May 22nd, 2013
It’s official. After navigating my way through a complicated visa process and landing the job after two successful interviews, I have finally completed my first year within the FIAT Group working on the central HR team for Automotive Lighting-Magneti Marelli. As with any new challenge, I made plenty of naive assumptions as to what working abroad in Italy would be like, but one thing is for sure: there is no way I could have ever predicted being offered an opportunity like this.
I am currently a People Development Specialist for the head lamp and rear lamp division (Automotive Lighting) of Magneti Marelli, a company recognized globally as a leader in components and hi-tech systems for the automotive industry. As part of Automotive Lighting’s central HR team, one of my many responsibilities is to maintain the division’s organizational structure – keeping track of who works for who and where – for roughly 15,000 employees. I do so by coordinating my activities with our local HR managers who are based in 14 different countries (the different time zones are an added challenge). Being in contact with people from so many parts of the world is definitely the most interesting aspect of the job because it forces you to constantly adjust to the different ways other cultures do business. I am always learning new things working not only within the confines of an Italian office, but also on a global scale, which creates for an enjoyably collaborative and rewarding experience.
However, not everything about my job is strictly centered on HR topics. Looking to diversify my work week, I joined the editorial team for Automotive Lighting’s quarterly newsletter, where I landed the responsibility of writing the first page interview for each edition. With this opportunity alone, I have the chance to speak one-on-one with the various vice presidents of the division, who come from many different countries such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Being a part of an international company also means traveling. Just this past summer I had the opportunity to be located at Magneti Marelli’s North America headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. I also have the opportunity to travel occasionally within Europe, primarily to Magneti Marelli’s global headquarters in Corbetta, Italy and to AL’s division headquarters in Reutlingen, Germany.
Work can be stressful at times, but that’s the fun of working for a company with such a vast presence around the world: the fast pace, never ending deadlines and should-have-been-done-yesterday moments are what make it the engaging and downright challenging experience that it is.
Brittany Oldewurtel is a 2011 graduate from the College of New Jersey with a self-designed major in Italian and Linguistics and a minor in Mathematics.