One of the most important aspects when looking for your very first job is finding “the right company”. A company that fits you best, that has an organizational culture that suits your personality and that enables you to achieve your personal and professional goals, whatever they might be. Sometimes it can be difficult to assess a company’s culture simply by looking at its website. However, as soon as you meet its employees face-to-face for the very first time, for instance during a job interview, you get a better feeling for the atmosphere within the company. Listen to the questions the company’s recruiters ask you and observe the way the recruiters treat you as a person, and you will easily understand if the company has a very competitive “elbow culture” or if it is a company that truly values a work-life-balance. My advice to you is to ask yourself “the right questions” and, then, to simply listen to your gut feeling when meeting the company for the first time.
The first question I asked myself, when looking for my first job position was: In what industry would I like to work in?
I have a Master in International Business Studies and, thus, do not have an engineering background. However, I always liked technical classes, for example physics in high school, and missed this part during my studies a little. Therefore, I wanted to work for a company that produces a complicated technical product. The innovative strength in the automotive industry is fascinating and the next decades hold so many new developments in store such as platooning, autonomous driving, and connectivity. I understood that working for a company in the automotive industry would enable me to learn new things every day and to develop my technical knowledge further. Hence, it became clear to me that I wanted to work in the automotive industry.
Secondly, I asked myself in what department I would like to work at.
The field of strategic management has always been the main focus of my studies. In addition, I completed classes in international marketing and project management, which aroused my interest in the development and implementation of marketing strategies and projects. I also deepened my marketing knowledge by participating in a research project at the university – in cooperation with the German Football League (DFL) on the topic “Brand Associations of and Brand Loyalty towards Professional Football Clubs: An Empirical Study of German and Indian Football Fans“. The project enabled me to broaden my knowledge in market research as well as to gain experience in brand management. Furthermore, I became familiar with the marketing and sales business during internships at Telstra Corporation Limited in Australia and the German-Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Sweden. I was involved in the administration of and communication with various business clients as well as the customer acquisition process. Additionally, I conducted market analyses and market research projects, for example a project for the measurement of customer satisfaction. Both, the research project at the university as well as the internships confirmed my enthusiasm for the international marketing and sales business. Accordingly, I decided to pursue a career in Sales & Marketing.
Then, I wondered, whether I should apply for a trainee program or directly for a position within Sales & Marketing.
Since I studied International Business, the lectures and seminars I attended have been quite generic and theoretical. Thus, I did not really feel prepared enough to start a job in Sales and Marketing right away. A trainee program gives you the opportunity to get to know the company insight and out. In the best case, you are able to observe the company from production to sales and from the dealers to the headquarters. You will stand at the production line at 6 o’clock in the morning and you will meet the CEO for a meeting in the afternoon. A good trainee program enables you to learn and develop, to observe and question, and to suggest and deliver. And after the trainee program, you will have gained so many new insights, you will really KNOW the company and how things work, and you will feel best prepared for your very first job position at this company. There was no doubt in my mind, that a trainee program was what I wanted to do.
Thus, I asked myself the final question: At which company in the automotive industry would I like to complete a trainee program in Sales & Marketing?
My studies and internships indicate a very strong international focus, therefore, I wanted to start my professional career at a leading international company. I completed two internships at the German-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, hence, I speak Swedish fluently and I am very familiar with the Swedish business culture. I definetely could imagine myself working at a Swedish company. When comparing different companies in the automotive industry, Scania stood out to me right away. It seemed to me as if Scania has a unique organizational culture that is in alignment with my own values and goals. This positive impression was confirmed during my first face-to-face meeting with one of the recruiters. After a second meeting at the headquarters in Södertälje and after having met even more employees and former trainees at Scania, my gut feeling told me that this was it: I fit to Scania and Scania fits to me. I have worked at Scania for a year now – a year full of exciting but also challenging experiences. But I have never regretted my decision and I am very curious to find out what the future at Scania has in store for me.
Thus, I encourage you all to ask yourself these questions and to figure out what your personal and professional goals are and most importantly what kind of company you would like to work for. And then, just listen to your gut feeling! All the best and good luck!