Adam Rückl comes from Ústí nad Labem and currently works for Škoda Auto in Mladá Boleslav. He graduated from the IES in 2017 with a Master's degree. During his studies, he completed an exchange stay in Hamburg, Germany, but also gained a lot of work experience. During his undergraduate studies, he started to work at the Ministry of Finance in the Financial Management and Audit Section, and subsequently worked in management consulting at Grant Thornton and also PwC. He also passed an internship at CzechTrade, where he spent 3 months in the USA at the Chicago office. After returning to the Czech Republic and finishing his studies at IES, he went straight to Škoda Auto, first as a product manager, after 4 years he changed this position to technical project manager. In his free time he enjoys cars, running, travelling, good food and sometimes playing guitar.
Adam, when we talk about your studies at the IES? What did you enjoy the most?
I have really nice memories of my studies in Opletalova Street and I regularly come back to them in my thoughts. I am surprised that I have kept some of them for the whole decade.
For me, above all the IES is a especially inspiring environment full of smart and often very versatile people - teachers and students, among whom I have made several great friends. In addition to the knowledge I gained in the field of economics, the IES opened up many new horizons for me and influenced my future direction quite significantly.
Among specific subjects, I will mention the courses of Mathematics with Dr. Johanis in the first place, which, especially at the beginning, were a great challenge and a test of my study motivation. I really enjoyed econometrics and its practical application, which I also used in my bachelor and master thesis. And with regard to my current job, I also remember German for Economists, which was taught by Mrs. Regina Faltýnová.
You worked in the USA for Czech Trade for a few months. How was that experience? Was it a very demanding job? Did not you have any intentions to stay in the US longer?
At the CzechTrade office in Chicago I experienced how the business environment in the United States really works. I consider that to be an unique experience. Our main job was to support small and medium-sized Czech companies when entering the American market and further expansion in there. In practice, this involved a variety of work ranging from preparing feasibility studies, arranging and organising participation in traditional large-scale trade fairs to contacting potential business partners directly. In contrast to IES, where we operated mostly on a quantifiable and exact level, I had to focus more on the development of soft skills, which are at least equally necessary for a successful outcome. I wouldn't trade the US for Europe permanently, but it's a huge and interesting country that I definitely plan to return to as a traveler.
You have been working at ŠKODA AUTO in Mladá Boleslav for more than 5 years. How did you get into this rather unusual company for the IES graduates? Was it more by chance, or did you want to work at ŠKODA for some particular reason?
Good question, actually it was probably a combination of both. My journey at Skoda Auto started long before the IES. I decided sometime around the age of 4 that cars would be my (probably lifelong) hobby. So when choosing a university, apart from the IES, I also considered CVUT, where I was attracted by my interest in automotive technology. However, I realised that economics and finance made more sense to me in terms of career path. The IES impressed me with its open and versatile environment. I then partially supplemented my technical education by obtaining an apprenticeship certificate as an auto mechanics, which I completed remotely during my university studies.
Of the typical professions for the IES’s graduates, consulting was probably the closest to my heart. I also worked there during my Master's studies - first at Grant Thornton and then at PwC Advisory. Coincidence also really played role in my further choice of full-time employment, as I sent my CV to Škoda Auto basically just because I was curious. I was lucky, because there was an open position in product management, which is a bit similar to consulting in some ways and combines my favourite sector - automotive. I went to Mlada Boleslav for an interview with the plan of finding out more information and take some time for consideration. However, during the interview with my future boss, it fitted so much that we immediately agreed to work together.
You are now at the position of technical project lead. Is your job more about communication or does it also require a lot of analytical skills? What should students focus on if they want to work in a similar position?
I spent about 4 years at Skoda in product management, where I worked on several interesting projects related to the new generation Octavia. For example, I managed an overseas project for the Indian market, which involved not only ensuring local production in Aurangabad, but also the overall customisation of the product itself for the local market. Despite the adverse circumstances, we managed to implement all the necessary activities during the Covid period, often without any personal contact with our Indian colleagues. My current position is in technical development, specifically technical project management. The team I lead is responsible for the overall project of developing the new model in terms of content, deadlines and finance.
To answer the question, both positions have in common that you have to integrate and sometimes channel the often conflicting interests of a number of different departments across the company. In such a situation, getting the communication strategy right is crucial, and it's an area where I had to learn a lot, especially initially. At the same time, one is confronted with a great complexity of topics and information of various natures, which must be handled in a structured and efficient manner. On the other hand, more work with data or various simulations/programming is certainly not standard activity.
The advantage of IES graduates is their flexibility and versatility in solving different types of problems. Therefore, in my opinion, when looking for a job, it is important not to be afraid to step outside of the box and if the field is close to your heart, you can always find a way to pursue it in a meaningful way.
Adam, you are also a father, how do you combine this role with work, do you not just see your child in the crib? Do you think your work-life balance is really balanced?
Finding enough time for family, friends, and myself is an important topic for me in the long run. One of the things I appreciate about my job is that it doesn't normally mean a 60-hour work week. Still, there is plenty of work, and recent parenting experience (we have a one-year-old boy at home) has repeatedly shown that there is never enough free time - my wife and I usually miss a few hours each day.
The time spent with the children during this period is irreplaceable, which is why I decided to take the opportunity to spend 6 months on parental leave with my son. We start this September and I believe it will be an interesting and enriching experience for everyone. :-)