Dr. Eva Schöbel

Business Division: BYK
Company:BYK-Chemie GmbH
RoleBusiness Development Manager Synthetic Clays
Has been with the company since: January 2021

Before your current position, you worked in the CDDPI (Cross-Divisional Development Program Innovation). Why did you apply for this position back then?
I had a Germany Scholarship (Deutschlandstipendium) from the ALTANA Group during my Master's degree and was therefore already quite familiar with the company. Due to several invitations to site visits or company events during the scholarship period, I perceived ALTANA as a very exciting company and got to know the ALTANA Group very deeply. So, when I started applying, ALTANA was at the top of my list. I did some research on the Internet about the opportunities and stumbled across the CDDPI program. The program immediately appealed to me. I found the combination of different projects and areas, as well as the opportunity to work abroad, very thrilling. The program requires an interest in networking and intercultural work. A feel for interdisciplinary connections is also an advantage. All of this matched my situation, so I applied for the CDDPI.

What does the application process look like?
I wrote an unsolicited application at the time. You can apply for the CDDPI position throughout the year. After the written application, I had an initial interview with the department and Dr. Petra Severit, CTO ALTANA AG. I may need to clarify something at this point. I applied at the beginning of 2020, at the start of the first corona lockdown. The first (and most of the other) interviews therefore took place digitally via Teams. However, I would like to emphasize at this point that despite the tense situation caused by corona, the application process worked excellently. After the first interview, I was invited to a personal interview with HR and the department in Wesel as soon as the situation allowed. In the final step, I had interviews with all four CTOs of the ALTANA divisions.

What projects have you worked on?
I spent the first year in Wesel. There I worked on new cable coating materials for my ELANTAS project. For my BYK project, I worked on the synthesis of new types of defoamers. I then went to Schererville, Indiana, in the US to complete my ECKART project. Here I researched conductive pigments. I then completed my ALTANA project in Rüsselsheim a.M. at HELIOSONIC GmbH, an internal ALTANA start-up, where I focussed on the commercialization process of the technology. For my last CDDPI project, I went to Lehrte near Hanover and researched novel, aqueous barrier coatings at ACTEGA. I then started my follow-up position in summer 2023 and now work in Business Development at BYK in Wesel. This area involves a lot of interfaces, where my broad ALTANA network is a great advantage.

Organizationally, the whole thing is very time-consuming. How much help do you get?
That's true. "Moving" every six months is time-consuming in terms of organization. I probably need to elaborate a bit more here. I didn't move my entire household every six months. I continued to have a main residence and moved into furnished second homes for the projects, so I basically only had to pitch up with two large bags for each new project. The functional department and HR always supported me in finding an apartment, signing a tenancy agreement etc., so I wasn't left alone with anything.

Do I have a say in the choice of projects?
Of course, you can express your wishes as to what topics you would like to work on. At the end of the day, however, the topics are all highly topical and directly related to day-to-day business. So it may be that the economic situation changes, or a new regulatory issue arises and you end up doing a different project. The projects are defined around three to six months in advance. The same applies to the location of the foreign project. So yes, you can contribute your ideas and expertise and, if the general conditions allow, these will be taken into account.

How does it all work if you need a visa for your stay abroad?
For many countries, especially intercontinental ones, a work visa is required. The ALTANA Global Mobility Team supports the participant in all aspects of such an assignment. This includes the collection of all documents, the organization of appointments at consulates and, of course, in finding accommodation abroad.

What is it like to work in a new team every six months?
Very enriching! I was warmly welcomed and trained in every team I joined. Of course, you also need to be willing and enjoy getting to grips with new topics and teams. However, I have found this experience to be entirely positive. I have also been able to build up a very large network across the entire ALTANA Group and various locations. We are ALTANA!