Wednesday - August 3, 2016

My journey from small town to global company

My name is Jari and I’m 25 years old. I grew up in a quiet village in Southern Hesse, Germany, and even as a child, was fascinated by technology and machinery.

So I knew from a very early stage that I wanted to take a degree in engineering after completing my high school diploma. After some time searching for the right program, I came across the cooperative degree – otherwise known as a combined degree program – in engineering at Covestro, which was known as Bayer MaterialScience at the time.

Filled with enthusiasm, I sent them my application right away and a few days later, received an invitation to attend an admissions test. I passed the test and interview with flying colors and was shortly offered a place on a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering starting in 2011.

So just how colorful is a combined degree program at Covestro?
Part of my combined degree program involved vocational training as an industrial mechanic. This training gave me the opportunity to consolidate my practical metalworking skills, as well as to learn the basic principles of hydraulics and electrotechnology, how to service lathes and milling machines, and how to file and weld. The phases I found most enjoyable were the “operational phases”, as they gave me the chance to work in an area of continuous production and indulge my obsession for all things technology-related.

After about two years as a mechanic, I reached the goal I’d been aiming for all along: I got to find out what it was like to work as an engineer. I received a warm welcome from our engineering office and was given responsibility for a number of different tasks and projects right from the very start. I was delighted that the team trusted me so much!

Even after finishing my vocational training in February 2015, my cooperation with Covestro continued to be an advantage. For instance, I was able to write my Bachelor’s dissertation on a topic related to Covestro and successfully completed it in summer 2015.

The opportunity then arose to take a Master’s in Product Engineering, which is a collaborative program offered at the University of Duisberg-Essen in collaboration with Covestro. This program gave me yet another exciting chance to work on projects and to gain a deeper insight into how a large global company operates.

I am curious, courageous, colorful … Curious – At Covestro curious is written with a capital “C”: my teammates and I can certainly vouch for that. Staff at Covestro are given a lot of responsibility, as well as the freedom to be curious, courageous and colorful. Covestro’s mechanical engineers are constantly searching for new solutions, whether in process optimization or the implementation of innovative, market-leading projects.

Courageous – I seek out challenges that test my courage outside of my professional life too. I love mountain climbing in my spare time and try to push my physical and mental boundaries by setting myself new, more ambitious targets.

In May 2016 I attempted a trek through the mountains. The trek that I chose was over 180 kilometers long and at an elevation of over 12,000 meters, straight through the Corsican highlands. After a 14-day ordeal of negotiating countless mountain ridges, snow fields, ascents and descents, I finally made it. I can now count myself amongst the lucky few to have completed this challenge, and it makes me so proud!

Colorful - My next major milestone will be my semester abroad in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This semester abroad will give me the chance to learn about another way of life and explore a city as a resident rather than a tourist. I’ll be studying at the National University of Malaysia for about six months to learn the advanced theory to complement my professional expertise.

Simply put, life in Malaysia is colorful: it’s multilayered and home to many different cultures who live peacefully alongside one another. I’ve never had the chance to visit Southeast Asia before, so I’m really looking forward to experiencing what life in a multi-cultural Asian metropolis has to offer.

In conclusion, there are some exciting times on the horizon for me and my journey with Covestro, and this is thanks in no small part to the opportunities I’ve been given at the company to pursue my calling and indulge my passion over the past five years.