Mr. Jung, you studied for an MBA in Technology Management at the Northern Institute of Technology Management (NIT) in combination with a master’s in mechatronics at the TUHH. What are your memories of studying at the TUHH?
I have very positive and intensive memories of my studies. My time at the NIT and the TUHH made a strong impression on my subsequent career moves and opened many doors for me. We wrote around 50 exams in our first year. In my second year I spent six months in China and was able to serve an internship with my sponsor, Körber AG. In spite of the burden of study and work I still had plenty of fun, I am happy to say.
What made studying in Hamburg-Harburg special?
The intensity of the double-degree program and the high volume of work coupled with the strong sense of community at the NIT made studying in Hamburg-Harburg special for me. I was a Class 07 student at the NIT. It was a class of over 30 students, only three of whom were from Germany. Living and working at close quarters in such an international environment was great fun and extended my horizons beyond the subjects I was studying.
In 2010 you and Daniel Kollmann launched the Massivkonzept startup. At the end of April 2013 Massivkonzept was acquired by the US e-commerce company Fab in return for shares worth around €20 million. Tell us a little about the idea and how your company originated.
Massivkonzept sold made-to-measure on the Internet using online configurators. The company was profitable from the start and we were fortunate to be able to scale it up without external investors. I am neither a carpenter nor a product designer.
After my time at McKinsey I worked on several business ideas, including peer-to-peer car sharing, for example. Once we realized that there was a wide, unused gap between IKEA and carpentry I concentrated on Massivkonzept.
What would you advise prospective startups to do on their way to success?
Go for it! I strongly believe that you can start up companies successfully if you uncompromisingly pursue that one objective. Working on a business idea alongside your studies or another job does not usually bear fruit. In Germany there are many opportunities to bridge the startup process financially, be it by means of startup grants or an EXIST scholarship.
Which knowledge and skills from your student days were helpful in developing the startup and in your present line of business?
My technical expertise was most helpful in the choice of furniture manufacturers in Eastern Europe and our programmers in India. My studies at the NIT were even more useful. Subjects such as business administration, employment law, and bookkeeping are now a part of my day-to-day work.
Studying in a straight line, a no-gaps resumé, first-rate grades, a head full of knowledge… What is important in your later career?
To do what you really want to do. Only then can you give your all and really be happy and successful. There is no such thing as the perfect resumé or an approach for everyone to adopt. What matters is to gain experience step by step and leave yourself enough time to plan your next moves strategically. And to have the guts to scrap a seemingly „perfect” resumé.