The professional network QX-Quarterly Crossing from Frankfurt with its 2,000 members promotes careers. It is not about classic headhunting, but all about exchange and mutual support. Students as well as board members and entrepreneurs benefit from the QX network and activities, from the access to extraordinary jobs and career opportunities, from internships to supervisory board mandates. Or the members simply benefit from networking in search of sparring and cooperation partners, of top talents and investors.

QX has initiated a Leaders4Students Program that takes place from 20th to 24th April. It is an enriching exchange between selected leaders and students. On Wednesday, 22nd April, our founder Cornelia was invited to answer questions from 10 young talents via a Zoom meeting.

We are happy to support a partnership with QX and are honored to participate in its Leaders4Students Program, says Cornelia. It has been an exciting meeting with these students and it was a lot of fun. I hope I was able to inspire by my experiences and views. For us it is very important to support young talents and to contribute to their personal development.

These students come from all disciplines – from prospective industrial engineers to bioinformatics, physics and business administration students. In addition, they are in various stages of their studies – from bachelor’s and master’s degrees to doctorates. But what interested them about Cornelia was her career and her leadership qualities. Therefore, we have put together some of the students’ most important questions and Cornelia’s answers.

  • What was your most memorable experience and what are the reasons for this?

As stupid as it sounds, but I got fired once because of the economic crisis in 2008, which made me extremely humble and also made me rethink about the general situation and caused a certain moment of shock. In everything I do, I have that in mind. It is not necessarily always up to you as a person – and this has become my greatest opportunity in life.

  • What criteria do you use when making decisions?

Well, first, I’m trying to figure out what I want. Then I evaluate this desire in the short, medium and long term. Then there are some basic values which I like to call my ethical minimum and which must not be undercut. On this basis I then decide.

  • What are your personal career secrets?

Do it. I believe in the very banal but in my world very true saying: Success has three letters in German: TUN. (Get it done!) And be authentic. If it doesn’t fit, it just doesn’t fit. That doesn’t matter, it’ll fit somewhere else. Besides, not everything is sunshine. Thunderstorms are part of it, always and everywhere. To accept this is certainly a secret recipe.

  • How do you motivate yourself every day?

When I look at what you can do, what exists, who exists, how big the world is, what has been invented, how to make progress every day, what books have been created, music, art and such – I mean, how can I not motivate myself every day? I definitely don’t want to miss something of life.

  • What are your general principles and tricks for a “good” leadership style?

For me, good leadership is when someone can teach me something new and is open to new ideas, is visionary and let me do it. Not just letting things run, but letting things do and being agile enough to adapt things – without deviating from the bigger picture.

  • How do you assess the development in recruiting, especially the trend towards performance-based hiring?

That’s just old wine in new hoses – maybe just a better schematic representation of what the ideal hiring process could look like for some companies. Now one must not completely ignore the fact that the current trend is no longer about higher, faster, further. Through this method I would have a high-performing team, but it is also highly homogeneous. It may all still work in relatively standardized jobs, but performance-based hiring will be the downfall if you really want to become innovative.

  • Is practical experience more important for a management career than studies?

That depends: In the field of aviation you certainly don’t want an engineer who has never heard or seen anything about this subject. Here, education and experience should go hand in hand. This also applies to medical professions and the like. On the other hand, the manager does not have to be a specialist in many fields. He or she has acquired a wide range of knowledge through experience, which can also be quite independent of primary studies – and he or she is nevertheless or precisely for this reason the best manager you could wish for.