SSI weekend number four

SSI weekend number four

Hello dear reader,

The day has come when I write about our fourth and final Scania Student Intro weekend. This means that I have yet experienced all of what the SSI program has to offer except for one thing – the master’s thesis, which I will write together with a friend, starting in January.

The focus during this SSI weekend was on the future. This feels natural and comes in handy as it is time for us SSI students to think about “the next step” – as it is for all students in their final year of studying. One major benefit with being enrolled in Scania Student Intro then is that you are given great opportunities to investigate what area of work you might be interested in. You get to meet a lot of Scania employees and hear about what they do, not just during this final weekend but throughout the whole SSI program, especially during the summer job.

Meet and mingle with representatives from different Scania departments.

Meet and mingle with representatives from different Scania departments.

This weekend we got to meet and question some interesting people working at different departments at Scania, e.g. purchasing, marketing and Scania IT. This was great because I did not know much about what they do and now I got the opportunity to ask them.

The guy from purchasing gave an amusing explanation of what his job was like. He described the purchasing process as similar to what you might engage in yourself when you set out to buy something. Maybe you first read some reviews of different brands, then compare prices between different stores online and finally discuss your findings with a friend before going through with the deal. At the purchasing department, he explained, his job actually includes all these activities. The difference, however, is that when preparing a deal for Scania, the scouting process can go on for six months. Also, it includes substantial negotiations with both the “stores” (different suppliers) and his “friend” (in this case a screening board who must approve the deal). It seems to me that there is a bit more work to it than one might assume at first, and that you probably ought to enjoy wheeling and dealing if you are going to work at the purchasing department.

Kent Conradson, Executive Vice President, Head of Human Resources.

Kent Conradson, Executive Vice President, Head of Human Resources.

Prior to the employee mingle we were greeted by the Executive Vice President, Head of Human Resources, Kent Conradson himself. This was a real treat. Not only had he a noticeably sharp sense for rhetoric, which kept us all spellbound during his speech, but he had also, quite surprisingly, read my blog! He humored us by referring to it during his address, and even called me by my name, to my big surprise.

I confess! Kent’s visit rendered me quite star struck – and proud, of course. I never anticipated that a member of the executive board would read my blog, nevertheless address me in person by my name just like that. I think his visit was a good example of Scania having a relaxed and noticeably flat corporate hierarchy.

Kent Conradson and a group of spellbound SSI  students.

Kent Conradson and a group of spell bound SSI students.

After lunch we did a light version of a personality assessment activity called IDI (Interpersonal Dynamics Inventory). I love doing these types of personality tests because I always find it so stimulating to see the result. It nourishes my contemplation of who I am, and on life in general. Also, I find that it helps to know a little about various personality theories when dealing with group dynamics.

Personality testing according to IDI (Interpersonal Dynamics Inventory).

Personality testing according to IDI (Interpersonal Dynamics Inventory).

The last “serious” activity for the day was a bus-case held by some colleagues from my summer job group (bus chassis and frames at R&D). The task was to design a side member capable of supporting a certain load distribution. During this case, the SSI students who are more theoretically oriented could shine. I am glad I got to be in the same group as Magnus who is really interested in this area. He even works part time as a student lecturer in strength of materials.

Magnus and Viktor doing  a recap of the basics in strength of materials.

Magnus and Viktor doing a recap of the basics in strength of materials.

Our design if the side member was more innovative than realistic.

We designed a carbon fiber reinforced side member that was more innovative than realistic…

Day two offered more cases and presentations. One was about various applications of Scania vehicles, e.g. long haulage, distribution or construction. We also got to meet a Ph.D. who showed us his work with platooning, i.e. trucks who automatically form a train with one another while driving in order to reduce the aerodynamic drag, thus also the fuel consumption. He was enthusiastic about how he first, as an industrial Ph.D. student for Scania, had got to do research on the topic and now got to continue his work by using his research results as a base for developing real products.

Then it was time to say good bye to the SSI weekends and the SSI gang for now. We will of course meet again this spring as we write our master’s thesis, but this was the last real SSI activity before the diploma celebration next summer.

"Happy-tired" SSI students waiting for the train.

“Happy-tired” SSI students waiting for the train.

Since my time in the SSI program is almost through, this also means that another group of SSI students are soon to be enrolled in the program. As a matter of fact, the application to Scania Student Intro 2015 is open right now, but only until December 4 so do not wait if you are interested. However, please note that to apply to this program you need to understand the Swedish language. As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I wish you the best of luck!

Take care!

All the best,
Petter Jakobsson

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