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Rather than pure theory, dedication and creativity are what counts with us. With us, each person – from management to interns – is part of the team and therefore, part of our success story. Whether the field of sales, product development, or marketing – we give glimpses here into our day-to-day activities and our team.
After completing my training as a mechatronic engineer and then going on to complete my A-levels, I decided to undertake extra-occupational studies at the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Westphalia. My goal was to acquire specialist knowledge in the automotive sector and become familiar with the daily work of an engineer while I was still studying. Schaeffler Engineering agreed to help me achieve this.
Combined studies – regulated connection between theory and practice
As a combined student, I worked at Schaeffler Engineering for four days each week and attended compulsory lectures at the University of Applied Sciences on Saturdays. An additional day was available each week for private study, in order to allow me to complete the course within the normal study period of nine semesters. In a combined course of study, approximately 30% of the material is taught in the compulsory lectures. The remaining 70% must be learned through private study at home. Eight compulsory lectures took place each semester, on top of which there were internships and written tests at the end of each semester.
The automotive sector ensures variety in the workplace
The range of activities during the week is not defined and each combined student can decide themselves exactly what they want to do. Rather than starting a course of training, I decided to start work as a student employee. At the beginning, I worked in various specialist departments at Schaeffler Engineering so that I could familiarize myself with the internal operative procedures. I was involved in various projects over several months, my tasks ranging from software and prototype development to managing standard systems. I was also entrusted with carrying out tasks in the area of process and project management. Various training sessions ensured that I was always well prepared for the upcoming tasks. During my time as a working student, the supervision of vehicle series production of gas engines and the further development of gas-specific components became the focuses of my activities. I still work in these areas today.
My own development project for my Bachelor thesis
As is the case for any other course of studies, I needed to complete a Bachelor thesis at the end of my combined studies. I had an entire semester in which to complete this thesis. I was supported by Schaeffler Engineering in this regard as well, as the company allowed me to carry out a single development project in its entirety. This took me almost an entire year to complete. The project included tasks such as in-depth investigations on an engine test bench; I was permitted to carry out these investigations entirely on my own. I am still benefiting from the experiences that I acquired here, as they are helping me to complete my current project work. After successfully completing the final exam, I was directly employed by Schaeffler Engineering as an engineer and became part of an interdisciplinary team.
During my entire time as a student, I was able to count on the full support of both the management and of all my colleagues at Schaeffler Engineering. An uncomplicated solution was always possible for any problem that arose either at work or in my studies. The company re-acted flexibly to my needs; this was the case, e. g. when I needed to attend additional compulsory lectures or when I needed to work on essays. The special working environment makes day-to-day work much easier. This is particularly important due to the double load that results from the combined studies. Thanks to a well-organized time management system and the readiness of Schaeffler Engineering to adapt itself to the students' differing needs, I was able to combine my work and my studies seamlessly and successfully.
While in college, I was looking for vacation work that was relevant to my future career. Schaeffler Engineering really caught my eye because it is active in the automobile sector. This sector not only covers the field of information technology, but also connects a variety of interesting fields.
My application was successful, and I began working at Schaeffler Engineering during summer vacation. During this time, I got to know both the procedures and the friendly staff at Schaeffler Engineering. The staff patiently explained to me all the procedures and technology that I was not already familiar with. In this way, I was able to learn a great deal in this short period of time. I returned to college with a really positive impression of the company.
Perfect team support
Two years later, when I was nearing the end of my studies, I began looking for a way to complete my diploma thesis. To do this, naturally I re-applied to Schaeffler Engineering. They had retained a positive impression of me and I was able to write my diploma thesis there. The process at Schaeffler Engineering is divided into two parts in order to deliver high-quality work.
It starts with a three-month internship. The goal of this internship is to learn about all unfamiliar technology and to start working with Schaeffler Engineering products. Later on, different experiments can be carried out and prototypes can be developed. These should then show that the diploma thesis can be carried out in a set time frame. The Schaeffler Engineering employees were always friendly and helpful if questions about the technology arose or if I needed help with the prototypes. This way, I was able to make the best use of the time and acquire a great deal of knowledge.
Now it gets serious
After my prototype had shown that the concept works, I registered my diploma thesis with the University of Applied Sciences. The three-month diploma thesis then ensued. During the process, I was always able to count on the support of the staff. Even in writing the text of the diploma thesis, the staff assisted me by reading it through several times to check for mistakes and by providing me with constructive criticism. With their help, I was able to write a successful diploma thesis.
A special surprise
A surprise was in store for me after the interim presentation of my diploma thesis. I was offered an employment contract at Schaeffler Engineering. As I had had such good experience with the staff and with Schaeffler Engineering, I accepted the offer. I have been working there as a qualified IT professional since the start of 2009. Ever since then, I've been learning more and more each day and I can discuss my new personal goals with the managers in the regularly-occurring employee development meetings.
Two factors play an especially large role in selecting a place of work: on the one hand, challenging, diverse assignments, and on the other hand a very pleasant work atmosphere. Both requirements are satisfied for me at Schaeffler Engineering.
While still completing the end of my mechanical engineering studies with an emphasis in vehicle technology, I started looking for potential employers. Because I'm attached to the Aachen area, I began my search only looking locally. I quickly ascertained that there was not currently an abundance of options in this area. A somewhat more extensive search finally led me to Schaeffler Engineering, still AFT then. At the time, the construction of the second location in Herzogenrath was in full swing and was looking for employees with various skills. The job description then as a design engineer was calling out to me: On one hand, the fields were very diverse, but on the other hand, the focus was on drivetrain development, and the requirements profile matched my skill set. Furthermore, Herzogenrath was a location that could not have been more fitting if it had been Aachen or the surrounding area.
Applied on Wednesday, presented on Monday, contract signed on Thursday
The application process was unrivaled in its smooth progression: After I had submitted the application on Wednesday via the Schaeffler candidate portal, on Friday I received the telephone invitation to interview on the following Monday. On Tuesday I received written acceptance, two days later the contract was in the mailbox. Even the interview had a very collegial nature, which reinforced my opinion about "small" companies: First and foremost, colleagues work together on the solution of a problem, but a hierarchy is nevertheless present to prevent chaos from breaking out.
Learning and teaching simultaneously for the benefit of the team
This notion was to be further reinforced in the following months. Arriving in a young yet experienced team, I was able to insert myself immediately into an ongoing project. In a short amount of time, I was able to apply my learned skills and in the process to learn much more. In particular, the fact that each individual learns and teaches at the same time to build up the competence of the entire team still excites me even seven months later. However, since the productive components only make up a part of the job, at this point I would also like to touch upon the social components: Talking to and getting to know your colleagues, at whichever location, is so fast and easy at Schaeffler Engineering. The atmosphere does not in any way correspond to that of an anonymous open-plan office. Whether during lunch breaks, at the coffee machine, or at company Christmas parties: the team spirit is felt and experienced everywhere.
Along with the everyday work, of course it is also fascinating that a rather informal company belongs to a globally operating corporation. The related internationally structured customer base, among other things, is always a breath of fresh air.