“I would strongly encourage students to explore the option of working abroad…you learn more than just work…that is what education stands for”.
Process improvement veteran and IISE alum, Dhruv Gupta is no stranger to the evolving needs of enterprises from the public sector to Fortune 500. With over 5 coop terms specializing in process engineering and optimization, Dhruv is firmly planted in the field many Management Engineers excel in.
Dhruv, I’m glad we got a chance to talk. It’s been tricky finding time to connect. Could you give us some insight on where you work right now and what you’re doing?
I am currently on my fifth coop term working for Bosch in Germany. More specifically, I am working as an Engineering intern in the Manufacturing International Body Electronics division in a town called Ansbach, which is about 40 minutes away from the city of Nuremberg. The department I’m working for is the lead plant for all functions related to the automotive functions of the car (I.e – security, windshield wipers, Blinkers etc.). Within the department, I am working for the product planning team. This team is responsible for coordinating manufacturing processes for all products across the international production network. They act as the liaison between the plant and the business unit.
How has Germany been so far?
My experience so far in Germany has been incredible. I chose to work in Europe because I was looking for a new challenge and a new cultural experience, having done all my previous internships in Canada. Furthermore, I have always wanted to experience Europe during my University years, and this opportunity was too good to pass up. The German working culture is quite different to Canada, and you can tell that Germans are quite efficient from their work ethic. Asides from my work, I have been travelling across Europe in my spare time, and that has allowed me to experience different cultures that is continuously shaping my view of the world. I would strongly encourage students to explore the option of working abroad, if they can financially enable themselves to do so, as you learn more than just work, and in my opinion, that is what education stands for.
How did you go about arranging the work term?
I found the job through WaterlooWorks, but I had a two friends that worked in the same position before, so that was a big help. They helped me understand a bit more about the job, what it entails, what the team was like and so on.
Are there any nuances to the process?
I had my interview with my manager over Skype and he presented the function of the team, their responsibilities and so on. So there was nothing different in the typical process of job applications.
How has the transition towards European life been? Is it difficult moving abroad alone?
This is a really important question. Moving abroad alone is quite daunting at first, and it doesn’t matter how many times you have moved for different co-op jobs within Canada. Moving to a new a new continent, let alone a new country has its challenges. I have moved many times when I was younger, so I was expecting to adapt fairly smoothly. But the truth is, it takes time to settle down and get comfortable with a new language, people, working culture and so on. It really depends on how willing you are to adjust to a new culture so that you can start to make friends and build your network.
It must be daunting being in a new environment without your social group and unfamiliar with the cultural norms. How are you finding your way?
It took me a few weeks to get all my administrative paperwork out of the way. Once that was all done, I always made sure to keep an open mind and try to meet as many people as possible and be outgoing rather than stay in the comforts of my home. It’s not easy, when the local language is not native, but the challenge is what the experience is about. There are many interns from other countries at Bosch, and I have gotten to know them better and spend more time with them and learned about their cultures while teaching them about mine.
I can now also say that I have worked and lived in Germany which is quite cool, but more importantly I have developed a tremendous amount both personally and professionally and I wouldn’t change this experience for anything.
Could you speak a bit more regarding travel?
Travelling is obviously one of the perks of working in Europe. Going to different cities/ countries is obviously much cheaper than going from Canada. I have been travelling a decent amount, mostly for weekend trips to different countries. I have met with other Management Engineering students also working in Europe, and we have had a chance to catch up and share our experiences which has been really cool.
What kind of projects have you worked on?
A lot of the projects that I am working on are mostly based on supporting the product planners in different phases of their projects.
Specifically, I am developing a lot of programs on VBA to automate data and information gathering, and optimize decision making, as well as making tools to view KPIs for different projects depending on the planner.
I know reporting can be a monotonous process. Does Bosch give you the visibility the reports deserve?
I had the opportunity to organize a workshop for a topic related directly to process improvement/ saving costs, in which various members of the international production network were invited. This was an extremely rewarding opportunity for me to build my network and learn about the various processes in each manufacturing plant. Overall, it has been a very rewarding work term where I have been able to combine my technical and soft skills with a good balance.