Franziska Fuchs

Trainee Ship Management, Harren & Partner (Bremen)

Hi, I’m Franziska. I work as trainee at Harren & Partner. My trainee ship started in May 2021 and is running until end of February. From March 2022 onwards, I will start my permanent employment at the asset management of Harren & Partner. As a trainee, my role was to learn as much as I could about the internal processes of Harren & Partner and her subsidiaries. And of course, learn everything about shipping in general as I had no deeper knowledge about the industry before I started to work here.

During the last year, I got to know three different departments: First Asset Management, Controlling and finally Chartering/Operations. After some training in every department, I was given my own tasks to work on independently. First it was all about the financial side of different shipping associations we are responsible for. My time in the Asset Management was rounded off by a stay in Mexico to get to know the local office. In the controlling department I learnt quite a lot about overheads and quarterly financial statements. In the last department it was all about the operational side of the business – what needs to be done before a ship can successfully make a port call for example. My Chartering and Operations placement took place in Finland where I supported my Finish SAL colleagues in Helsinki.

I started a career in shipping because it is a globally active industry. In my work I get to know many different and fascinating people and cultures – something I learned to enjoy during my studies and would not want to miss again. Furthermore, I always wanted to see behind the scenes of the company-intern organization of such giants loaded with tons of cargo.

Shipping is an industry with a very long history that has excluded women for a long time, so I think there are still prejudices against women in the industry that you cannot get rid off so quickly. On a women’s career path, I believe that we women in general have to try harder than men to gain as much respect. We have to constantly strive to appear reserved but yet winning. I think that we women have to present better arguments in a negotiation than men, because we do not only have to present the matter convincingly, but also present ourselves as a person convincingly and prepared for the unexpected.
However, I personally have not been a victim of any prejudice in any department I have been.  At Harren & Partner, my colleagues welcomed me very warmly and made no distinction between a woman’s and a man’s work.

When I was looking for jobs after I graduated, I generally had doubts whether I would be taken seriously as a young woman who had just finished university and gained only little work experience. But being honest, I was worried for no reason!

What I tell my friends what makes my job in shipping special? No two days are the same. Something unexpected can (and will) happen every day. That makes the job very exciting and challenging and thus never boring. Furthermore, as I already said, it is a globally active industry, and you work together with colleagues from many different countries.
What I experienced in the past is that no mater if you are a man or a woman, everyone has its strength and its weaknesses. Instead of only pointing on the weaknesses of a person, you must emphasize the individual strengths and than to sit down together and work as a team. #teamspirit

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