Not entirely sure which career to pursue? You’re not alone. There are so many directions you could take that the decision can be daunting.
This is where the Siemens Graduate Program (SGP) can help. The two-year program comprises three challenging assignments often in different departments across the company, meaning you can try your hand in varied industries while meeting mentors and giving your career the kickstart it needs.
We could reel off a list of other reasons why it’s the program for you, but instead, we caught up with three alumni who told us what it’s really like, how it helped them to pick their future career, as well as sharing their tips for students ready to take on this exciting opportunity.
As part of the SGP, Stefan had three very different roles. His first role involved development within a large software product with 80 million lines of code. Next, he was responsible for tracking down interesting start-ups that could join forces with Siemens. Finally, he carried out measurements for the automotive industry, enabling car manufacturers to work out how well cars cancel out vibrations for drivers and passengers. Here’s what he would like to say about the program.
Did you have any strong mentor figures? If so, who were they and how did they help?
Yes, I had a strong mentor who actually was involved in the selection process at the assessment center. He was one of the reasons why I decided to join Siemens. I really had a good feeling about him and we have a very good relationship to this day.
Along the way I have also had assignment managers who I was also able to talk to about career and personal development. So I guess there were several mentors, even if they weren’t always part of the official or formal set-up.
How did the reality of SGP compare to any expectations you had before you joined?
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the two years ahead of me. The main reason for me to join was the fact that I could be in three different roles and locations. This was really important to me as — coming from university — I didn’t really know in detail which career path I wanted to take. Having different roles over the two years actually does help you figure out what you might like and what you don’t like.
How do your experiences during SGP feed into your current role?
I didn’t have my current role during the SGP. At the same time, I would not have my current job if it wasn’t for the program. The reason is pretty simple: I heard about a former graduate of the program (I didn’t even know him in person at that time) who had a new position. As he was familiar with the program, I approached him without any hesitation. He was in a similar situation when finishing the SGP and he knew what to expect from me. A few weeks later, I had a job.
What would you say to people thinking about applying for the SGP?
I would always recommend applying for the SGP. Apart from getting to know a company from different angles early in your career, it’s actually a fun community. It’s an interesting mix of very different people who all get along well together.
Michael’s first responsibility during SGP was to help the Operational Excellence Team to deliver their annual strategic plan to the Customer Services Division
in Erlangen. For the rest of the program, he was responsible for developing and growing the service business for wind turbine drivetrains in Australia. During any downtime, colleagues would teach him everything they could about the business, even how to repair gearboxes high up in the air on a wind turbine.
He shares his experiences of the program.
Can you tell us about a favorite project you worked on?
After gaining the trust of the team, they made me responsible for a project that ran for the whole course of my SGP placement and beyond. We needed to create a business plan to transfer a test bench for wind turbine gearboxes to Sydney, Australia from a factory where it was not needed anymore. So in Germany, I prepared a seven-digit investment business plan, got it signed off after a year and then created and led the project to get it transferred.
During my delegation in Sydney I then worked in Business Development and Sales, continuing to support the project. I had to learn the hard way that such a project can easily take longer than two years — in fact, it took five. I’m very proud that the test bench is now in operation, servicing the local wind turbine energy market in Australia.
What excited you most about the SGP?
The people. It’s incredible to get to know so many bright and beautiful minds. There are so many dedicated people who love their work and who want to make the world a better place through their positive attitude. It’s truly inspiring.
What advice would you give people looking to get the most out of SGP?
Always be curious. What you do with your career and life, and who you connect with, is all down to you. If things don’t always work out the way you imagined or if life seems to be throwing rocks in your way, never forget that we all are ‘just’ humans and start climbing your way over those obstacles. And, when chances come up, take them. Jump feet first into the unknown.
Tim began his program in Berlin, where he worked in technical sales for intelligent networks in mobile telecommunications, and later also for fixed networks. After four weeks, he was sent on a three-week training course to prepare him for visiting a customer in Hungary. Next, he headed to Argentina to work as Product Manager Sales on intelligent networks. Armed with his new knowledge, he was regarded as the specialist for this topic in the country by the time he was just 25 years old. This is what he had to say about the program.
Can you tell us about a favorite project you worked on during SGP?
Definitely a marketing study I was working on for sales during the third assignment. We had to analyze the telecom operator trends in Asia Pacific — and this included interviews with operators in Hong Kong, Australia,
and New Zealand.
What excited you most about the program?
The possibilities that were given to me and the freedom to act, the international work and the network I was able to create. Now, 20 years after being part of the program, five SGPs are still my best friends and we meet once a year with all our families in a hut in the Alps. I now have two SGP participants (first and third assignment) on my team.
How did the experience compare to your expectations?
It not only met but exceeded my expectations. It was especially great that I was able to work in marketing as an engineer. In the end I stayed there and in consulting — definitely a route I would not have chosen as an electrical engineer without the program.
What advice would you give people looking to get the most out of SGP?
Try things you are not able to try in a normal line position and build up your network, especially with the senior management you meet during the program. I continue to take advantage of both my personal network and the alumni network in my daily work.
Stefan, Michael, and Tim took part in the Siemens Graduate Program (SGP), an entry-level scheme for the Future Makers of tomorrow, and have gone on to take on full-time roles at Siemens. Over the course of two years, participants gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed at Siemens, benefit from the support of a personal mentor, and complete an assignment at one of 1,700 worldwide locations. Find out more about how the SGP can kickstart your career with Siemens.