Top MBA Jobs: Volkswagen Product Owner
Interview with Sandeep Patil, HHL alumni and Product Owner at Volkswagen
This article was first published on Business Because and written by Shannon Cook
Sandeep Patil has always been passionate about the automotive industry. Following an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, he’s worked across mechanical design, coding, and software development, becoming well versed in the technical aspects of the automotive sector.
But Sandeep wanted to expand his understanding of the industry beyond the technical aspects. He wanted to understand business.
He decided to study an MBA and says the program at HHL was a no-brainer. Germany is positioned as the number one car manufacturer in Europe and one of the largest automotive markets globally, so Sandeep knew he was in a good place to accelerate his career and land one of the top MBA jobs available in the sector.
He adds that HHL’s links with entrepreneurship and innovation also persuaded him to pursue the MBA there.
Since graduating from the HHL MBA, he’s landed a role as a product owner at leading automobile manufacturer Volkswagen, in Germany. In his Volkswagen job, he’s responsible for the mobile application WeConnectGo, where he works alongside the development team to build the product’s vision.
“WeConnectGo helps customers to connect with their Volkswagen car and take advantage of features which are developed and released by my team,” he explains.
BusinessBecause caught up with Sandeep to find out more about what it’s like to work at Volkswagen, and what qualities MBAs need to launch a career at the company.
Top MBA Jobs: Volkswagen
1. Why did you want to work for Volkswagen?
Volkswagen for me represented the automotive company that is transforming to become the most technologically advanced automotive software firm. This transformation is currently attracting a lot of talent from the market, and I was one of the aspirants in which Volkswagen saw potential.
I believe that Volkswagen is working to bring recent technologies to the car which helps customers to enjoy their driving experience. I wanted to contribute my skillset to this journey.
2. How did the MBA job come about?
I’ve always been looking out for opportunities in the automotive industry. I saw the job posting on the Volkswagen careers portal. After reading the job profile, I felt that it was a good match with my skills and my ambitions. I then simply applied for the job on the VW careers portal.
I believe without my MBA it would have been difficult for me to stand out among all other applicants. The HHL MBA gave me confidence that I would be able to perform well in the role at Volkswagen and this definitely shone through during my interview.
3. What was the application process like for the Volkswagen job?
The interview process at Volkswagen assessed my interpersonal, technical, and communication skills. The interview process for me was one day with multiple interviews. I had three levels of interview and the format was focused on problem solving and presentation. The personal interviewer assessed my communication skills and what I learned from my previous jobs. The group discussion helped to assess my leadership capabilities.
One thing to say is that I was sure that the panel looked into each and every word of my resume and cover letter!
4. What does Volkswagen look for in its job applicants?
I learned from my interview with Volkswagen that the panel was looking for my communication skills, leadership qualities, and technical skills to perform the tasks.
The foremost skills needed were technical skills and the ability to learn new technology and implement this in a project/car. They also considered how well I was able to work with my teammates and guide them to bring the technology to the market in Volkswagen products.
Last but not least, they assessed how my communication skills will help me in stakeholder communication.
The MBA touched on each and almost every aspect of these major three skills. The HHL MBA helped me to understand the ways of communication, stakeholder management, and how to align business objectives with product vision.
5. Tell us one thing about working at Volkswagen that most people wouldn’t know?
The most surprising thing for me was the openness of my colleagues in accepting failures and how they see them as learnings. The Volkswagen team understand that it’s okay to make mistakes because it provides precious learnings. The key is to use these learnings and make the next project better.
1. Describe the culture at Volkswagen in three words.
Integrous, innovative, and agile.
2. What’s the coolest thing about your job?
The possibility to help more than one million customers connect with their cars and realize that it’s about more than just mobility.
3. What are the benefits of your job?
The opportunity to stay connected with the latest technology available.
4. What position do you want to be in 10 years’ time?
I’m looking to be in a leadership role where my experience will guide firms in technology management.