Name: Dr. Sarah Müller
Family status: unmarried
What is your job title? Managing director at kununu.de
Where do you live? Vienna/Austria
How would you sum up your life-style? Always on the move and #workworkwork
Hobbies: Running, yoga, theatre, city trips, fashion
Do you follow a philosophy in life? It’s the people that matter!
What is your professional background?
I did my MBA in Cologne and Barcelona and afterwards moved on to Hamburg and Toronto where I finished my PhD. My focus lies in the fields of marketing and market research, because I was always fascinated by buyer and consumer behaviour. I am intrigued to understand how people are „ticking“. After my time at university I started off in the digital field – and stayed there. I like online business because ideas and their realisation are very close to one another. It is very easy to test various ideas and to immediately consider user feedback.
Almost four years ago you started to work for kununu. Meanwhile a top-selling company. Could you give us a quick insight into your work and what you are aiming for?
kununu’s purpose stands for: „We help jobseekers to find the right place to work and create a better workplace for all“. Meanwhile, being Europe’s largest platform for employer ratings, kununu supports job seekers in their search for the employer which really matches their individual needs. kununu gives the chance to gain visibility into what life is like at a company before they decide to apply or join there. We deliver insights from the ones who know best – present and former employees. On top of that employers get feedback from their employees which helps them to understand their strengths and weaknesses and hence to improve.
In my role as managing director I am responsible for marketing, business development, HR and support.
How would you sum up your most important take-aways as a woman in a leading position?
From my experience, I learned that the people you work with are the most important factor. This is valid for seniors as well as for team members. It is crucial to have colleagues who support you and from whom you can learn. Nowadays, I put much more emphasis on this than I used to do in earlier years.
Furthermore, I believe that professional decisions are often overrated. Just because you decided for a certain job at some point, doesn’t mean you have to stick to this move forever. Myself, I always chose the job I really wanted to do and from which I could learn most. That was not necessarily the job best for my career structure.
Do you think you have to struggle harder, because you are a woman?
That is very much depending on the surroundings. I was often lucky enough to work with people who supported me and gave me responsibility. However, I think, that women are very often underestimated. That’s why it is so crucial to work with people who have confidence in your skills. Of course, you then have to pick on the chances.
Consequently, what compromise do you have to make, if any?
In business life you ought to be successful as a team. The key is to understand and consider different perspectives. Especially for women it is most important to build up a network. You should also ask for advice if needed. In my opinion, we currently do that far too little. But you also have to stand up for your point if you are convinced.
Styles4Work is an online shop focused on business fashion and business editorials. What is your estimation on specialized platforms and blogs for future trendsetting?
I am convinced that trends are set more and more in collaboration. Somebody has a new idea and this idea spreads out through the community. The advantage of social media platforms and blogs is the immediate exchange and diffusion of ideas and thereby giving rise to new trends.
Do you use social media yourself?
Yes, I do. Especially Instagram. On the one hand, I use it as a personal diary, on the other, to watch my family &friends. Furthermore, Twitter for HR related subjects, which concern me (@sarah_suggests).
Fashion is an emotional, very personal topic. Is there an outfit that always works for you?
A plain black silk dress. With a coloured blazer it turns into a business outfit. With a few cool accessories it becomes suitable for a dinner or party.
Do you have a favourite office outfit?
I like to wear dresses. The advantage is that you don’t have to think about matching combinations and you are immediately dressed.
Are you including fashion trends in your business outfit?
Kununu is a young online company. People can basically wear (almost) anything they feel like: from slippers and sport pants up to high heels and blazer. Therefore, in our office we don’t have a classical dress code anymore. In fact, people can follow and try out any trend, whatever they feel like. In my case, it is usually hand bags…
Which colors do you wear in the office?
A lot of dark blue and black – that’s why I imposed on myself a shopping ban for black dresses and instead try to wear brighter colours in the office.
What do you always carry in your handbag?
I admit, far too much – that’s why often I can be of help with many things. In any case, I always carry shades with me, regardless of the year’s seasons, always hoping for a glimpse of sun.
Which hint do you have for women who are still looking for their own style?
I like to shop when I travel. Often, you can discover new labels or special pieces. It is also a good opportunity to try out something new and find out what really suits you.
Do you have any advice for young female founders?
Hang on in there – unfortunately, it shows that female founders still have more difficulties in finding investors than male founders. As a woman you sometimes need more persistence and endurance – I like to call it the “ankle-biter” mentality. You need it to be become successful.
Who or what gives you inspiration?
People who turn their sayings into action.
Which social topic is important to you?
That is animal protection – at the kununu office we meanwhile have 12 dogs. Amongst them are a few who really had rough times.