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How to sell electricity?

After Manuela Künzel completed her studies in Business Administration, she also undertook a part-time program at TU Chemnitz – Today she works as a team leader at the energy company enviaM

  • “The issue of marketing is still accompanying me“, says Manuela Künzel, who is working together with her team on the development of new concepts for the energy market. Photo: Andy Schäfer

The issue of energy has several meanings in the life of Manuela Künzel. On the one hand, it has become her professional reality; on the other hand, she has invested much herself in order to be able to pursue on this path. But from the beginning: a fundamental interest in economic relationships and the chance to hold a diploma in her hands have led, today aged 33, among other things, to take a degree in Business Administration at TU Chemnitz. Here, the diversity of the discipline was the foreground of the foundation studies for the girl, born in Karl-Marx city. Subsequently, she developed affinity for social aspects of economic living and deepened her studies in the areas of HR Management, Marketing and Psychology. At the end of this academic station, her thesis on “Trademark and its value“ was published in a monograph in 2006.

But in addition to many theoretical achievements, there was also a practical experience. At first in the form of an internship in Nurnberg, and just before finishing her studies, Manuela Künzel went for four months to the South-East Asian city state of Singapore in 2005. “The big jump abroad and in an Asian country, which is in culture, working methods and economic growth very different from that in Germany was especially appealing to me“, reminisces Künzel. One of her tasks there was to make the initial contact of the IT company with cross-culturally positioned enterprises.

Back home again, she joined a position as a trainee at the energy services enviaM in Chemnitz in 2005. There her focus was in the field of marketing research. She coordinated, calculated and generated outcome reports or presented the results from different market research studies. After a year, Manuela Künzel was taken on as a consultant for segment strategy. In this way she could collaborate in the annual strategy process led by the parent company RWE. Above all, this means to write strategic concepts and put the key issues for the next medium-limit period within the collective. Then followed her work as a consultant in the marketing and sales strategy and later, she was able to work in the parent company for a few months.

The young graduate has chosen the energy market at that time, because it is very special for marketing: ”Electricity is a product, which is not easily marketable. It is not tangible, homogeneous and is rather interchangeable.“ She explains that before opening of the market in 1998, today’s current electricity rate payer was an electricity consumer, who was supplied by regional monopolistically distributed energy companies. “Today, the marketing is facing the challenge to place the interchangeable core design aspects of the product electricity.“

One day Manuela Künzel paid her attention to the ”Newsletter for Friends, Alumni and Graduates“ of TU Chemnitz to the offer of TUCed with its part-time degree courses on behalf of TU. Being interested, she registered for Customer Relationship Management at an affiliated Institute of TU Chemnitz. This course of studies is under the direction of Prof. Dr. Cornelia Zanger, who has a position at the Professorship for Marketing and Retailing of TU Chemnitz. “Building a network, at the same time generate a degree and deepen a topic that interests me personally – these were the motivators to sit down even at the weekend“, said the Business Administration graduate. For Manuela Künzel and her career it was also beneficial to be able to view the mediated content through the „experience glasses“: ”As a student, one can still not grasp the corporate world, but with several years of experience it becomes possible. Thus, it allows the contents to be classified completely different.“ Motivated, she brought to the conclusion her Master‘s degree with the thesis “Development of termination preventive management in the energy market“, which has contributed as an article to the edited volume “Commodity Marketing“ at TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

She does not want to demolish contact with TU Chemnitz and TUCed. Last year, she spoke for the first time before the students of MBA program, which she had once studied herself together with her former fellow students. ”We create a practice day in terms of interplay between low- and high-involvement products and show students, in principle, what CRM means in the various sectors“, she concludes. Next year, Manuela Künzel will also let the new students share their experiences. She would then talk about her current work as a team leader of enviaM. Every day she is developing the brand marketing strategies, sales leads or accompanies projects that include market research and data mining together with five other employees. ”The topic of leadership is particularly appealing to me, because I like to deal with people and can move much more in the company through my activity“, said the 33-year-old.

Unfortunately, she sees this self-confidence not in every graduate of the present: ”I can only compare the energy market. When I take a look at the managerial level, I see that the proportion of women is very low and the industry can catch up strong on.“ That is why Manuela Künzel advises young graduates: ”They should be unbashful, step on the gas, and confidently start their professional life, which is natural for men.“ For women, who are active in the economy, it is important to ”know their own market value for the company.“ Manuela Künzel summed up as follows, ”economically speaking, the companies can only benefit from this.“

More information on the part-time MBA course program in Customer Relationship Management at: http://www.tuced.de

(Author: Andy Schäfer, Translation: Nataliia Boiko)

Katharina Thehos
07.11.2014

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