Matthew Schwab's experiences at SCHOTT
How did SCHOTT capture your interest?
Through courses such as Geometrical Optics and Optical Fabrication at the University of Arizona, I became familiar with many of the glass types and other products that Schott produces, but it wasn’t until a friend of mine told me about his experiences with working for Schott that I really made the decision to pursue working in a foreign country. After receiving a SCHOTT Advanced Optics Scholarship in 2008 from the North American branch of Schott and the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, I was put in contact with several Schott employees that gladly helped me find an internship position in Germany.
And why did you choose SCHOTT?
Schott is one of the few companies in the world that combines many of my academic and personal interests. The mix of Optical Engineering and Materials Science expertise fits perfectly with my field of study, and the skills necessary for working with colleagues in two languages as well as learning to live in a foreign country are incredibly valuable for staying competitive in an increasingly globalized job-market.
How did your internship influence the planning of your further career? This internship has not had a large impact on my short term goals, as I had decided before working at Schott to complete my Master’s degree in Europe. However, my experiences at Schott have been very positive and the opportunity to work for Schott in the long term is something I definitely want to pursue.
What is your current job?
The two main projects that I have had during my internship have been related to market research and analysis of products that Schott would like to offer to new customers. One is the implementation of a flexible beam delivery system for high powered CO2 laser energy for use in industrial applications. The second analysis was more specific to investigating new markets in hunting and medical applications for optical absorption and interference filters. Both of these projects have demanded technical knowledge of how these products work, but have also required me to expand from my technical background and focus on how to best filter, analyse, and present data on the products, their markets and relevant customers and competitors. This in turn helped other employees in our department to make the best decisions regarding these new markets.
What are the interesting aspects of your job?
Aside from the two major market analysis projects, it has been the daily challenge of working with my German co-workers, and living in Germany, that have been the most interesting aspects of my internship. The language barrier makes every conversation a tiny challenge. Communication is one of the most important skills for any job position, and the careful listening and patience required to surmount this barrier are useful practices to carry forward throughout my career. Also interesting was the opportunity to work at Schott’s R&D facility in Marienborn where a colleague was finishing his thesis on diffractive optical elements. Learning the German names and phrases of all the optical instruments that I had used in lab at the University was very interesting, and I am always excited for the chance to do hands on work away from a computer.
How do you see your next role and future career opportunities at SCHOTT?
During my three month internship one of the German students in my department helped organize several meetings with various departments throughout Schott. Corporate Machinery and Production Technology (MT) interested me the most as it follows the engineering process from need and concept to design and production in a relatively short amount of time. For a young engineer, this department sounds like a great way to get experience in a multitude of varying technologies. It also demands a good mix of customer consulting, research, analysis, and hands on work. To return to Schott after completing my Master’s degree would be a great opportunity to start my professional career and further improve my German language skills.
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