“Getting the chance to immerse myself in the goings-on at the Turin Engineering Center was a real privilege.”
– Jonas Gangl –
Former CED student, since September Program Planner Transmissions
Jonas Gangl is the first dual degree Opel Student to have completed a semester abroad as part of his work at the General Motors unit Global Propulsion Systems – which made for a wonderful supplement to his education. The 23-year-old aspiring engineer traveled from Germany to the development center in Turin, Italy, where the diesel engines for GM vehicles are designed and developed.
Gangl had been studying Systems Engineering as part of a cooperative engineering degree (CED) since 2012. Prior to his time in Turin, he had already gotten familiar with a few divisions of the global engine and transmission organization at GM in Rüsselsheim, Germany. “ Being able to gather more experience abroad, and getting the chance to immerse myself in the goings-on at the Turin Engineering Center in particular, was a real privilege, both in terms of building expertise and interacting with others.”
THE IDEA AROSE IN THE CED NETWORK
The idea to set up a semester abroad arose in the internal CED network. Students Gerhard Walter and Peter Schröter applied for support for studying abroad. Arnold Groetschel, the head of the Program Management Office where Jonas Gangl now works, was taken by the idea from the start: “It’s not just a great opportunity for our students – our company will also benefit enormously from being able to send our rising talent to other sites so they can gather new experiences and see how they manage on an international team.”
However, actually implementing this new idea proved to be a time-consuming process, “especially for the employees at other sites who take on our students,” Groetschel emphasized. With that in mind, the Program Manager was all the more pleased that this pilot project met with immediate approval from the Turin side.
“Jonas immediately became part of the team.“
– Monica Rossi –
Executive and European Change Process Manager Turin
CED students and departments that would like to provide organizational support for a semester abroad can contact Gerhard Walter for more information. He supervises the network of CED students in the company
THE CROWNING TOUCH: THE BACHELOR’S THESIS
The time came at the beginning of March: Jonas Gangl was sent to Italy for five months. At the Turin development center, he acted as a Program Coordinator Support member of the Midsize Diesel team responsible for the 1.6-liter engine. The up-and-coming ‘ingegnere’ (to use the Italian) was thrilled to find a “young and committed team that did an excellent job of welcoming and integrating me.” He also had plenty of opportunities to get to know the country, people, and culture of ‘bella Italia.’
“Jonas immediately became part of the team“, Monica Rossi, Execution and European Change Process Manager in Turin, remembers the guest from Germany. „Most of PMO Members adopted him as “younger brother” to teach and coach on our job. I hope he came back to Germany with a broader working understanding and cross cultural experience to bring into his future career.“ She can be sure: He did. And, best of all, Jonas Gangl successfully completed his bachelor’s thesis on Change Management – and earned his bachelor’s degree.
Unsurprisingly, he speaks positively of the experience: He highly recommends that every CED student take part in a semester abroad. Networkers and Management are already working to make this option a permanent institution at Global Propulsion Systems, and to eventually include sites such as the ones in Szentgotthárd, Hungary, Saragossa, Spain, Korea, and the U.S. “We will draw on the knowledge that we gained from this pilot project to put together a program that we can now present to our Human Resources department,” explains Arnold Groetschel.
Last Update December 2016