Smilen, please introduce yourself briefly to the readers.
My name is Smilen Hadzhikostov. I've been at XOM Materials for three and a half years and was actually one of the first three employees. I have worked at XOM since day 1 , and I'm currently the Head of Business Development.
What does that mean, what are your tasks?
In a nutshell, I drive the strategic development of the company. This includes responsibilities such as Investor Relations, Business Intelligence and KPIs, Pricing, Business Modelling, Sales Operations – i.e. the use of tools such as Salesforce, and strategic projects that require project management.
Please tell us a little more about your studies and how you started as a working student at XOM Materials.
I was in the middle of my master's degree at the time. At HEC in Paris and Berlin, I did a double degree program; Management and Management and Public Policy. After my year in Paris, I went back to Berlin. There, I was offered the working student position focusing on Strategy and Venture Capital, in a project that would transform the steel industry. I found the topic very interesting and accepted immediately.
Do you still remember your first day at XOM Materials?
Yes, it was actually very funny. I came into the office, and there was nothing yet except a few tables and chairs. One of my first tasks was to order a computer for myself. So we really started from scratch.
Once you had your own computer, what were your tasks as a working student?
All the business tasks were mine. First, I created analyses and outlined strategies: Who are our target customers and how can we reach them? How should a sales process look like? What is our strategy to establish ourselves in the market?