an app called Greetzly. A platform that allows fans to have personal video interactions with artists, athletes, and influencers of all kinds. It's essentially a video autograph card. Unfortunately we were too early and started in Europe, but there’s now another successful company doing the same thing in the US.

What are some common misconceptions about working in IT/tech? That it’s only about hard, cold facts. The “soft” factors and human interactions matter more than anywhere else. Obviously these interactions are now over zoom / slack but you get what I mean. It’s so important.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position? Continually Educate Yourself. Enhance your knowledge in fields beyond your actual professional know-how. This will open new opportunities! Develop Assertiveness And Flexibility - consider the impacts decisions will have on different areas of the business. It helps to listen!

What are your career ambitions and have you reached them yet? To build a lasting business that improves the way we do things in a sustainable way. Not quite yet, but it looks like we are on track.

Do you have a good work life balance in your current role? Depends on who you ask. I’ve always been very good at switching off from work when home but given we are now working more and more from home this is proving more difficult. I really savour weekends and try as much as possible to switch off then.

What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? I spent 5 years in a corporate role when 2 or 3 probably would have been enough from a personal growth and learning perspective.

Which would you recommend: A coding bootcamp or a computer science degree? Coding bootcamp. It’s always wise to calculate your ROI. Most coding bootcamp graduates invest 3 - 6 months in a program, while degree students invest 4 years.

How important are specific certifications? I think the signalling effect of certifications (such as university degrees) is waning. The challenges we are facing are becoming increasingly complex, so certifications won’t be of much help. The crucial skill to have is to be able to get up to speed quickly on whatever topic comes up.

What are the three skills or abilities you look for in prospective candidates? Drive, curiosity and wit.

What would put you off a candidate? Complacency and arrogance.

What are the most common mistakes made by candidates in an interview? How can those mistakes be avoided? Lack of preparation. So many don’t read the job description - you ‘d be surprised how many don’t. We actually include a line in our job specs stating that a certain word should be used in the opening line of the cover letter. If it’s not mentioned, they didn’t read the entire job description and they don’t make it to the next round.

Do you think it is better to have technical or business skills – or a mix of both? I’d say a healthy mix of both is ideal. One area of struggle for some company owners and managers is determining the appropriate mix of these skills, and determining which areas of skill development are worthy of company resources. It’s important to get it right.