CEMS Career Forum connections: Daimler, shaping the future of the automotive industry

CEMS Career Forum connections: Daimler, shaping the future of the automotive industry perrinna Mon, 09/13/2021 - 16:20 CEMS alumni Lennart Funke and Julia Kessen completed their Master in 2019 and joined Daimler’s leadership program “INspire – the Leaders’ Lab”. They were able to gain broad experiences in leadership in the automotive industry and are about to graduate from the 24-month program. As CEMS alumni, they reflect on their journey after graduation and their role in shaping the future of the automotive industry. News

Our way into the program

Julia and I have both studied at the University of Cologne. While our paths have differed significantly, we both joined Daimler. Julia has a strong record in e-Commerce and marketing in fast moving consumer goods, while I have come from a consulting background. In the end, both of us have been looking for an international experience with a steep learning curve in leadership among inspiring peers. We have found these within “INspire – The Leaders’ Lab:” Daimler’s 24-month rotational global leadership development program. It aims at qualified graduates and young professionals like CEMS students with an excellent academic record of accomplishments and exceptional leadership potential. During the program, we have completed leadership-focused projects of 3-6 months length in different functions, business units, and countries of our choice. Together with our peers, we have focused on our personal development during 6 weeks of executive education. During the program, middle and senior management has been evaluating us continuously and we have had strong top management exposure.

Our leadership experience during the program

I, Lennart, did not have a clear target area in mind during my program. Thus, I tried to see as many different areas as possible: I went from a strategic project in passenger car production to an emergency task force project. During this project, I had the chance to present to our fellow CEMSie and Daimler CEO Ola Källenius. In my next project, I joined our Formula 1 team in the UK. Afterwards, I did a digital transformation project at Daimler Truck AG and will finish the program with a project as an interim Digital Product Manager in Lisbon.

In my first project I, Julia, left my comfort zone of marketing and sales to join a HR data analytics swarm. Then I moved to the Digital House at Mercedes Benz, where all digital sales topics are developed. I established a scalable performance management framework for our online shop together with colleagues in South Africa and Australia. Beginning of 2021, I went to Berlin as a product manager for our battery electric vehicles. Currently I am doing an e-Commerce project in the aftersales area of Mercedes Benz.

Our journey after the program

Throughout the program, we were able to meet many inspiring people on all  management levels. This helped to gain a comprehensive understanding of the company. We were able to steer project teams and topics in all our assignments and gain first leadership experiences. For sure, this was not always easy, but we came a long way and learned a lot. With all the hands-on leadership experience we gained, we are now equipped to take a leadership role as team leads at Daimler. With our broad picture of the company, we want to support shaping the future of the automotive industry in the long term. Come and join us on our mission! The restart recruiting for INspire - The Leaders´ Lab Program will be in the first half of 2022 – before that come meet us at the CEMS Career Forum!

Stay tuned and ambitious.

Julia Kessen Julia Kessen
Lennart Lennart Funke

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