This post is also available in: German
My name is Liza and today I will tell you how I found my current job after starting to work at Continental more than two years ago. I always wanted to work in a big international automotive company and later during my studies another wish arose – my dream company should offer a graduate program with an international assignment and guaranteed job afterwards. Continental ticked off all the boxes and after a very fast application process I was invited to the assessment center and was offered a position as a Corporate IT Graduate. The assessment center was also very different to what I was used to – the atmosphere was more relaxing, there was almost no tension and it did not feel like a competitive environment at all. The program is very international – in my flight we had people from China, France, Germany, India, Turkey and Ukraine. Regarding our education we were also a very heterogeneous group – we had engineering, IT and business graduates. Having all these different backgrounds in the group was a very enriching experience.
The Corporate IT Graduate program includes four assignments which are six months each, with rotations between divisions, locations in Germany and one rotation abroad. Typically there is a variety of assignments in North and South America, Asia and Europe to choose from.
Part of the first assignment is a group project, the topic of which changes each year and gives you the first hands-on experiences with how projects are run at Continental. So right in the beginning we had the opportunity to work together on a real project with a steering committee, project charters, a designated project manager, sponsors etc. and to present our results to the steering committee and our colleagues. Project management training was also provided to us in the beginning. Our group project was quite a challenge, as we had to deal with our assignments in parallel and find time slots suitable for all, align with workers council, adapt to changing requirements, conduct interviews and develop the solutions based on the results of said interviews. But the more obstacles you meet, the higher the satisfaction upon the successful completion of the project is.
The interviews were my favorite part, as I got to speak to the shop floor workers and shift managers and got their insights and thoughts that led to quite interesting discussions. And recently I have discovered our project has not been forgotten – the topic is being worked on by a full-time project team, so I am already excited to see what they come up with.
My personal graduate journey was very diverse. My first assignment was in Service Management in HR IT, where we took care of internal feedback tools. The second was a joint assignment between Cybersecurity and Technical Architecture Management, both completely new topics to me, which gave me the possibility to learn a lot and still helps me in my current position. For the third assignment I went to Auburn Hills (Michigan, US) where I worked on optimization of Project Management tools in the Automotive division. The team was very welcoming and eager to show me around to make my time there as enjoyable as possible.
As it was my first time in the States, I used the opportunity to travel to both coasts and inside the state – an awesome experience. My final assignment brought me back to Hanover, to R&D at Tires, where I was part of the configuration and requirements engineering team for a new Product Lifecycle Management software. As this project was product-oriented, I learned a lot about this core business and how much work is invested into tire development. The only downside of changing the teams so often was unavoidable farewells at the end of each assignment, but I was able to distract myself by diving into new topics and new working environments
Since finishing the program in August 2019, I have been working as a Solution and Project Manager in eRecruiting with the team I have done my very first assignment in and continue benefitting from the experiences and contacts I have made during the first two years at Continental.