At long last, after weeks of intensive preparation, it came time on Saturday for the final event of “Meet the Manager.” Not sure what that is? Allow me to explain. Meet the Manager was a job shadowing event where a total of 30 students were given the opportunity to trail a day in the life of one of Continental’s female management staff and witness the decision-making process at one of the leading technology and automotive companies firsthand.
The new format turned out to be a huge success. It may have been alot of work for the prospective participants to write cover letters and compile résumés, but we were delighted at the number of fantastic applications that trickled in over the course of the year. That slightly daunting application process helped guarantee that the participants were truly enthusiastic about Meet the Manager. After all, who would go through all that trouble who doesn´t like the idea? I was especially pleased to see that even though all the managers shadowed by the students were women, around 25% of the applicants were men.
Back to the final event last Saturday. In the morning, all of the participants gathered at the Zauberlehrling restaurant in Hanover for a business brunch with Elke Strathmann, member of the executive board. In the sweltering heat wave, the delicious food was far from the main point. Elke Strathmann began by explaining the idea behind Meet the Manager and gave an introduction to the career options at Continental. But of course, there was more. In one segment, the students got a chance to fire questions at Elke Strathmann and the other managers, speed-dating style. It goes without saying that they jumped at the opportunity. Later, one of the managers and “her” student gave a more detailed rundown of their day of job shadowing, giving all the students in the room an idea of what an engineer’s workday is really like.
After four nonstop hours, everyone was more than ready for the three-hour break. The presentations and activities had made a strong impression, but the participants were suffering in the record heat and needed some time to prepare for the concert of the year. And of course the networking didn’t end with the business lunch.
All the winners still had plenty of time before the concert to mingle over a tasty meal and refreshing drinks. The concert itself was a blast. Robbie Williams opened with his smash hit “Let Me Entertain You,” then did just that for the ensuing two hours. Among a crowd of 60,000 fans, the winners and managers rocked out to hits including “Angels,” “Feel,” and “Rock DJ,” late into the night.
Even if the final event cannot always end with Robbie Williams, the overall concept clearly has a future and is already being adapted in China. Its direct, intensive contact between students and managers establishes a relationship that will come in handy later when it’s time for the job search. And the first successes are already taking shape. Many of the winners didn´t waste any time making the most of their new contacts and will soon be joining the world of Conti, whether for an internship, a final project, a traineeship, or their first real job.