Careers

Yong Liu - "Choose the path that is right for you, not the easiest"

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In my job, I can see quickly and clearly how my work can contribute to the success of the operating divisions. I really enjoy that. 

Yong Liu

Director Global Procurement

After starting out in catalyst research and setting up a research group in Shanghai, Yong moved into global marketing at a BASF operating division. Today, he leads a group in global procurement – where his experience and expertise in research are a great help.

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Born and raised in China, I came to Germany to study for my PhD in chemistry. I joined BASF’s catalyst research department in 2010 and worked as a lab leader for five years. Then I was delegated to Innovation Campus Shanghai to establish a new R&D group from scratch. Since it was important for me to broaden my horizons, I took over a new role in global marketing and strategy at BASF’s monomer division after returning from the three-year-long delegation. I found the commercial part of my work so fascinating that the next move to procurement four years later was logical. I currently lead a global team and what I enjoy the most is that the contribution of my work to the business units can be measured very quickly: We can only succeed if we source the necessary raw materials at competitive conditions. My background as a chemist enables me to assess the cost and negotiation position of our suppliers. I can judge whether the arguments are realistic, and the offers are justified, or if they are trying to expand their margins.

Career development works best when the plans of the company and employee fit together. I have always tried my best to deliver in each position, and at the same time I have also regularly discussed my development with the management. I am privileged to have tremendous trust; many things just happened at the right time. To quote my professor from my PhD studies: Do a good job, the rest happens. If you show your potential, you also get support for your development.

BASF offers tremendous opportunities for different career paths. Use the time to build networks and get a feeling for what the business units do. Only then can you assess what fits your own interests and capabilities. For my job, for example, the right balance between commercial skills and technical knowledge would be ideal.

Sometimes you need to take certain risks. Following my delegation, for example, I made a conscious decision to accept a position as a clerk without a guarantee of promotion in order to enter the business. To describe it with a saying: “Choose the right path, not the easiest.”