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What means Continental for you as an employer?
For me Continental is one of the leading technology business companies. Continental has a wide scope of technologies and product portfolio that is perfectly adjusted for the challenges of the future like automated driving, digitalization and servitization. The management and the employees are focused on efficient development and production processes as well as a great corporate culture. All these points are very important for me and I`m able to identify myself with the company. I´m proud to be a part of this corporation.
Career: Which steps did you pass throughout your career and have there been decisions that forced you in a certain way of business?
I did a work and study program at Continental Tires with vocational training in mechatronics and an engineering study program. During the semester break I was able to gain some working experience at Continental. After successfully obtaining my Master´s degree of Engineering, I started as a development engineer for vehicle tire profiles in the business unit of Research and Development. Alongside my full time job, Continental gave me the opportunity of starting a Master of Business Administration. After two and a half years I changed position within the R&D department to OEM car tires. Meanwhile as a group leader I´m responsible for the development of all car tires for the VW Group in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
How does your normal workaday life looks like?
My main task is the development of car tires for new vehicles of automobile manufacturers on defined requirements and timetable. For that matter we are producing prototypes of the tires and measure them in objective and subjective tire tests like structural durability, fast mode, rolling resistance and handling. Afterwards we send these prototypes to the manufacturers to complete the overall picture of the tire performance with their own tests. After that we decide if we have to optimize the tire or whether we are able to start the series production.
In the tire development for OEM customers like VW or Audi a typical working day is very diversified, because I have to represent, impart and harmonize the customer’s requirements inside our Company. I have to communicate with many departments of the Continental cooperation to find solutions for the different problems. The departments I get in touch with are for example the production, testing, product line and platform development as well as marketing or customer service. Additional to my work as a development engineer I have a group leading function for the tire development team. I´m responsible for the capacity planning within the group, strategically questions and justification and I´m the contact person for my employees.
Continental and Family – Which experience do you have you concerning your work at Continental and your private life? How would you evaluate the balance between work and free time?
In the department of Research and Development we have flexible working times which enables me to combine my family, wife and two children, and my job very good. For a short time every employee has the possibility of mobile working, sabbaticals or a flexible time program which increases the compatibility between family and job. When my children’s were born I took parental leave twice. Both times I got the feeling that Continental didn´t just give me the opportunity to take parental leave but rather they supported me in my decision. Furthermore I could come back to the same job afterwards and it had no negative impact on my career.
What advice would you give to pupils and especially young professionals today?
Already during my school time I intensively thought about fields of work that I could imagine to work in in the future. I did my school internship in a media agency and had to realize that this work isn´t interesting for me. In my school time I also did a test study at the university of Hannover to find out whether an engineering study is the right way for me. Therefore my advice to pupils and entrants is to consider very early what they are interested in.
In doing so it is possible to choose the right vocational training, study program or job position right away. In my opinion the personal interests should be more essential than for example the opportunity to earn a lot of money. With enthusiasm, a good ability to communicate, a high target and quality orientation as well as a great part of fun satisfying careers are likely to arise.