I’m excited to be able to share my thoughts about MANN+HUMMEL’s Rotational Graduate Program in this blog article. I hope that I will be able to update you over the coming years on my experience going through the program.

I started my career with MANN+HUMMEL USA in November 2014. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Supply Chain Management from Western Michigan University. I knew about the company before I joined as I had taken part in a mapping project for MANN+HUMMEL during my studies. Through the project, I got to know some of the American employees and learned more about the company’s culture and working environment. My contacts encouraged me to apply after I graduated and I am honored to have been given the opportunity to participate in the Rotational Graduate Program.

Thanks to the Graduate Program, I have a busy schedule the following next three years. I’m currently a buyer at MANN+HUMMEL USA headquarters in Portage, MI. As part of the team, I am responsible for both commodity buying and project-based procurement. The onboarding process for all new recruits is fantastic. I am broadening my knowledge through one on one meetings and online training modules. 

Discovering China

The second part of the rotation kicks in March 2016. I’ll be moving to Changchun in north-east China to work at the MANN+HUMMEL FAWAY production plant. It will be an exciting time to be there as I will experience MANN+HUMMEL’s growth in China first-hand. I’ll be in the purchasing department so I will draw on some of the experience I am gaining in the USA. However, I expect a completely different business culture so it will be interesting to learn about and adapt to the customs of the country.

I’m currently preparing for my year-long stay by learning Mandarin by taking private classes twice a week. As this is my first foreign language, it’s challenging, but also very enjoyable. I look forward to developing my language skills and understanding of the Chinese culture during my stay in Changchun.

Experiencing Germany

After China, I’ll be experiencing life and work in the south-east of Germany at the Marklkofen works. I’ll be going from one of the newest plants to one of the most established in the group. However, as always, I expect to see high-tech, cutting edge technology in use at the manufacturing process. I hope I will be able to prepare with some German lessons but I have a feeling that with my concentration on Mandarin, I might have to learn the language on the Job.

On a personal level, I am looking forward to my time abroad. I think China will be the biggest challenge as I will probably be the only American expat working in the plant. Germany will be a bit more familiar as I have already visited the country during the Graduate Week at the MANN+HUMMEL headquarters in Ludwigsburg; once a year, MANN+HUMMEL brings all of the purchasing graduates together for one week during the Global Purchasing Summit. It was a great experience. We participated in trainings and were exposed to Site Managers and Material Group Managers from across the globe. The summit broadened my understanding of MANN+HUMMEL’s Global Purchasing structure and gave me the opportunity to meet other graduates in the program.

As you can see, I have a challenging but exciting time ahead. The Graduate Program offers so many opportunities to young people starting their careers. I highly recommend it.