Finance & Controlling Interview with Michael Wahl

What job entry possibilities does Daimler offer for finance & controlling specialists? And what tips could one give to students interested in Daimler’s international trainee program? We spoke about these and other questions with the trainee Michael Wahl, who is doing his trainee program in the Finance & Controlling department for Daimler Trucks.

Hello Mr. Wahl, please introduce yourself briefly to the readers.

My name is Michael Wahl and I have a master in business administration with majors in company valuation and controlling. I have started as a trainee at Daimler AG in February 2014. My target area was Finance & Controlling Daimler Trucks Divisional Growth Projects at the corporate headquarters in Untertürkheim. During the 17 months, I have worked in my target area as well as in Trucks Project Management, Mercedes-Benz Cars Strategy Cooperations and Revenue Controlling Trucks in Brazil.

Why did you decide for Daimler as employer and for the trainee program?

I have been interested in cars and technology since I was a child. The first stock shares I ever bought were from Daimler Benz AG – so that I experienced the merger with Chrysler as a shareholder. Not least, the geographical proximity of my home town to Daimler surely influenced my choice. Essential, however, was the advertised trainee position, which fitted in perfectly with my study major and main interests and is therefore a real dream position for me.

What points of interest can you tell our readers about work life in Brazil and at Daimler in Brazil?

Overall, the work atmosphere in the Finance & Controlling unit in Brazil was very pleasant and direct - basically, pretty much the same as in Stuttgart. I was working in the central result controlling department for Trucks in Brazil. In particular, the team spirit with which the Brazilian colleagues master every market situation was a great experience for me.

What did you learn during our foreign assignments and what challenges did you encounter?

The most important “take-away” from my foreign assignment is the knowledge about how the processes and time lines are at Daimler in Brazil. At the same time it was a challenge to reconcile these with the established ideas and specifications of the headquarters in Germany. In addition, I was able to see what great effort frequently goes into answering small queries from the headquarters. The subject of time management was a point that made some cultural difference evident to me. My Brazilian colleagues and friends had a perception of time that was different from mine and I had to get used to and adjust to that.

What tips would you give students who would like to get a job at Daimler after graduation?

One could repeat here all the well-known personal attributes expected of a trainee and all the information about Assessment Centers one can find in the prevalent literature and the relevant internet pages. And yes, a great number of applicants compete for each position. However, since the personalities and curriculum vitae of the colleagues - with excellent specialist skills - are so diverse and different, I can only offer one advice: Give it a try and apply!

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