Erick Froede's experiences at SCHOTT
Why did you choose to work for SCHOTT?
SCHOTT appealed to me in a number of ways. I have always had the desire to work and live abroad, and the company had a well organized and managed internship program available to make that happen. Additionally, SCHOTT is a successful international corporation, and I wanted to learn first hand how business is conducted across different cultures and languages. This was especially apparent in my division, SCHOTT Solar, which had to deal with both governments and customers on almost every continent.
What is your job description?
I work within the framework of competitor analysis, which as I am discovering, is a very broad field. So far, I have attended InterSolar in Munich and composed a database of new products and technologies, which will become a reference tool for comparing our products and those that are entering the market. This will allow the brand managers in my department to get a sense of where the technology is heading, as well as how competitive we will be in the future. Currently, I am using solar panel simulation and analysis software to develop a database of module performance according to different variables. This will then be used to create a tool that will indicate, given a particular customer and situation, the optimal technology, installation size, orientation, and more.
What did you like about it, what not so much?
I can honestly say that I have not had a negative experience within the internship. Foremost, I was learning something new every day, both in terms of my language and technical skills. It is exciting when you are able to come into work and constantly develop on a daily basis, especially since I started from basic levels of German and photovoltaic knowledge. Also, my department has made an effort to really make my time here worthwhile, such as taking me on site visits to Alzenau and Jena, the previously mentioned InterSolar Expo, etc. These aren't a required part of the internship, but the fact they deliberately invest time and money into providing these experiences had made all the difference.
How would you describe the working atmosphere at SCHOTT?
The people in my department are incredibly knowledgeable and hard working, which makes for a really focused and professional atmosphere. Surprisingly, despite their busy schedules they always find the patience and time to help me, which has been really critical to my progress. Equally important, they know to have fun, and a day hasn't gone by where I haven't laughed at work. This balance makes for a really awesome and relaxed environment.
How much responsibility did you hold in your position?
I was entirely responsible for the tasks assigned to me, and once given initial direction, I was left to complete my assignment. Help was always readily available, but it was up to me to take the initiative and seek it out if needed. This independence is something I enjoyed, allowing me to approach and solve challenges in a creative manner.
Are there other additional offers you make use of?
Schott supports a local gym, appropriately named TSV SCHOTT, which is a really nice facility offering a wide variety of sports programs from traditional soccer all the way to American football. It costs very little for employees to become a member, and there are a number of community events held there as well. For example, I recently participated in the 5th annual 'Run for Children' where SCHOTT employees and local organizations came together to raise 150,000 Euro for a variety of charities; it was a great time, and will be one of the best memories of my time here.
What is your advice for new comers?
For future interns, I would say that you should try to experience something new and different every day here. Time goes by incredibly fast, and if you consciously try to exercise an adventurous spirit you will return home with tons of memories and some awesome stories to tell! Also, one of my coworkers once told me that people in Germany work hard, but they know how to play hard too - adopt this attitude and you can't go wrong.
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