When Markus Nitsche (Germany) graduated with a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering he knew he wanted to see more of the world. “I felt that my course hadn’t given me any international experience, which is why I was so keen to be on the GEA Graduate Program.”

Bingo!

“While I was still studying I started actively looking for a Graduate Program,” says Markus. “The course was great, but I knew that this was only the beginning and that I still needed a lot more personal development. When I came across GEA online and saw that they were offering this kind of program, I was really interested. I’d never heard of the company before, because as a consumer you never have any direct contact. But right away I was impressed with their huge portfolio, impressive statistics and especially their global activities. That’s exactly what I was looking for: a way to further develop myself and find out what my strengths are, while at the same time gain some international perspective. I love traveling and am always eager to learn. Yes, the fact that with GEA I would get the opportunity to go to places like the United States, Canada and Switzerland and have some unique experiences persuaded me to give it a try. The initial interview went well and in February 2015 the big day dawned: that was the start of an exciting 18-month period.”

I’d never heard of the company before, because as a consumer you never have any direct contact. But right away I was impressed with their huge portfolio, impressive statistics and especially their global activities.

Mega, huge, big

“During the last part of the program, I spent two months in the US. That was a really special experience. My manager over there had just been put in charge of an extended product portfolio and was curious to visit customers within the applications that were new to him. He took me under his wing. I remember we went to Canada together and visited some dairy farms that were like nothing you’d ever see in Europe. Mega-sized farms with huge barns and big milking machines. I’ll never forget it. Another thing I really liked was that there were other graduates already in the program. As it happens, I was the last one in so I was able to ask the others questions and picked up some good tips from them. We’ve kept in touch and still meet up regularly: we often have lunch together in the works canteen or at the market in Oelde and sometimes go to the Christmas market together. It’s great to see that most of them have stayed at GEA and have found their own niche.”

Look, you can sit back and soak everything up or you can take the initiative, be open to opportunities and grab them with both hands.

Not a one-way street

“They were intense and exciting times. I got to know a whole bunch of people and had the chance to find out more about lots of GEA departments and products. I was always struck by how enthusiastic everyone was about ‘their’ product group, but at the same time I was surprised that they took the time to introduce me to their world. The first few months of the Graduate Program were mapped out with almost military precision; the GEA Learning Center sorted out all the practical details and I had a terrific mentor. But I did feel that there was scope for me to take the driving seat. Look, you can sit back and soak everything up or you can take the initiative, be open to opportunities and grab them with both hands. And I went wholeheartedly for the second option. I wanted to make the most of it and get as much experience under my belt as possible so that I could work out where my future lay. Would it be in sales or engineering, or perhaps service? I discovered that service gave me the greatest satisfaction. Every day is different and there’s huge potential for helping customers. You also develop really strong relationships: you’re there when they start out, but you stay with them, helping them, looking for ways to help them move forward and growing with them. After my Graduate Program I was able to stay on and am now Service Product Manager – and I’m really happy about that. They saw that I have the right spirit and now I’m part of the GEA world. It’s not a one-way street and I love it.”