An experience unrivaled: my year on the Executive Team Advisory Board
As an engineer in the office, it’s my job to understand how things work, and as an engineer at heart, it’s my passion to work with electronics. That’s why three years ago, I came aboard here at Ericsson, where I knew the opportunities would be plenty. From my very first months to my present time in the Executive Team Advisory Board (ETAB), I can say I was right!
Since my start here at the company, I’ve worked on a wide variety of innovative and exciting tasks, from reducing transmission latencies to below five milliseconds to building reliable cloud robot control through 5G. And believe me, this has included working with some fascinating technologies — which really isn’t surprising, since here at Ericsson we’re enabling the next tech generation as a well-oiled machine, helping service providers worldwide roll out the future of communications.
Now, imagine that you — at such an early stage of your career, like I was — were given the opportunity to look behind the scenes of that well-oiled machine to understand how its gears roll together and how it continuously implements strategic decisions to ensure steady growth and development. As you can imagine, it’s quite the unique opportunity. This is precisely what presented itself to me in August of 2019, when, together with over 750 of my colleagues from around the world, I assumed the driver’s seat of my career and applied to join the Executive Team Advisory Board (ETAB), for which I was one of the few selected.
As a chosen group of employees from across the company working directly with the CEO and his Executive Team on strategic assignments, ETAB — which will become the NextGen Advisory Board (NAB) from this year onward — gives individuals the unique opportunity to make real impact over a one-year period.
In my case, this impact included having the chance to work on such exciting projects as crowdsourcing for our Strategy 2030 and support of our company’s ongoing Digital Transformation — all while benefiting from direct access to personal mentors from the Executive Team appointed to us to guide and support.
My diverse team from the ongoing 2019–2020 ETAB includes members from all around the world, including a Radio Network Engineer, a Finance Manager, a Sales Manager (now the new CEO Advisor), a Product Development Leader, a Deal Controller, and a Software Developer. It’s been a real pleasure to work in such a diverse team of talented colleagues, where everyone brings their unique skills from various professional domains. Of course, it’s been a challenge at times to manage our different time zones and to adjust to the virtual environment brought on by the pandemic situation, but we’ve managed to turn it around to be something positive — an opportunity to expand our cooperation abilities as well as to make an impact virtually.
Today, with our time in ETAB nearing its end, I have come to realize that this opportunity has not only been about making an impact — it’s also about learning. Learning how the company operates, how to align its strategic vision with our people, how to interact with senior executives, how to manage conflicting priorities with our day-to-day roles, and, most of all, learning more about ourselves.
I remember us talking to previous members who told us that there would be a phase beyond the initial “honeymoon” time, where a team would be put to the test with tight deadlines and the pressure to deliver high-impact work. I remember that clearly, but, looking back, I think our team never really left the honeymoon phase. Sure, we’ve felt the pressure and the high expectations put on us, but we’ve managed to rise up to meet these challenges as a team. By supporting each other, we’ve managed to deliver quality and impact while enjoying the experience and developing ourselves at the same time — which doesn’t surprise me really, since professional and personal development are key components of our Ericsson company culture.
Sometimes when I would be working exclusively in R&D, I’d find myself getting lost in the barrage of technical details. Of course, I loved it, but it was harder to see the wider picture of what we’re doing as a company while focusing so intently on my highly specialized tasks. My participation in ETAB has helped me gain this new perspective, giving me a better understanding of the company as a whole. This has helped me to be able to put challenges in a wider context. I can honestly say this is one of the most valuable takeaways from ETAB that I’ll be able to bring back to my R&D colleagues when I return to them, and I look forward to bringing that unique value.
All in all, I’m certain I can speak for the entire team when I say that this one year has been one of the most exciting times of our careers, and I personally feel well prepared to take on greater responsibilities and face new challenges with confidence.
Hubertus Andreas Munz
On behalf of the ETAB 2019-2020 Team - Chaitri Aroskar, Paul Ghanime, Florijeta Mulolli, Emily Selvera, Mursleen Iqbal & Grace Teng.