A while back we talked about women in management jobs, while we are on the same topic today, this one is even more special. Jenny Krumme is a top boss at 25. Many of us girls (and boys) in childhood get subjected to the same career question in each party. What would you like to be when you grow up? Plenty among us decide on our career paths quickly and many others go through varied paths before one can safely assume that one has arrived.
Mummy, I’d like to be a Hotel Manager when I grow up, said Jenny (perhaps) and at 25 the dream is a reality. I am not sure how many young girls out there can say that. Disney princesses world over can now let out a Utopian sigh of relief. Jenny Krumme is the top boss at Arcotel Hotel in Berlin, Germany. It is fascinating and inspiring in equal parts.
In Germany, one key reason is the initiation of the Bologna Process through which the school time has been reduced. University graduates can already get good work experience after their bachelor degrees and start a full time career ‘early’.
Priorly 5-6 year stays in the University have not been uncommon in Germany. CEOs at the age of 35-40 are no longer a rarity in the German market now. This trend is particularly pronounced in ‘new’ industries. A CEO in 30s is surely more common in online start-ups compared to traditional automotive empires.
This ‘makeover’ has also brought in a few challenges. Older employees at times feel ignored in decision making leading to ego hassles. There are potential motivation issues and a few may show tendencies of opposing new things in order to maintain older ways of working. But the age of information overload and increasingly strong competition has meant companies need to remain flexible and constantly learn to relearn.
There is no real room for rigid hierarchies and classical models where the length of work experience determines ascent to senior positions. It is about skills and not about time spent in a company.
We spoke to Jenny to understand how she feels to be in a leading position in a hotel chain at such a young age. We are sure as you reach the end of the interview you will also realize why she’s so special…
Boss at 25. How does that feel?
Jenny Krumme: It is a big challenge because on a daily basis we are confronted with lots of new things and have to undertake new responsibilities. This position is fun and allowing me to learn new things on an everyday basis. I am delighted that ARCOTEL Hotels trusted me with such an important role and showed confidence in me to able to fulfill the responsibilites.
Usually, many young people are often unsure of what their career looks like in the near future. However, you seem to have found a career goal quite quick, how did that happen?
Jenny Krumme: I knew what I felt aligned towards at an early age. Once I did a small internship at the hotel, I was fascinated by the interplay of so many employees and departments. Many of my classmates at that time did not really have strong career goals. I did not expect to reach a senior position like this so early, sometimes I can still not believe it.
Germany has less than 3% women in senior management positions. This already puts you in a very special group. What were your biggest influences while growing up?
Jenny Krumme: In my younger years, I spent a lot of time abroad – for instance, in my exchange semesters. Through this I quickly learned to be independent and take care of myself. I always wanted to avoid a standstill in my life professionally. So, I worked all through school to gain experience and also studied alongside. I especially like the fact that many women are in leadership positions in Arcotel hotels (it does not feel weird).
What is your next step? What future goals have you set for yourself?
Jenny Krumme: First I want to expand my knowledge and skills in my current position and achieve goals that I have set for myself. For the future, I have this dream of working abroad for a year or two. And then let’s see what the hospitality industry holds for me!
Thank you Jenny for talking with us and allowing us a glimpse into your impressive career. We wish you all the best for the future!
Jenny Krumme is 25 years old and comes from Bonn, Germany. In 2007, she completed her high school and attended the University of Applied Sciences in Bad Honnef. While studying Jenny completed a 6 month internship in Berlin working at a 5-star hotel and began with her understanding of the hospitality industry. While studying in her Bachelor program, she focused on services and catering and later completed a 1 year management training program in the operations department of a Russian hotel chain. She also developed interest in quality management by working in Arcotel hotels and through her experiences was able to attain a good understanding of various functions. After spending a couple of years in the corporate office of Arcotel hotels, she quickly moved from being the assistant to the Rooms Division Manager herself.