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Career start with trainee program

16 months, four countries: Taotao on her experience as a Schunk Global Graduate

With a bachelor's degree in Metallic Material Engineering in her pocket, Taotao (2. from left) came to Germany in 2014 to do her master's degree in Advanced Materials and Processes. In this interview, the young Chinese woman reveals why she subsequently chose the Schunk Global Graduate Program and where she stands today.

Taotao, why a trainee program and not direct entry?

Taotao Yu: I already knew during my studies that a trainee program would be the ideal career entry for me. As a trainee, you work in different areas and are given a wide range of project tasks. This gives you the chance to learn a lot of new things in a short time. At the same time, you can further explore your own interests and abilities.

I want to become a Schunk Global Graduate
Many employers now offer trainee programs. What particularly attracted you to the Schunk Global Graduate Program?

Taotao Yu: Schunk is a big player in the materials sector. In addition, the Schunk Group is represented in 29 countries and is active in even more interesting high-tech markets. As a materials scientist, I find this constellation very exciting.

What do you think is special about the trainee program at Schunk?

Taotao Yu: I think the special thing about the Schunk Global Graduate Program is

  1. the international orientation of the program,
  2. the variety of tasks and
  3. the direct contact with top management.


To be more precise, I worked in four different countries in America, Europe and Asia during the 16-month trainee program. In this way, I was able to get to know very different areas and markets that had to do not only with materials, but also with mechanical engineering. And as far as top management is concerned, the CEO of the Schunk Group was not only involved in the selection process for the program, but was also present with other managers at every final presentation.

"The Global Graduate Program was a key for me,
  • a key which opened doors to different technologies and industries,
  • a key to a broad range of knowledge and skills,
  • a key to a group-wide Schunk network;
  • a key that we will continue to carry with us even after the program ends."
Taotao, Schunk Global Graduate


You just mentioned the international and versatile orientation of the program. In which countries and areas were you assigned?

Taotao Yu: My first assignment was in Germany, where I had the task of doing a market research for multi-component materials in the sintered metals sector.

Then I went to China, where I first came into contact with the topic of environmental simulation and mechanical engineering in the Schunk Group at a subsidiary of Weiss Technik.

Taotao-ChinaThe company develops environmental simulation systems in which, among other things, components for aviation are put through their paces. My job was to put together a sales package for these systems in marketing.

After three months, my next assignment was in Europe, more precisely in the Netherlands. Here, the specialists at Schunk Xycarb Technology develop solutions for the semiconductor industry. I worked in research and development on patent research for a material.Taotao Niederlande

Then I was back to Germany for three months. Here, the challenge was to develop an "Equipment as a Service (EaaS)" business model for Weiss Technik in Schunk's Digital Lab.

My last assignment finally took me to the USA and the world of ultrasonic metal welding systems. There, I first worked in sales on the standardization of offers. Then, in research and development, the challenge was to optimize the wear resistance of ultrasonic metal welding systems.

To whom would you recommend the trainee program?

Taotao Yu: In my view, the program is a very good career start for graduates who have already gained international experience during their studies or in internships, who are interested in new challenges, learn quickly and can adapt to new circumstances.

You have now completed the program. Looking back, what did the trainee program bring you?

Taotao Yu: In addition to the wide-ranging professional and personal experience I gained during my assignments, the accompanying business and project management training courses were particularly useful. Topics such as the management framework and business communication are very practical and can always be applied to projects later on.


What was the biggest challenge for you?

Taotao Yu: I had to understand the tasks and the business quickly and deliver the result within three months. That was especially challenging in areas I wasn't familiar with before.

→ We have compiled all important information about the Global Graduate Program for you on our career page.

But you overcame the challenge and successfully completed the Global Graduate Program 2019. What was the next step for you after that?

Taotao Yu: Successful completion of the trainee program is linked to a permanent position within the Schunk Group. I initially worked for one and a half years in the Digital Lab as an Innovation Manager and took care of digitization projects. I currently work in Corporate Marketing as a Digital Sales Manager and am responsible for lead management and the web store.

Do you have any advice for future applicants?

Taotao Yu: I recommend that future applicants go to the Schunk website in advance to learn about the wide range of Schunk technologies and products in order to get a basic understanding of the Schunk business.

→ Does the Schunk Global Graduate Program sound like an interesting prospect for you? Then do apply - we're looking forward to you!

Alexandra Elstner
Manager Global HR
+49 641 608-1215

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