TSS: The stereotype of business service centers is that they only offer transactional jobs, with little room for creativity. Is that stereotype justified?
PK:That stereotype is not justified at all and I, along with many of my colleagues and even those working outside of the company, can serve as an example. I think in any profession you should like what you do and be motivated not only by your company but also yourself to learn more and take on other responsibilities within your job. In the business center environment, it is more than possible to do this.
There are so many business opportunities in our business center and living examples of people who, in the last ten years, have been moving through different roles in the company. Our employees experience not only vertical growth but also horizontal growth by widening their scope of experience and knowledge. Twenty years ago, business centers were mostly transactional but this is no longer the case. At our office, we close the books for the whole company and submit the numbers to the US Stock Exchange every quarter, amounting to 17 billion dollars. With this example, I think I can kill the rumor that we are solely transactional directly.
Our employees experience not only vertical but also horizontal growth.„
TSS: You personally are an example of the career growth opportunities that the BSC environment offers to employees. Can you share more about your professional history at Adient?
PK: It´s my eleventh year with Adient. I started here in a transactional position in the finance department working on accounts payable. I processed and booked invoices into the system and then I became a supervisor of an accountant team. After a couple of years of completing many projects, I gained a lot of valuable experience that helped me when I later became manager of the accounts payable department.
After seven years of managing accounts payable, I moved to accounts receivable, which is my favorite part of the department because you’re receiving money instead of paying it. I worked with accounts receivable for almost two years and then I was promoted to leader of the whole finance organization. For three months now, I’ve been leading the whole campus, acting as general manager of Adient Slovakia. Adient not only has a business center in Bratislava but also a big footprint in the rest of Slovakia. We have a research and development center in Trenčín along with six production plants so I am the general manager of the whole legal entity.
TSS: What are the services that your center provides, what kind of jobs do you offer in your office in Bratislava?
PK: There are a variety of services we provide here at the company. The biggest one, so far, is finance. The largest number of people here work in accounting and finance but we also offer a number of other services in the fields of IT, Human Resources, Country Finance Services, Tax, Procurement, Programme Management, Costing, Audit, and others.
TSS: Adient has only recently opened its new offices in central Bratislava. What are the standards that your employees find in the new offices?
PK: We spend most of our time in this building so we reconstructed this space into a 21st century building with high living standards. For example, we have created an active room on the first floor where employees can forget about work a little and relax with a variety of activities such as table tennis, pool, boxing and table football. We also created an open library filled with many books donated by the company that employees can read in the office or take home with them. Employees can also donate books they no longer want to this library. We also have a very nice quiet room that a lot of our pregnant employees or new mothers in the office use to tend to their children. On every floor we offer modern spaces where employees can work in a relaxed environment and feel a little more at home. Our reception is also very modern and green.
TSS: Business service centers have been active in cooperation with universities. What are Adient's activities in this area?
PK: We continue to be very active in our cooperation with schools, working not only with universities but also high schools. We offer lectures at local universities, mainly in IT, corporate finance, and corporate tax-related topics. Students receive academic credits for these lectures. We also provide elective courses for students that focus on corporate-social responsibility and teach them how to conduct business with American companies.
Teachers learn from us as well. In partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce, we offer a programme called “Train the Trainer” that teaches professors presentation skills. We also hire student interns in our Bratislava office but also students in the Trenčín technology center gain hands-on experience as well. I think there is room for our company to do even more with schools and we will continue to expand in this area because it really makes sense.
TSS: What are your requirements of graduates applying for a job at Adient? Do graduates from Slovak universities meet these requirements?
PK: In general, our one big requirement is that employees speak English because we are an international, multicultural company. In this office alone, we have 26 nationalities so English is a must. Other requirements depend on the position because you do not always need a finance background or a degree in accounting to work for our company. Usually, graduates of economic schools here in Slovakia are very well prepared to work for us. But we look for more than a degree. Attitude is also very important to us. We look for positive thinkers, people who are challenging the status quo. Employees must bring enthusiasm to the company and always look for ways we can improve our operation. No degree will help you learn this.
TSS: Bratislava has become a home to many large business service centers. What is it that makes it attractive for companies to open their BSCs here?
PK: Most companies like the location. Our city is located in the heart of Europe and you can get here quite easily from anywhere in the world. But in reality, it is also the quality of people. The Slovak people are dedicated and work really hard, always challenging the status quo. Companies must always try to improve to remain competitive and that´s what the people here help them do. It’s because of the people that so many BSCs are here and not going anywhere else.