Diana Schnetgöke


Getting started as a trainee with Deutsche Telekom

Katja joined our trainee program as an HR Start-up! participant in January 2020. In an interview she tells us why she opted for Deutsche Telekom a year ago, what experiences she has gathered over the first eight months, what projects she has worked on so far, and explains how best to approach change.

Woman stands in front of a big 25 on the occasion of Deutsche Telekom AG’s 25-year anniversary.

The 25-year old can identify with more than just the color magenta. © Copyright: Charlotte Scharpenack

Why did Katja opt for Deutsche Telekom?

Katja was interested in Deutsche Telekom as an employer back when she was a student. She knew that she wanted to work in a global enterprise with a digital focus thanks to internships she had completed in the past. Why? “Digitalization is and remains the future – and Deutsche Telekom is making a decisive contribution to this. With its activities across the world, Deutsche Telekom has its finger on the pulse, its changes have a big influence globally.

Katja chose Deutsche Telekom’s trainee program and values the fact that trainees often act as a mouthpiece and an interface with other departments. “You’re expected to be proactive and take responsibility at Deutsche Telekom.” At the time, she was most fascinated by the idea of thinking outside the box. “That you are involved, instead of excluded, with your ideas and alternative ways of thinking, and are generally free to implement these ideas yourself.”

And so it happened that the HR trainee completed her day--long assessment center in May 2019 along with other applicants and received an offer from the department of the Chief Human Resources Officer on the very same day, during the last interview. “The equal level of appreciation that was accorded to all applicants really inspired me. Each of us received serious, personalized feedback face-to-face – concerning why it worked out for us or not.”

From onboarding week to first project

Following the end of her master’s degree in economic psychology, Katja started her onboarding week in mid-January with 16 other trainees. The aim of the onboarding week is to prepare trainees for the 18-month long program and get them ready for working at Deutsche Telekom.

Katja describes her impressions enthusiastically: “It was a very exciting week with new impressions and an inspiring program, as well as thrilling new contacts. We in the international trainee community really evolved together in just a few days and got to know and respect one another in a short space of time. That’s what sets us apart as trainees at Deutsche Telekom: we all support one another. After that first week I was even more resolved in my decision to complete the trainee program since diversity and team spirit were of utmost importance. The silo mentality just isn’t a thing there.”

In addition, you are given the chance to make contacts in various departments as early as the onboarding week: “That made it easier to search for subsequent deployments, which we planned independently as part of our trainee program.”

After the onboarding week, Katja began her first deployment in the Recruit, Place, & Grow tribe. In the first three months Katja was already able to work independently and therefore gained different perspectives of the Group in just a short space of time. “I was shown a great deal of trust, which meant there was a steep learning curve and I got to make new contacts. This is very important in a global enterprise. I was also able to evolve in communicating with various Board of Management departments.”

She took on the onboarding project for Deutsche Telekom. The virtual onboarding event for non-executives took place at the end of her deployment. She was able to manage this as a major project along with a colleague. “I was very pleased that we had already planned this project prior to lockdown and rolled it out at a time when it received the attention it required. Even before lockdown, we needed to provide optimal, and therefore virtual, onboarding for international employees.” She continues enthusiastically: “I was hugely motivated to manage a project from start to finish. A particular highlight was that the various units worked well together and we all shared the same vision – Onboarding 2.0. When I saw that reflected in the feedback from the participants, guests, managers, and Board members, I was very proud.”

In addition to the deployments, the trainees take part in Magenta Friday at the end of each week and work on projects which are offered by various units. They also have the opportunity to join various “squads”. As a result, Katja ended up taking on leadership of the Social Squad after just her second Magenta Friday. “I like challenges. So I thought to myself, ‘why not risk it and just jump in the deep end by managing a squad as a newbie?’ I had a lot of fun doing the work along with the other highly motivated trainees – we all have the same goal and are working proactively in a very results-oriented manner. I’m very proud of us, of what we’ve set up in just a short space of time and which now functions as an independent squad.”

We are certainly excited to see which stations Katja goes for in future and where the 25-year old will go once she finishes her trainee program.