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Hello Dominik, we are looking forward to hear about some of your experiences from your time in China.
Hi, I am glad to get the chance to share my experiences here. My name is Dominik Goerge and at the moment I am doing my master studies in Industrial Engineering and Management at the TU Darmstadt. Quickly I recognized that my personal interests are promoted by the studies. Besides enlarging my theoretical knowledge I was interested in taking the first steps in the real working environment. That was the reason why I decided to engage in a working student position at Continental next to my studies in Darmstadt.
How did you find your way to Continental during your search for a suitable working student position?
The Continental plant in the town I spent my childhood is the largest employer in the region. Because of that fact I had an empathy for the company since I was a child. When I grew up my interests in the automotive industry were enlarged. Combining this with the fact that Continental is a global operating company with a lot of perspectives for the employees, I decided to apply for a job in Frankfurt. So I started working for Continental long before I went to China. Since 2015 I am a working student here. In addition my personal target was to spend some time abroad between my Bachelor studies and starting the Master to enlarge my international knowledge. I like travelling and I have already been able to see a lot of different places and cultures. What was missing, however, was some international working experience. So I decided to search for an international internship. The place to live should be as different to the German working surrounding as possible – the more different, the more learning potential I thought. I discussed this purpose with my supervisor and I was glad that he ensured me his support. Continental decided to support my plan and submitted an internship in the Asian Headquarters in Shanghai. I continued to work for the Supply Chain Management department. The benefit of staying in the same department was that I could use all my knowledge I got during my time as a working student in Frankfurt. Because of the knowledge I earned before, I was able to be integrated in a project from the first day on.
What were your tasks in Shanghai?
In the Asian region Continental is growing very fast. The local plants need to expand and many new plants are built. This fast growth is heavily challenging the Supply Chain Management, which needs to be involved in the extensions. My task was the sub-project-lead for the design of a warehouse concept in a plant, which is located approximately one flight hour away from Shanghai. Such a design includes the whole material flow – from the goods receipt to the storage, the transport within the plant to the truck loading for the finished goods. The experiences I got during my time as a working student in Frankfurt helped me to effectuate these tasks. During the time in Frankfurt I got the chance to be part of similar projects which optimized the effectiveness of warehouses. After I took part in several workshops the time had come to prepare and moderate all the workshops in the Chinese plant by myself. During a first business trip to the plant I got an overview about the current workflows and we noted all the future demands. Back in the headquarters in Shanghai we worked out different solutions in close cooperation with the colleagues in the plant. During a second trip to the plant we worked out the concept in detail. At the end of my internship the plant made the final decision to realize the concept.
I enjoyed getting a lot of trust as well from my supervisors from Germany as from the colleagues in China to work at a task with a lot of responsibility. I experienced that Continental’s values Trust, Passion To Win, Freedom To Act and For One Another are really integrated in the company and lived by the people. During these months the Chinese colleagues and I worked together intensively to find the best solution for the plant. In the end I am proud to see the realization of the project. I hope that the prepared solution will support the colleagues in the plant.
How did you enjoy the life in Shanghai and what was the most remarkable experience you made?
To make a long story short: I really enjoyed Shanghai’s lifestyle. Of course I needed some days to adapt to the completely different surrounding. But if you don’t struggle with many people sharing small spaces and are not intimidated by the language barrier, you can enjoy that amazing city a lot. Fortunately the local colleagues supported me in any case. Without their help also small tasks like buying a SIM-card for the mobile phone would have been quite difficult.
The question about my best experience is hard to answer. During my time abroad I was able to take some time to explore China. Of course, visiting and climbing the Great Wall is on the bucked list of each tourist visiting China. Besides this wonderful experience I really enjoyed a trip to Huangshan. The local mountain range, called “Yellow Mountains”, rewards the hard hiking tour with a landscape which I can’t compare to any I saw in Europe.
What do you think, which of the experiences you gained during your time in Shanghai will influence your future?
The most important experience I take with me is that I could imagine very well to spend more time in China in the future. As for myself I have to say that I would appreciate getting a chance to spend some time in China for professional reasons at any time.