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Jens Mund is the key account manager for agricultural tire original equipment at Continental Commercial Specialty Tires (CST). The thoroughbred farmer grew up on his parents’ farm, where he was already sitting on his father’s tractor at the tender age of three or four and used to spend the whole summer helping with the harvest on a combine harvesters or a tractor. He studied for a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a master’s in agricultural science before making a career out of his passion for the business of agriculture, initially working in sales and product management at John Deere. In 2016, Mund joined Continental CST, and we spoke to him to find out what attracted him to the job and what a normal working day looks like for him.
Jens, you have swapped a tractor cab for an office. What was behind your decision?
That’s not entirely correct. In my position in key account management, I spend most of my time visiting agricultural machinery manufacturers and persuading them of the merits of our new agricultural tires. Naturally, my previous experience working for my parents and at John Deere is a lot of help with that, as is the ability it has given me to look at the entire vehicle. I know the criteria that farmers and contractors consider when they are looking for a tractor. I also talk to a lot of product managers at agricultural machinery manufacturers, many of whom have a farming background themselves, and my own experience in the field is of course useful there as well. That’s why I like to spend some spare time here and there driving a tractor and helping out on a friend’s farm.
What is a typical working day like for you?
When I’m not visiting OEMs, I work closely with our researchers and developers. Our R&D colleagues use the feedback that I get from manufacturers of agricultural machinery to develop and introduce new tires and to optimize existing products. That’s what makes working at Continental CST so varied. It is a small team with flat hierarchies and an intense exchange of ideas. My knowledge, opinions on current trends and experience are appreciated and taken into account. The fact that the new combine harvester tires can be produced right at the start of this year’s harvest season and therefore be tested by the OEMs is one example of the great teamwork that goes on between colleagues here.
If you had to name three things that make your work at Continental CST what it is, what would they be?
As well as how varied my work is, I would definitely say the trust that people place in me. I have a lot of freedom to work the way I want to, as well as to put my experience and knowledge to good use. After all, getting there is half the fun. Or, to stick with farming jargon, you reap what you sow. There is also the fact that I just enjoy my work. It’s cool to see the things you sell ending up on the agricultural machinery, and to hear that farmers are satisfied with them as well.