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  Hi there! I am Oliver and I recently joined the Continental team as a member of the Automotive Graduate Program “DRIVE”. This program and its events are the perfect start to establish a broad network within our organization. I am glad to share some insights with you in the following lines.

Before starting at Continental, I studied Business Administration and Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Aachen. During my studies, I had the chance to spend two semesters abroad – one in China and one in South Korea. To compliment my theoretical knowledge, I gained some practical experience in companies ranging from a newly found startup to a global automotive manufacturer. After finishing my master thesis, I have started my professional career as a part of the DRIVE program in the pre-development department at Continental in Frankfurt.

Continental offers several programs for graduates to start their journey in a versatile way. Each of the so-called DRIVErs can shape his or her own experiences within the organization according to their individual competencies and fields of interest. The only limit is the time frame: three assignments of eight months each.

I have always aimed to understand the big picture. Therefore, I did a variety of internships and studied both technology and business. It was clear to me that I was looking for a job which combines all these components. Now at Continental, I am working on our future role as an automotive supplier in the world of mobility. In this task, it is crucial to establish a broad network of colleagues within many departments, not only to gather information but also to spread our vision.

A key element that had great influence on my work is the Continental Graduate Conference (CGC). The CGC takes place every second year in November. My DRIVEr batch was a lucky one, because we had the chance to participate in the event only six weeks after our first day.

But what is CGC about? The CGC is a two-day event organized by graduates for graduates where high-level managers and experts share insights of their daily work, their projects and their vision. We had not only the chance to benefit from the knowledge of more experienced graduates, but also to network with prominent representatives like Andreas Wolf, CEO of Vitesco Technologies. My two favorite key notes were held by Konstantin from Co-Pace and Laurent from Continental Industy. Konstantin gave us great insights in his work within the startup ecosystem and his vision of the future of mobility. Laurent presented his approach within Continental Industry to trigger, incubate and scale internal ideas. We also had the chance to participate in a lot of workshops to e. g. promote out of the box thinking. The second and last day ended with a special tour through the powertrain factory and a casual gathering in the historic city center of Regensburg.

To sum it up, it was the best kick-off I could have imagined. I met colleagues from all over the world working in different departments at Continental having the same mindset. I am really looking forward to the upcoming projects and the future of our network at Continental. Already after a few weeks I profited a lot from this network made possible by the event. If you are looking forward to fostering your career with a versatile network, I can truly recommend the Continental DRIVE Automotive Graduate Program.

 

Oliver Giel

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