“I’m studying future”: A work-study program focusing on digitalization

I have to admit that until just a few years ago, I was clueless when it came to future-oriented topics such as Industry 4.0 and digitalization. As a pupil at a secondary school, I would never have imagined that these topics would one day be the focus of my studies. I only knew that I wanted to study in a field that would shape the future. That’s why I applied to this program at Daimler. Eventually my phone rang.

“Congratulations, Mr. Acat. You’ve got the job.”

So there I am, fresh out of secondary school, a real greenhorn. I could hardly believe that now I’d be studying at Daimler, and I didn’t really know what to expect. Especially because my course of study, Business Management/Industry 4.0 (renamed Business Management/Digital Business Management, starting in 2018) was completely new. It was a case of traditional business management studies meeting big data.

Strangers become coworkers and friends

In order to get off to a good start, the course began with an introductory week for us students. During this week we were taken on tours of all the units, from purchasing to sales and IT. The main aim was to show us how Daimler works. This was followed by team-building exercises that very quickly transformed us from strangers to friends and coworkers. Now we were finally ready to begin our studies.

Introductory week, debating

The work-study program: Like the first day of school

On the first day of my studies, as I commuted from my home town of Karlsruhe to Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University in Stuttgart, I almost felt the way I did on the first day of school. Would I get along with my fellow students? After all, there are only 25 of us in each class. That intensifies the learning effect, because the instructor can address the individual problems of each student. However, that also makes it more difficult for us to avoid one another.

Team-building role play at the Lämmerbuckel learning center

Another question that preoccupied me before my studies began was how the course would be structured. Today, one year later, I can say that we are being taught an extensive body of knowledge in the area of business management. In parallel, we’re learning about future-oriented topics such as digitalization, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT). These topics will be part of my life not only during my studies but also in my working life, because nowadays nothing works without digitalization.

What’s it like to study at this university? The fact that we’re divided up into smaller groups, and that we are learning with a more specific purpose, reminds me a bit of my schooldays. In other words, I’m used to it. And that’s what has calmed my fears.

Work-study students: We’re part of a team

What I like best about my work-study program is the fact that we students are regarded as team members during our respective internships (which are also known as practical assignments) at the specialist units. We are involved in the units’ daily activities, or we work on specific individual projects. That way, as young coworkers we get the opportunity to pitch in at the company.

And that’s exactly what I need.

An office at the FC think! tank — my current department

A semester abroad

For me, one of the absolute highlights of the program was my semester abroad in the metropolis of Barcelona. I had never before been on my own or lived away from home for a longer period of time, so I looked forward to exciting four months abroad.

It was incredibly interesting to see how studying in Spain is organized, compared to studying in Germany. In Germany everything is very structured, and people set a lot of store by economic success. In Spain, the focus is on people.

I learned quite a lot, and during the four months away from home I found a second home town — the metropolis of Barcelona.

Wanderlust? Go abroad again!

By now I’ve completed almost half of the program, but I’m not bored at all. I’ve already had the opportunity to study abroad for four months, and I’ll be able to study abroad for three more months. Where I will go to? I don’t know yet. Probably to North America — Canada or the USA. My practical assignments abroad have to be in a country where my company operates. As a student at Daimler, of course I have a broad range of choices.

An insight into the product portfolio

For me, the most important differences between Daimler and other companies are the incredible size of this company, combined with the opportunities to study and work abroad.


In conclusion, I can say that the work-study program at Daimler is perfect for me. The mix of theory and practice, the financial independence, and the knowledge that I’ll have a steady job after I’ve completed my studies — all of these factors make this work-study program unique, as far as I’m concerned.

Everyone ultimately has to decide for himself how to shape his future. In the words of Albert Einstein,

I’m more interested in the future than in the past, because the future is where I intend to live.

And I think my future is in good hands at Daimler.

Get to know the work-study program at Daimler and meet us at one of these events:
February 2+3, 2018       The Einstieg education fair, Cologne
May 3+4, 2018                Vocatium fair, Munich
June 13+14, 2018            Vocatium fair, Berlin
June 28+29, 2018          Vocatium fair, Stuttgart

More information: https://www.daimler.com/career/pupils/dual-study/

Ferhat Acat is participating in the work-study program at Daimler in Stuttgart. He is in his second year of studying Business Management/Industry 4.0 (renamed Business Management/Digital Business Management, starting in 2018) He is currently doing his third practical assignment at Finance & Controlling in the “FC think! tank.”