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International Career Fair 2022

„Getting to know each other in person plays a major role“

Felix Ewering & Rita Skinderyte-Tirella | ThyssenKrupp Bilstein, Essen site | approx. 1,600 employees in Germany and approx. 4,000 worldwide

At the International Career Fair 2022, Felix Ewering, a Master's graduate from the department of Mechanical Engineering at TU Dortmund University, won over thyssenkrupp Bilstein GmbH recruiter Rita Skinderyte-Tirella: A good six months later, he joined the globally positioned shock absorber manufacturer as a process engineer. In this interview, he tells us about his career path and what role internationality plays in his day-to-day work.

Portrait of Felix Ewering and Rita Skinderyte-Tirella © International Office​/​ TU Dortmund

Julia Pehle: Can you describe the path that led you to university and then to thyssenkrupp Bilstein via the International Career Fair?

Felix Ewering: I enrolled in the bachelor's degree program in mechanical engineering at TU Dortmund University in the 2016/2017 winter semester. Even before I started studying, I gained practical experience in this field through internships - simply to make sure that the subject was right for me. During my studies, it was then obvious to focus on production engineering, because I also worked in manufacturing companies during my internships and I really enjoyed optimizing machines. Five years later, I continued my master's degree in production engineering and wrote my master's thesis at WILO SE. This thesis was about designing my own machine using CAD, which was very mathematical in parts and prepared me well for my job at thyssenkrupp. It was extremely important for me to complete internships during my studies to keep checking whether I was on the right track. Over the course of a six-year degree, opinions can change, but in my case they tended to be confirmed.

How did you find out about the International Career Fair?

FE: I became aware of the fair in the traditional way through a circular e-mail. Thyssenkrupp already addressed me directly in the listing of participating companies. I had a great conversation with Rita Skinderyte-Tirella - if I hadn't been so enthusiastic, I wouldn't be sitting here today. We then first networked on LinkedIn and stayed in touch, and I also got involved with MINTalents@tk. That's where we met again and I was invited for an interview.

What exactly do you do in your job?

FE: I started directly as a process engineer on May 1 of this year. Our department is divided into different process steps: We make the basic structure of shock absorbers and then manufacture them with machines due to the high volumes. Therefore, the procurement of machines plays a central role in my job. We are in close contact with suppliers and machine manufacturers and accompany the entire ordering and manufacturing process. What I find most challenging are the negotiation meetings, in which we are actively involved and contribute our technical perspective. At this point, my mechanical engineering degree is very helpful.

Rita Skinderyte-Tirella: Internationality has a high priority at thyssenkrupp Bilstein. We are a globally active company in the automotive sector and produce shock absorbers. Our plants are located in Mexico, China, Romania, the USA and Germany. We work under high innovation pressure and focus on quality rather than quantity.

Is there anything you find particularly exciting?

FE: I particularly like the fact that things can be very dynamic in terms of travel: just a few days after I started my job, I went straight to Romania and then to Mexico for a month. That was definitely a jump into the deep end! The machines we take care of are mainly located in Mexico. Through direct contact with the colleagues on site, I learned a lot about cultural differences in communication and working methods. This helps you to develop and bond with your colleagues. In general, I was very well accepted into the team.

How important is participation in career fairs, such as ours?

RST: Career fairs offer us a unique opportunity to present ourselves as a potential employer and, at the same time, to enter into dialog with aspiring professionals. At the International Career Fair, we actually had job offers that were more suited to professionally experienced candidates - but Felix was able to convince us in the interview. That's why it's always worthwhile for students and graduates to be there, because getting to know each other in person often plays a big role.

What advice would you give students on how to prepare for the start of their careers?

FE: When starting out in professional life, it is advantageous to be able to draw not only on the knowledge gained from your studies, but also from internships. I also found it helpful to learn from bad experiences! One of my internships was definitely too theoretical, but I was able to take that experience into the next internship and ultimately into my first job. I would advise current students to think about where they want to go professionally early on and to consistently follow that path. 

JP: Thank you very much for the interview!


The next International Career Fair will take place on October 25, 2023 at TU Dortmund University’s International Meeting Center.