Please tell us about yourself. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
Jaikar started in 2013 as a trainee in the Global Graduate Program. “At that time there were only two international colleagues on my entire floor. Now there are nine.” This helps him feel at home in the Ostalb region around Oberkochen and shows that ZEISS is becoming increasingly more international.
Jaikar already had a strong connection to ZEISS – and consequently to Germany – when he came here for the first time in 2005. The ZEISS brand had always been a part of his everyday life: “I’ve worn eyeglasses with ZEISS lenses for a long time, I used to live across from the Carl Zeiss India Office and my first smartphone had ZEISS optics.”
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Tell us what do you do
In my current role in Product Management at Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, I am bringing new and innovative medical technology to the world and enabling doctors improve the lives of their patients. I am responsible for defining and launching new products, interacting with customers as well as developing the global marketing strategies for my application areas.
What did you study?
I hold a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany and a Master’s degree in Information and Communication Technology from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. I was sponsored by European Commission as Erasmus Mundus scholar. I hold a bachelors degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore and graduated with Distinction
Tell us about your career path
Prior to my graduate studies, I worked in product managerial role at Internet Entertainment India Pvt. Ltd, an internet based e-commerce company based in Bangalore, India. I gained extensive experience in product lifecycle management, requirement analysis, vendor sourcing, market research, developing marketing strategies as well as customer interactions.
After completing his studies in Sweden – where the temperature rarely rises above 20 degrees in the summer – Jaikar is thankful for the comparatively warm summer months in Germany: “I prefer to spend my free time out in nature and take advantage of the warm days in the Ostalb region. I have a lot of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in the area.”
Jaikar studied electrical engineering and works as a product manager. During his time as a trainee he got to know different departments at ZEISS, including Regulatory Affairs and Research and Development in Oberkochen along with Sales and Service in Dublin (USA). These positions taught him a lot about different subject areas and how to collaborate as a part of an international team.
How is the experience at Germany?
Jaikar describes the area as diverse and a good place to live: “We have a lot of great things in one location – the industrial diversity of one of Germany’s economic powerhouses, close proximity to big cities and beautiful natural surroundings.” Jaikar has the work-life balance right at his front door. He regularly pursues his favorite hobby: hiking. “It’s easy for me to unwind because the region isn’t as densely populated as a big city – I enjoy the peace and quiet,” says Jaikar, who grew up in Bangalore (India).
He’s visibly impressed with how well the German economy is doing and how smoothly the health care system works. He also shares what he thinks of German culture and Germans’ daily life. From his perspective, the special features of the local culture also present certain challenges: “As I see it, the extensive German bureaucracy means a lot of time, effort and stress.
Jaikar has benefited from the ZEISS International Club, which is open to all foreign employees at the Aalen/Oberkochen site. Through the International Club he’s made a lot of good friends from abroad who are living in the Ostalb region. They help each other out and offer assistance when an international colleague has to deal with the public authorities or fill out documents. Jaikar explains: “I received a lot of useful tips which really made my start in the region a lot simpler and made it easier for me to get a foothold in the local culture.”
The International Club was started a few years ago by ZEISS employees and now has nearly 180 members. Each month about two new members join. They organize regular events which bring colleagues together outside of work. There’s something for everyone, including excursions to the ZEISS mountain chalet, cooking and sporting events, a visit to the Christmas market or a trip to the movies.
The club is a member of the regional International Club East Wuerttemberg. Together they aim to help foreign colleagues feel at home in East Wuerttemberg. Thanks to their success in Oberkochen, an International Club in Jena has since been founded and is also going strong
“My colleagues were very supportive when I started working here.” But Jaikar admits that “I did miss my own culture – the people, the Indian celebrations and the food. I can’t completely replace these, of course, but I’ve found alternatives here in the Ostalb.”
“I know what it’s like to be a newcomer from abroad in this region. I think it’s important that I share my experiences with other new arrivals and motivate them not be discouraged by what is foreign and unfamiliar.” He makes it clear that he likes participating in the International Club and points to the comprehensive support it offers: “An international colleague starting at ZEISS is in good hands.