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What does Continental mean to you as an employer?
Working at Continental means to me having the possibility of working on future mobility solutions together with colleagues from regions all around world. Furthermore, with a 140-year-old history, Continental stands for tradition and change – for the development of the German car industry, but also the globalization of the world and the work of many for one shared goal. It offers the possibility to develop professional and personal skills in a large company and to work with daily challenges.
Career: Which stages did you pass, Have there been any moments when you wanted to go in another direction?
During my integrated degree program for the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, I had the chance to experience seven very different departments, in different legal equities of Continental, at Tire, ContiTech and Automotive located at six different locations, among these Zurich and Singapore.
After studies, I had to take the first important decision regarding a job in the sales department at Continental Tires Replacement EMEA at ContiTrade. Alongside my work at ContiTrade, I had the chance to apply myself to study for the Master of Science in international management at the University of Steinbeis.
The next important decision brought me into the Automotive Group and the sector strategy in the function of a Business Development Manager with key topics Intelligent Transportation Systems, Telematics and Aftermarket increase as well as M&A.
Another interesting possibility came along in the Business Unit Commercial Vehicles and Aftermarket with the question, whether I should specialize on the topic strategy and start new interesting themes or to gain an insight into the operative daily business including the customer contact. I decided to go for my current function as Head of Quotation Management in the product field Vehicle Electronics, where I have a focus on automaker-specific offers for a broad customer spectrum and an interesting product range.
Have you ever worked abroad for Continental? How did you like it?
At the beginning of my studies I had the possibility to work for ContiTrade in Switzerland. Besides an exciting time in the sale, persistent customer contact and an overview of the many product groups of ContiTech, I also had a great time in Zurich with skiing trips and many experiences with only an age of 20.
I had the second chance to work abroad with an employment in the strategic marketing in Singapore, the valuable insight into another culture, the building of first experiences in the ASEAN market, but also with the employment in a fantastic, diverse and really cosmopolitical town. It has been an unforgettable time in a country that I also visited multiple times apart from my work at Continental.
Do you remember your first day and the first impressions of Continental?
In the first day we were invited to the Continental Headquarters to an official welcoming in the room Herrenhausen. We have all been so excited and it has been interesting, to get to know the other students I would spend the next three years with.
In a short break I met the CEO of that time by pure chance in the toilette, because the bureaus of the board members have been right around the corner of our meeting room. My fellow students directly asked “and what did you say to him?” – my answer has been “nothing, what would you say in such a situation, besides ´hello´?” – it has been good for a laugh.
Continental and family – was does spontaneously come to your mind? What kind of experiences did you have regarding work-life-balance?
Working is especially fun when you are every day in a team where you can laugh together, not only exchange about work and support the others – in short, Fore One Another.
The most formative experience I had was in a department where many colleagues also met in their free time for a summer barbecue or Christmas parties, either only with the department, or with the partners joining– we called the messenger group dedicated to these events “Conti Family”.
What do you recommend young professionals?
Those who know where their own interests lie, the strengths and weaknesses of their own personality, and the motivation behind it, will make the right decisions intuitively, will have more fun at work and more often a favorable wind will blow.
My tip is to collect different experiences in the beginning, even outside your comfort zone, that help you answering this question.
With the important plus in the back, it will be easy to impassionate yourself for the new, to meet new people, evolve a network and to set the matching goals and follow them.
„If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.“
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