Praktikumsbericht Mercedes-Benz

by Anna G.

Doing internship in User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) has been the idea I developed during my Erasmus semester in Netherlands in autumn 2022. I already have taken a focus on digital media during KSM masters and along with Human Cognition classes at a foreign university, as well as specialized online UX course from Google my portfolio became a proper fit for a human-machine interaction researcher. I was looking for a company where I can learn from highly experienced professionals and simultaneously where my interdisciplinary background could be helpful. Mercedes, in the meantime, was looking for someone who had understanding in humans’ communication with machines through digital spaces.

I applied in the beginning of July and 1st of September was my first working day of a 6-months internship. Alert for international students: an internship in Germany is a proper fulltime job. Mine included relocating to Stuttgart, working on-site in the development department 35 hours a week, being in a team meeting 15 minutes after I entered the office for the first time. Alert for anyone applying to Mercedes: it is a highly independent working environment with amazing colleagues and newest tools available, but also with lots of interesting challenges. A team I was a part of is called Concept Validation at Research and Development of eDrive Mobility. In other words, it’s a place where ideas at Mercedes are born. Beginning of the beginnings, with a (really!) long non-disclosure agreement.

Our team’s main task is to create ideas for automotive technologies and to test them. We ran multiple projects simultaneously, which meant all my theoretical, practical and time management skills were at use from day one. My responsibilities included research on users and user experience for vehicle features, developing wireframes and prototypes of user interface concepts in tools like Figma and Adobe CC, visualizing and presenting my findings to colleagues from different departments and locations. It was both creative and analytical process, where I was allowed to experiment, innovate and offer fresh user-centered perspectives.

Something I expected from this internship and that turned out to be true: it is a worldclass company with indeed talented minds, and you can feel it. People who work there are passionate and dedicated, no matter if it is an engineer with 30 years’ experience or just another intern. I am not too passionate about cars, but I am excited to learn how do a healthy working environment and an effective workflow of a world-known company look like. And you learn best practices simply by being there. In addition, everyone can have access to most advanced tools for working on their ideas, students included. In 6 months, I learned a new prototyping software, two new data analysis tools and an application for project management.

Some things that surprised me: interns are treated same as full-time employees; companies’ culture includes flat hierarchy, full openness to inclusion and diversity; high level of freedom in choosing tasks to work on for students. As an intern, new member of the team, non-native German speaker, young woman and an immigrant in Germany, I was encouraged to share my opinions and ideas already from the first week on, same as everyone else in the team, with full respect and no prejudice. Interns’ opinions are heard and taken into consideration. You are offered mentorship and guidance, but not pushed under a strict instruction of how to do things. It is most definitely not a “do-something-that-doesn’t-matter-because-you-are-just-astudent” internship.

The slogan of Mercedes runs “Best or nothing” and it truly depicts company’s values. Apply here only if you are ready to do your best. Apply here if you want to learn from the best. For me it was truly an honor to be a part of such a great adventure and get to know Mercedes’ culture, Swabian German language dialect and automotive media.