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Caroline Zimmerman, bridge-builder between creative and numbers people, has lived in five countries, big data whizz, came to the music business from the publishing industry, pursues a healthy lifestyle, helps musicians understand their audiences better, is able to communicate in six languages, loves the cosmopolitan and informal atmosphere of her new hometown London, fan of culture and the arts, Bertelsmann Entrepreneurs Program alumna, Senior Director, Data Insights & Analytics, BMG Rights Management, London.

Caroline Zimmerman

For me, creativity is a way to express who you are through something that you build,

says Caroline Zimmerman, who works as a Senior Director in the Data Insights & Analytics department of BMG Rights Management. Her job calls for creativity, especially when it comes to data visualization: I realize that every morning as soon as I turn my computer on and create a new document. It’s like a blank canvas on which I then create pictures and stories with the aid of data. This is my contribution to making sure my colleagues understand what is happening in our business right now, allowing them to optimize their performance.

Even though the 33-year-old’s current job is heavy on numbers, her working life actually began with words: After graduating in English Literature, Caroline worked in a publishing house for several years. I liked my job as a literary agent. However, at some point I realized that there was something else out there that’s very interesting: the world of data analytics.

She decided to quit her job in order to study for an MBA. Caroline focused on big data, analytics and statistics at the INSEAD Business School; as soon as she had obtained her degree, she applied for the Bertelsmann Entrepreneurs Program:

When I read the description, I realized that it contained everything I was looking for in my future job,

Caroline says. I could hardly believe there was a job out there that was so perfect for me.

Over the next 18 months, she worked on data analysis projects in various Bertelsmann companies. I soon realized what my true calling was: I wanted to become a bridge-builder between ‘creative’ and ‘numbers’ people. At Bertelsmann, I can close the gap between these two worlds with my creative energy and my business-minded approach.

Caroline’s last position as part of the Bertelsmann Entrepreneurs Program was with BMG. The company suited me perfectly, so I joined the staff full-time after the end of the program. As a literary agent, I helped other people to create. In my current job, I myself can be creative. And I very much like the fact that personal relationships are valued here, and that the staff look after each other. We are not just colleagues, but also friends. You spend so much time at work that it should be an environment you feel comfortable in – and that’s definitely the case at BMG.

Caroline says that the best way to cope with stressful situations is to talk to her colleagues or friends. She also abstains from caffeine: I am quite a hyper person in any case, so drinking coffee is hardly helpful. She has also renounced other unhealthy habits, and has lived without sugar, alcohol and cigarettes for a number of years now. These days, I prefer to start my day with exercise rather than coffee. Wherever she is, music is her constant companion – when she’s exercising, she prefers to listen to Latin or pop music, while electronic pop helps her to concentrate when she’s working.

The daughter of an Argentinian and an American, she was born in Paris. When she was fifteen years old, the family moved to Boston. She then moved to Montreal to study. However, she always dreamt of returning to Europe – which is why she completed her MBA in France and now works in the UK. London is the perfect place for me as it offers such a great mix of European and North American culture.

She also soon got used to the rainy weather: It’s not that cold, so it doesn’t bother me. And although most mornings are overcast, it usually clears up during the day and you get at least some sunshine. She particularly likes the fact that just as soon as there is a bit of sunshine, all Londoners spend their lunch break outdoors. It gives the city a Caribbean feel, even though it’s actually only 18 degrees outside, Caroline says laughingly.

Caroline now has a sense of belonging, not just in London but also in her job:

To be totally honest: There’s actually nothing in my life right now I would want to change,

Caroline says. I still see myself here at BMG even in five years’ time. I hope that I will be given the opportunity to establish an analytics team, and to expand my management skills. For me, a good manager is someone who brings out the best in their co-workers – and that is exactly what I would love to learn.

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