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Since when have you been working at Continental?
Since 2005. In the beginning I was working for Siemens VDO but then it became Continental.
Do you remember your first impression at Continental?
My first impression was: “What a big company with so many employees”. This thought was filled with respect, but as well with a lot of excitement as this was the start into real working life after finishing school. As well I got to know a lot of new people and had the impression that all possibilities are yet to come. At the same time I was welcomed very cordially by my first department, which was the Controlling department of a specific business unit (BU).
Which kind of studies did you pass?
Everything has started with a dual course of studies to Bachelor of Business Administration. This studies took 3.5 years and was separated into three different pillars. One was the work at different financial departments of the company, another one the studies at a commercial institution in Erlangen and at the University in Ingolstadt. At the end of my studiesI had the opportunity to start to work in one of Continental´s controlling departments.
What was the decisive point for continuing your studies?
After a few years of work experience I came to the point where I wanted to expand my knowledge especially in Controlling, so that I would also able to solve special issues occurring with the help of my additional professional know-how.
As I had already obtained the bachelor’s degree during my dual course studies at Continental, I started my part-time master studies in controlling at the University of Regensburg, which was a novelty. These studies took 4 semesters and was very intensive time for me. I gained a lot of additional knowledge/know-how and was able to exchange experience with a plenty of different controllers from other companies.
Do you have a secret to succeed?
I think that certain skills are very important. On one hand the openness for new topics and communication. On the other hand flexibility because both the market and the company are very flexible. Therefore, you should take new issues and you should solve the problems arising instead of hesitating.
At least I was successful using these attitudes so far.
What is your daily work routine?
Currently I am working within the Operations Controlling Department of BU IC and I am responsible for the Software License Controlling. Previously I worked several years within the Business Controlling of BU Body & Security as the Customer Segment Controller for BMW and VW/Audi Customer Center. One would simply imagine that the work of a controller comprises only of pure Excel analyses. My personal experience is different. As a controller you have the possibility to interact with so many different departments like Purchasing, Sales or Production. Controlling is the department in which all results of these departments are finally presented through figures and numbers. Like that you really get a perfect picture and overview of the whole company and the business itself.
How is the work with numbers in controlling?
It depends on how you organize and understand your work. The interesting thing is the different use of analyses, like finding explanations for specific problems, defining action items or countering measures for negative trends. Within controlling, from my point of view, you have the possibility to really influence things and based on the results of your work it is possible to objectify certain circumstances.
What was your personal highlight at Continental?
My personal highlight was definitely the stay abroad during my studies. Together with my colleagues I had the possibility to go to Wuhu (China) for two months. It was a great experience to see how the colleagues work there. Diving into a completely different culture and mentality really excited me. On top of that every one of us had the chance to take a responsibility for a concrete task. Mine was to establish the R&D hourly writing system at the location. This was a new experience for the first time to have the chance to Focus on a specific task be responsible for it.
What does Continental as an employer mean to you?
As Continental is a very large, international company you are offered a large variety of chances and possibilities in order to realize yourself in which direction you want to develop yourself. The chance is to work at many different business units or functions.
Moreover, Continental is an amazing platform to make new friends and colleagues.
What kind of advice would you give to the new employees?
Be active instead of being passive!
It is very important to ask questions and show willingness to learn. Personal initiative, curiosity but also the above mentioned characteristics like openness and flexibility are necessary. If you use those, all doors are open.
Read more about and from current and former apprentices here.