Recently, I spent 5 months in the air filter element R&D department. I know this was the right decision, as I benefited quite a bit from this training! I’d like to share more about my experience, and thus let people know about the Engineering School Program. (Note: feel free to read Part 1 if you haven’t yet :-))
Learning by doing
People say that the best way of learning is by doing. I could not agree more! I worked on field tests in Germany, cooperating with a field test manager regarding standard procedures/analysis procedures. I analyzed field tested elements from BMW China. Worked on field testing with our Chinese customer SGM. Through this I gained more experience in the Chinese market. We will thus benefit by showing customers the high quality of MANN+HUMMEL products, by optimizing element life calculation based on field test data, and by avoiding over-engineered designs. Design elements “best to fit” customer needs.
I also worked on an OEM project, the most challenging task for me. I did benchmark analysis: compared our element with a competitor’s element, found our advantages and disadvantages, got an idea for further element development. I was “lead product engineer” in a local project, responsible for element function testing and media release. I met many problems here, and all I’d learned in my prior training was used: check media, production line, testing procedures, etc. All problems have been fixed, which I think proves that I was well-trained during my stay.
Communication & Networking
When I was going through the training and tasks explained above, my communication and networking abilities improved. I wrote emails to request training, attended the training, communicated face to face, gave trainers feedback, looked for the right person for questions, etc. My emails became shorter, more efficient. I’m now more comfortable when communicating with people face to face, and I got to know people from different departments (easier to look for the right person/solution).
Before I came to MANN+HUMMEL Germany, I thought as a student thinks, wanting knowledge, focusing on my tasks, not really communicating with people. Now my abilities are improved, but I realize ability itself is not enough. As an engineer, I need to share my work, communicating clearly with colleagues and customers. I need to open my eyes, listen to different voices, and thus keep my work (MANN+HUMMEL products) going in the right (high-quality) direction.
Living in Germany
Before I came to Germany I was told that people here work very hard. Well, it’s absolutely true. I witnessed the diligent, rigorous, highly efficient German working style while involved in my training. However, people here also play hard. We went to different restaurants for lunch; Chinese food, Indian food, Greek, Vietnamese, etc. After work, we went out to have a drink at the bar or the Weinlaube festival. We also went to a famous beer festival in Stuttgart. It’s celebrated every year, and people there are crazy, completely different from how they are at work. Also, you can go shopping in Stuttgart; it’s only 15 minutes by train. I went there nearly every week…
Five months passed in the blink of an eye. I would like to show my appreciation for my managers at MANN+HUMMEL China and MANN+HUMMEL Germany, for this opportunity in the air filter element R&D department. I would also like to thank all my colleagues in Germany for their patient, professional training. The enjoyable times we spent together will be some of the most beautiful memories of my life. However, I will not say goodbye to them, as I believe this is just the beginning of my connection with M+H headquarters.