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Professional Life After Trainee Program

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Tags: TraineeCommunity, Careers
In the 15-month ZF Global Trainee Program, participants will become acquainted with work at ZF, rise to the challenges of a daily work routine, apply the knowledge gained during studies to successfully complete international projects and start a promising career at a highly-innovative automotive company.
ZF Trainees, August 27, 2017
ZF Trainees are a group of young people taking part in the ZF Global Trainee Program. In the #traineeblog they give insights about the life as a ZF Trainee.
Hi everyone, I’m honored that the editorial team requested me to write a post about myself and my experiences – this is something I am definitely happy to share with you. I think it is a very good opportunity to give you some insights not only about the trainee program itself, but also about what may come next after ones time in the program is complete. First of all, I’m Julian and I was just recently a trainee, two years ago in the batch of 2014-15. I’m a proud brother of twin sisters and in my leisure time I’m a passionate sailor.

I started at ZF with an internship in 2013. Afterwards I did my masters at Glasgow University, which was only possible due to the ZF scholarship. Without this support, I wouldn’t have had enough money to stay a year abroad. Thus, I’m really thankful to the company and I came back to ZF to wrote my master thesis at the department of HR Top Management. After finishing my masters, my motivation to apply for the ZF trainee program, was to find out which future role would satisfy me the most, because I was (and I’m still) interested in many different areas such as sales, strategy, M&A or even purchasing…

With the trainee program I got the chance to test out my strengths and weaknesses while building an amazing network all over the world and learning new skills. For me personally, it was especially very valuable in terms of sharpening my skills and shaping a vision for my future career trajectory. I learned a lot about myself in the program. On the one side, this was due to the feedback I received from different professionals; on the other side, it was due to the various experiences, such as the great time I had in China where I learned a lot about cultural differences. The trainee program really gives you the chance for personal development, which is very rare in later work-life.
And of course, you should not forget the people around you. The friendships you will make during this time remain in the future.
Regarding my current profession, it all started with my third trainee project at the strategy and M&A department of the Business Unit Electronic Systems (BU ES). At this time I already knew that strategy and e-mobility is a combination that ticked all my boxes and appealed to me the most. And I was lucky, since after the trainee program I received an offer to start at this department as specialist for strategy, business development and M&A.
Since the new Division E-Mobility was founded in January 2016, it was a really exciting time for me, because I was witnessing this birth from a front seat.

There were many very interesting new challenges. BU ES became BU EE and we as the strategy team had to take over tasks for the whole new Division E as an intermediate solution. I was responsible for the first strategy being developed for Division E and coordinated the work of the formerly separate BU’s, which now had to act together as a team.
Only a few months later, I got the incredible chance to take over the newly set up position of “Head of Strategy, Business Development, M&A” for Division E and thus, I moved from Auerbach to Schweinfurt. This was a big step for me as I was suddenly responsible for more than just the former EE business and I had to establish network and rapport with the new colleagues. Since this time I faced a lot of very interesting topics and I love to be involved in shaping the future of ZF. Because the project-load and the topics in Division E have now reached a level where I cannot do everything by myself, it is time to build up my team and from November 2017 onwards I will have two colleagues on my side to face the new challenges. I’m looking forward to the new chances and opportunities that e-mobility brings to the automotive industry, to ZF, to Division E and also to myself. I am convinced that the automotive industry faces imminent disruption from connectivity, autonomous driving, and electrification, as well as shared mobility that will offer opportunities we cannot even visualize today. This is exactly the reason why we need a solid strategy and good business development capabilities!
By doing my work I always try to live the new leadership logic: agile, fast and innovative. I believe in young creative thinkers. Ideas should not be limited by department borders or responsibilities; rather, they should be supported by the entire organization.

The trainee program is the perfect way to get these creative and talented people on board.