I hope you are well in this beautiful fall that we are having. I am doing fine but I have been really busy with school, which has made this post a few weeks over due. Here it is at last and this time I will talk about the experiences I had at our last SSI-weekend. I have lots of pictures to share with you as well. In the end I wrap it up with a more personal reflection.
This SSI-weekend was the third one for us and it took place in late September at Scania R&D in Södertälje. It lasted as customary from Friday to Saturday and all expenses are paid for by Scania. This includes roundtrip train fare to Södertälje, all activities, meals and the hotel stay. This time the main focus was on the master’s thesis work that is a part of the Scania Student Intro program.
Before I get on with telling you about what we did during the weekend, let me first give you some information about how the selection of master’s thesis topic works for us SSI-students.
So, the deal is that we are guaranteed to get to do our master’s thesis work at Scania in Södertälje. As you can imagine, it is a nice feeling to have that taken care of as you are enrolled in the SSI-program already in January of your fourth university year. However, we still have to find a suitable topic ourselves and that is why this third SSI-weekend focuses on just that.
Many of us SSI-students have been active already during our summer jobs at Scania this summer, looking around to see what jobs that needed to be done at different departments and see if we could find a master’s thesis topic that way. In my case, I did not succeed in finding one directly but the search itself gave me a broad insight in the operations of Scania. This knowledge helped me assess all the proposed master’s thesis topics that are published on Scania’s website. There are very many to choose from and eventually I found one that was spot on for me and my writing partner. So we simply applied to that one.
Yes, I said applied because even if we are guaranteed to do our master’s thesis work here at Scania, the manager of the particular department that is offering the master’s thesis work must be given a say in whom they think is most suitable to do it. This is the reason why also we SSI-students need to apply to the master’s thesis work of our choice.
Now, here is what went on during the SSI-weekend.
In my opinion, this was one of the best and most joyful weekends so far. It was really nice to see everyone again. I think the good atmosphere was due to us being more familiar and comfortable together as a group. Since it was our third SSI-weekend we knew what to expect and I felt nothing but anticipation and excitement as I went to bed the night before. Also, Scania R&D is known turf for us now after spending the whole summer there, so we felt right at home.
I arrived there extra early on Friday morning to be able to pay a visit to the group where I did my summer job, i.e. the department that develops bus chassis and frames. It was a fond reunion and I was very excited to see the result from my work during the summer job, and that it was being put to good use.
Here are a whole bunch of pictures that will tell the story about what we did during the SSI-weekend.
We were given an inspiring lecture about what to expect from the master’s thesis work. The speaker had done her master’s thesis work here at Scania herself and was now employed. She emphasized that Scania often make use of the results from thesis works. In her case, some of the results she came up with are now implemented in the very strategies of Scania – impressive!
Then it was time to mingle with managers and mentors who were there to help us find suitable thesis topics. A few SSI-students had already been successful in finding one during their summer job. For the rest of us, they had printed out all available master’s thesis topics from the Scania website. If you are interested, you can check them out here.
Mingle, mingle. 🙂
In the afternoon we did some case-activities. My group got the challenging task to plan and sequence the testing and verification of a product in development. It was surprisingly difficult I must say. We found it hard to plan because many steps were dependent of each other and some had time delays e.g. when ordering materials or prototypes. This case was quite an eye-opener for us.
Here we are finished with the more serious activities of the day and are now awaiting the start of the secret activity for the evening.
It turned out that we were going to become chefs for an evening. We gathered in the main cafeteria and were greeted by a team of real chefs who would be our coaches. We were divided into groups and would prepare one dish each of the three course meal that would become our dinner.
Jonas and Tomas got the not-so-overwhelming challenge to cook pre-peeled potatoes.
Jonas, Sofia and Ann were in charge of the sauce.
Martin and Sebastian got to do the starter soup, which turned out very tasty I might add.
Oscar’s group took care of the main course that was salmon.
I was in the same group as Anna and we had fun making the dessert – maybe too much fun. 🙂
To be honest, I mostly ran around and took pictures for the blog. However, I helped a lot with the quality control. 😉
The well-disciplined cake team in front of its creations. From left: Sebastian, Petter, Hannes, Robert, Marcus, Anna and Viktor.
Me and Marcus sugarcoating the goods.
I love the ergonomic work posture held by Anna and Sebastian.
Hannes and Viktor found time for a coffee break.
Jonas, Sofia and Ann had some second thoughts about the sauce.
Martin engaging the soup with a monstrous hand blender.
I think it was a super fun and social activity. The final result turned out surprisingly good as well. All three dishes were delicious.
One of my favorite things about the SSI-weekends is that we get to stay at a hotel and sleep in hotel beds. I love it!
During day two we made a visit to the production facilities where they assemble buses and trucks, right next to Scania R&D. There we were taught how Scania works with digital test assembly. First the production staff gave us a presentation about it and then we made a case-activity. The point is basically to perform trial assemblies of a product in a computerized 3D-environment to see that everything fits and that there are no collisions during assembly. The obvious benefit is that you would much rather find out in advance that a certain product configuration is not possible to assemble, rather than be made painfully aware of it as the assembly line is forced to a costly stop. This method is part of what I am studying at the university so I enjoyed the visit very much.
Then we went back up on the “mountain” to R&D where we got to learn more about how Scania test their vehicles in development. There is actually a giant test track on-site, so the developers can easily run the tests they need.
After the lecture we got to go in a bus running alongside a truck on the test track. This test run was designed for fatigue testing so the truck would bump and shake significantly. As we went in the bus just next to the truck, we had front row seats to observe it live up close – cool!
Another cool thing was that we got to climb a very steep test track by foot. This slope is designed to test military vehicles only and I can see why.
It was so steep you had to mind your step and focus in order not to slip. If you would trip and fall, you would probably not stop until you reached the bottom of the hill.
In the afternoon we usually end with an evaluation of the SSI-weekend in group. Then it is good bye around 16.00. I think it is quite convenient that the SSI-weekends only last from Friday to Saturday because you are very tired from all the impressions from just those two days. Besides, it is nice that you still have Sunday to do other stuff at home if you want to.
Now, please let me end on a more reflective note:
One of the SSI-coordinators told us that she has enjoyed watching us develop and grow during the course of the SSI-program. I had not thought about it much before but now when I come to think of it, it is true that I have developed during my time here. Not only have I grown intellectually by seeing and learning a whole lot about a major industrial company like Scania. I have indeed also matured as a person from the many social experiences that I have gained, e.g. partaking in the meetings and daily work of the group of design engineers with whom I did my summer job. Because personal growth is at the core of what I wish to get out of the SSI-program, I am very pleased and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it. I also sincerely recommend you to apply if you think this program would interest you. Admission is open November 3 – December 4, 2014.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.