Please tell us about yourself
I’m working at Continental as a part of the DRIVE Automotive Graduate Program since October 2012. I have been placed in Power Train division for the product line Injectors. I’m basically from Bangalore, India and I’m a fun loving guy who likes dance, music, photography, travelling and to meet interesting people. I’m here to share my experience of working at Continental and looking forward to get to know new people. :-):-)
What did you study?
I did my Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) from Visvesvaraya Technological University (Mechanical Engineering) and Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Mechatronics from Universität Siegen, germany.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
Formula Student is a competition where students build a single seat formula race car and have the chance to compete with other teams from universities around the world. Students are assessed on the basis of their design, performance of car, business and financial planning.
Formula Student is not about participating in an international design competation, it’s about the emotional connection with the cars that they build. Students put in their best effort for over a year to bring out the best of their ideas as well as end up with their own made cars and get ready to face the real World. It involves team work, time and project management along with design, manufacturing, economics.
My experience with Formula Student has been great as a participant and amazing as an official. I was a part of the University of Siegen’s Formula student racing team called ‘Speeding Scientists Siegen’ !
The fun part of being a participant when you are building the car, is taking time out of your university classes and staying overnight at the garage to see the car getting built. Also, dealing with little time gave me a lot of time management experience. During the event, we camped at Hockenheim Ring where I met other teams from other parts of the world. It’s a place to make friends and there is music, barbeque, dance and beer.
Continental is one of the main sponsors for the event and every year we have a big truck (we call it Conti Truck) at the Hockenheimring and also giving out free race tires for the teams!
I entered continental through Formula Student! During my time at Hockenheimring, I met some experts from the industry and had some chats at the Conti truck. It seems that they liked me because I was being invited to attend an interview. I made it! So, the connection with Formula Student and Conti is even stronger and personal for some of us as it was the path to get into Conti!
Tell us about your experience working at Continental
I have always dreamt of working in an awesome Automotive company (at this point, you’re going “Bah, rubbish!” – but no, really!). Doing the work that I know I’m really good at and also having fun. Now, I’m living that dream with Continental and it’s been great! It’s been a dream run to enter Continental as well as to work here and I will definitely tell the story of how it actually happened in the next posts!
I was placed in one of the most beautiful cities in Germany, Regensburg, during my first assignment. I lived in the old town (Altstadt in German) which makes it even more special for a guy like me who likes classics, as Regensburg was once built by the Roman Empire.
It’s been a year now at Continental (Yaay!!, Happy anniversary to me 😉 ). I still remember the exitement that I had when I walked into Conti. But, on the contrary I also had goose bumps. Well, as all new employees I had my fears and doubts about the team and work culture. The people that I met at Continental are really supportive. All of my doubts and fears were slowly erased when I started to get to know my colleagues and finally sinked.
Presently, I’m in my second assignment half way around the World in Thailand. That brings in more international and intercultural experience so that I can grow professionally. I believe that I’m “Trans-Continental” as I am an Indian living in Europe being able to speak German and moved to Asia as an Expatriate (Complicated stuff right ?? 😛 ). I could bring in a mixture of both Asian and European culture at work which definitely helps me. When you are in Asia, it’s difficult to use direct communication like in Europe as people don’t want to loose their face in front of you. So I use indirect communication (Indian Style) with colleagues for smooth coordination and to be sure that the work is done. Additionally, I get to do things that I love by working in different countries, for example, travelling and photography. Here, in Thailand, I already tried bungee jumping and deep sea diving..
The support you get is not only to just do your work but also to pursue your personal interests. That´s just amazing. For example, I’m a race car freak and currently I support Formula Student Racing teams of Universities in Germany that cooperate with Continental. I get to connect with the student fraternity and meet young and exciting talents through the internal Ambassador program. Apart from that, I also attended ‘Hochschulmesse’ at different universities in south of Germany representing Continental.
How has your career progressed so far?
Time and tide never waits for anyone, which is so true in my case. It’s already been two years at Conti and it has been a great journey.
I have had by far one of the most challenging years of my career. I was assigned to a project when I was working in Thailand which was in a critical situation. Even though I was a junior member of a team, my analytical skills were being recognized by my boss and I was bumped up to be the Task Force lead of the project.
It was a cross country project which involved at least three continents and around 7 nationalities of people. Just imagine how complicated it was to get everyone on the same page :-D. Forget about it – simply imagine considering the time zone difference which made it difficult to invite for a meeting.
After the initial chaotic phase of the change period we were able to slowly understand every perspective of the problems we had in the project. Since there were 7 different nationalities involved, everyone started seeing things in a different way. That truly helped us to understand every dimension of the project and helped us to make good decisions. This is what I call – Truly Trans – Continental :-). Later, we were able to draft a small plan by defining a S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Timely) goals. This was followed by a lot of logical experimentation. I was able to make fruitful decisions thus we were able to solve the problem. I was highly appreciated by the management for my contribution to this project – which is a great feeling!
The main reason why I’m writing about this story is to let you know that Continental has always been supportive in identifying the skills of a person and to give them the responsibility and a platform to exhibit the skills. This was a great opportunity for me to further develop my leadership skills. A proof for one of the four values of the company which is Freedom to act!