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Anne-Catherine Richarz

Meet Anne-Catherine Richarz – Principal Project Manager at Zalando and MSc in International Business alum.

What path did you take from graduation to where you are now? 

After graduating from SSE, I started as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where I mainly focused on topics around organizational development and talent management, particularly the Future of Work and how to up- and re-skill a workforce in the face of global trends such as digitalization.

Throughout my studies and later throughout my work I always tried to somehow engage in sustainability, so when I was given the opportunity to do a social secondment after two years of working for McKinsey, I gladly took it. That’s how I ended up working for WWF Zambia for a great part of 2020, where I had the exciting opportunity to support the roll-out of an Africa-wide freshwater strategy.

Combining my passions for skilling and sustainability, I then had the privilege to start working for Zalando as the Principal Program Manager for the company’s Skilling Goal that has the ambition to empower 10,000 people through education by 2023 - it is one of six goals in Zalando’s sustainability strategy. 

Describe your role and what it is that you do overall and on a day-to-day basis.

As the Principal Program Manager for Zalando’s Skilling Goal, I oversee a variety of skilling programs such as our Women in Tech program that provides an opportunity for employees from diverse backgrounds to access reskilling for software engineering roles. On a day-to-day basis, my team and I support everything from designing and executing skilling programs to building Zalando’s people development capabilities.

What interested you about the field/company/role you are currently in?

With ChatGPT & co on the rise jobs and the skills required to perform them are changing widely and rapidly. In my view, it is our responsibility to take the people affected by these changes along by offering respective skilling opportunities. Being able to follow my passion and work on such an important societal and business challenge is a fantastic and humbling experience.

How did your time/education at SSE help guide you to the career journey you have embarked on? 

What is really special about the CEMS program at SSE, in my opinion, is its relentless focus on your personal development. How do you find your inner career path? How do you become a true citizen of the world contributing and giving back to society? These were questions raised and debated throughout my time at SSE and I kept them at the back of my mind when I decided to focus on socially relevant skilling strategies or the protection and conservation of freshwater.

Following your time studying and living in Stockholm, do you have any words of wisdom or advice you would like to share with our current students?

Take every extracurricular opportunity that comes your way. Whether its the mentoring program, a SASSE or 180 degrees project, the CEMS Club or anything else that seems interesting to you, go do it! The memorable moments that make up your time at SSE and in Stockholm are not the ones in the library or Studentpalatset but the ones that you spend with this incredible crowd of people.