From Audi Intern to Firm President

Daniel Weisland was an industrial engineering and administration pupil from Germany, studying the automotive enterprise in 1998 as an apprentice at Audi of America in Michigan, whereas struggling to know his English-speaking host household and colleagues.

In 2015, he turned president of Audi Canada and in the present day leads Audi of America, headquartered in Herndon, Va. in, as its President. Whereas it could have been fast, Weisland’s profession development from intern to C-suite didn’t observe a linear path.

Weisland was an apprentice on the German Federal Railways in Munich earlier than the job he needed wouldn’t result in the life he needed to construct. He resigned and returned to highschool to earn his highschool diploma and attended the Hochschule München College of Utilized Sciences in Munich.

In school, he interned at Utenhenge (now Carriega), Volkswagen South Africa in South Africa, and at Audi within the US—then headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., earlier than graduating in 1999.

SHRM On-line spoke with Weisland in regards to the function of her internship in making ready her for a worldwide profession, which incorporates:

  • Shifting via annual positions from 1999 to 2005 as a full-time worker at Audi AG, the corporate’s luxurious sedan product. He served as Product Supervisor, Distribution Supervisor for Northern Europe, Vendor Community Improvement for Northern Europe, and Gross sales Supervisor for Eire. Portugal.
  • Earned a grasp’s diploma in enterprise administration from Hochschule München College in 2005.
  • From April 2005 to August 2015 Audi AG progressed via different areas: Gross sales Director and Deputy Managing Director for Audi Volkswagen Center East, Assistant to the Board of Administration Member for Advertising and marketing and Gross sales, and Area Supervisor for Southern Europe.
  • Completion of the Superior Administration Program on the IESE Enterprise College of the College of Navarra-College of Navarra in Barcelona, ​​Spain in 2013.
  • Served as President of Audi Canada in Ajax, Canada from August 2015 to January 2018.
  • Served as President and CEO of Volkswagen Group Canada at Ajax from December 2017 to September 2019. Volkswagen is the father or mother firm of Audi.
  • Since September 2019, Herndon, Va. Serves because the President of Audi of America at its present headquarters within the U.S.

The next responses have been edited for size and readability.

SHRM On-line, What sort of studying experiences did you could have as an apprentice within the automotive trade?

wooIceland, I labored within the Division of Industrial Engineering. I primarily did workplace work, with one exception: in South Africa, many instances when folks bought paid, they did not come for 2 or three days. [after], All of the white-collar employees needed to go to the meeting line to dismantle these vehicles [in their absence], In a typical day, they get rid of 100 vehicles; We completed 10 vehicles.

When the manufacturing facility meeting line was within the midst of preparations for the launch of the brand new mannequin, the employees went on strike for a number of days. It was vital to wash the meeting line and dismantle the older fashions first. Because the employees went on strike, we—company workers—had to assist gather the remainder of the previous fashions.

It is a tradition I’ve by no means seen earlier than, and one thing you’ll want to study. The takeaway: Be prepared for brand new challenges and handle it. There isn’t a e book you could learn to organize you for all conditions in life, on the job or outdoors the job.

SHRM On-line
, What recommendation are you able to give to college students for taking advantage of their internship?

weisland, There isn’t a linear strategy of profession. Be open, reap the benefits of alternatives as they arrive. Work arduous and be tireless. Day by day, attempt to do your finest. Be ready to step outdoors your consolation zone; I bear in mind [my] Made errors and realized rather a lot from it.

As a pupil, I used to be at all times enthusiastic about vehicles. I needed to know the enterprise behind it. I attempted to step within the door; This was one of many aims of my internship. That is the place my ardour for the automotive trade began. As an Audi intern, I had a small carpool that I used to be managing for the management crew. I had the chance to drive these vehicles via the carwash and replenish the gasoline tank. Even in the present day I’m keen on vehicles.

SHRM On-line, How has mentorship impacted your profession journey from intern to president?

weisland, Once I was an intern my mentor was my boss. I’m nonetheless in contact with him; he nonetheless lives in michigan [where Weissland interned], he needed to rent me [the end of my internship]However as a pupil and a German citizen within the US, getting a inexperienced card or visa was not that simple on the time.

It is vital for a mentor to encourage you to step outdoors of your consolation zone. one in every of my mentors [later in my career] Advised me, “If you wish to be a grasp it’s a must to study to play all of the keys on the piano.”

[During my U.S. internship,] A employee who began three or 4 weeks after me helped me rather a lot. I bought some recommendation on how issues work. It’s worthwhile to belief the crew, discover somebody that will help you, coach you and develop inside the group.

SHRM On-line, You could have constructed a profession spanning 24 years working for Audi. As of late it’s extra widespread for folks to maneuver round. What recommendation are you able to give to younger folks seeking to develop a profession in a single firm or trade?

weisland, It’s about loyalty. Why ought to I modify employers till I noticed a profession path that I might develop and revel in working there? Particularly with worldwide firms, you could have numerous alternatives. I did not see any motive to change firms as a result of I might make a number of thousand {dollars} someplace else. I imagine within the firm, I imagine within the values ​​of the corporate, and [I created] A path for me to develop and develop.

My recommendation: Be open and use the alternatives. And you’ll want to take pleasure in what you’re doing.

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