JET: Interview

Insight MTU: Özlem Evin, Trainee in Strategic Purchasing at MTU Maintenance Hannover

Back when she was studying for her bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Hannover, Özlem Evin attended a lecture on airline and airport management. Fascinated, Evin decided she wanted to pursue a career in the aviation industry. With the objective in mind, when she came to do her master’s degree in international management, she chose to attend lectures that would help her fulfill her ambition. Evin, now 26 and a Hannover girl by choice, pulled out all the stops in pursuit of her goal and even secured an internship opportunity along the way at Lufthansa Cargo in Atlanta, GA, which allowed her to build up some more experience in the industry. Back in Germany, Evin finished her master’s and went on to join MTU Maintenance Hannover as a trainee in strategic purchasing.

What brought you to MTU?

My internship at Lufthansa Technik provided me with in-depth experience of the workings of the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business at the end of my time as a student. I knew then that I wanted to start a career in that branch of the industry, where I could bring this experience to the table. What’s more, anything other than a trainee program was out of the question as far as I was concerned. As a graduate just starting out on your career path, a trainee program is the ideal solution, as it’s the best way to quickly and comprehensively get to grips with complex business processes. So the trainee position in strategic purchasing at MTU was perfect because it enabled me to apply all of my previous experience and to fulfill my career goals at the same time.

Why did you choose MTU?

I found MTU’s JET program particularly appealing. Unlike with some other trainee programs, I knew right from the outset which department I would end up working in after my training. Additionally, MTU ticked all my boxes in terms of what I was looking for as an entry-level graduate: outstanding development opportunities, high levels of technical expertise, an international set-up and the opportunity to make an active contribution to shaping the future of aviation.

What is it that fascinates you about engines and MTU’s products?

What never ceases to amaze me is the difference in the condition of an engine when it leaves MTU after a shop visit compared to when it comes in. With its expertise and knowhow, MTU is capable of restoring engines with several thousand flight cycles to a condition that gives them a longer in-service life than they had when they were new. That’s a pretty impressive feat of engineering, which, don’t forget, also helps save costs.

What was the application process like? How did you prepare for the assessment center?

About four weeks after submitting my application for the position advertised under the JET trainee program, I was informed that I had made it onto the shortlist. Two weeks after that, I attended a one-day assessment center. Thanks to my previous experience of other assessment centers, I knew how  important it was to be thoroughly prepared and so a few days before, for example, I put together a presentation about myself; you almost always have to give a personal presentation at an assessment center. I planned mine in both German and English so I could relax in the knowledge that I was fully prepared for either scenario. 

Because tasks at assessment centers are not necessarily always the same, personally I don’t find it particularly helpful to spend a lot of time grappling with IQ tests and trawling through websites offering tips and advice. I think it makes more sense to take some time to critically evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses and then develop a personal strategy as to how you can make best use of them. Prior to the assessment center it’s advisable to research the company you’re applying to thoroughly, making sure you have read up on its specific market structure, products and competitors. That, incidentally, holds true for any interview situation, not just for an assessment center. What is also important is to be able to identify with the company to some extent – that will give you a whole new sense of motivation at an assessment center.

What has been the most interesting part of your time as a JET trainee up to now?

I’m only a third of the way through the traineeship so far, so the major part of the program is still to come. As part of my training plan I’m due to start a placement at MTU Maintenance Canada in Vancouver in the fall, so I’m already excited about that. It will undoubtedly be a great educational experience and a chance for me to get some really interesting insights into the business. One of the most fascinating parts of the JET program so far has been collaborating on projects with staff in strategic purchasing, which is the department where I’ll be working on a permanent basis in the future. One of my tasks was to prepare a training session on quality notifications as a means of preventing process disruptions. I then got to present the concept to over a hundred employees.

I’ve been involved in lots of negotiations as well, negotiating being an important element of any job in purchasing. I also had the chance to lead a negotiation myself to win a potential new supplier for MTU. This task also entailed conducting a comprehensive supplier assessment. Compliance with technical specifications is of paramount importance in the aviation industry, so it is also necessary to know about repairs when you work in purchasing. For this reason I was given the opportunity to work with some bearings so I could learn more about typical damage patterns that occur on such components. In spring I joined the V2500 engineering department at the company’s Hannover location. It’s the second department I’m navigating my way through as part of my training plan and I’m delighted that I have the opportunity to continue developing my technical knowledge in this way.

And last but not least: Would you become a JET trainee again given the chance?

Absolutely. JET really is an excellent training program. Being a trainee allows you to build an active network with connections and contacts in a variety of different departments. It forms the ideal basis from which to learn how to quickly identify issues and devise appropriate solutions.