Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Jan Karstens, Blue Yonder GmbH

Jan Karstens

  Company: Blue Yonder GmbH

  Job Title: CTO

  Location: Karlsruhe, Germany

What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
You are the architect of your own success. Sure, you need to have a bit of luck to be at the right time at the right place. However, if you feel trapped in your current position or company from a career perspective you are responsible to change something about it.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
Stick with the status quo.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
With my own background in software engineering, my advice is to become an expert in one field that is relevant to the company you work in. Ideally, pick a company and team that makes you feel humble and will puts you into an environment that enables you to learn quickly. Look, listen, and learn how the most adept colleagues solve technical problems, communicate with their peers, and drive decisions beyond their team’s horizon. These are the basic skills you will need to become a significant contributor to a company’s success.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Demonstrate your willingness and ability to take over responsibility, shape opinions, and lead people. Be patient and persistent because you will not get promoted for a single success but a consistent behavior over time and your ability to cope with setbacks. Most crucially, understand that the tech industry is about technology only at its surface – it is the people and your interaction with them that matters most.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
Everybody is responsible on his/her own to advance their own career. So advice can – at best – tip the scale. However, I was lucky enough to have met a couple of people during my career that achieved great successes later on.


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