Alexander Dittrich

Country of origin: Germany

Assistant VP HR, Volkswagen Argentina

Before I came to Lancaster I studied a German Diploma (Masters equivalent) in Business and Law at the University of Applied Sciences in Wildau which included a study abroad semester at the Zheijiang Sciences and Technology University in Hangzhou in China.

During my studies I did two six-month internships in Germany: one with the HR Department ‘Management Processes and Policies' at Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg, and the second with the HR Department of Volkswagen Bildungsinstitut GmbH in Zwickau. I wrote my diploma thesis during my internship at Volkswagen, dealing with the conception of an HR development system for around 90% of the company’s employees.

I made the decision to work in HR very early as it fitted with my interests and experiences. To improve my theoretical knowledge and also to gain further international experiences and skills I decided to do a Master’s degree in HR in the UK.

The decision then to do it in Lancaster came for several reasons: firstly the very good international recognition and ranking of LUMS and especially of the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology. Secondly, the character of Lancaster University as a campus university, the quality of student life and the close contact with students from all around the world, with all the possibilities to do several sports, join societies, and spend time with people from all around the globe. And finally, of course, the MA in Human Resource and Knowledge Management – now an MSc programme – with its three main areas of focus: on people, organisations and knowledge.

The most important aspect for me was the critical thinking involved in the programme. It was not about single techniques, but about a general way of thinking about HR and knowledge management. This view was taught in a very interactive and modern way of teaching, which I enjoyed the most. Also the supervision and the contact with the lecturers were almost perfect.

After my degree I started to work in an international graduate scheme with the HR Department of Carl Zeiss Meditec AG in Germany. Within this programme I will have six different postings within the Carl Zeiss Group. Some of them are cross-functional postings – for example, with the Corporate Communications and the Finance Department. The potential highlight is my posting  abroad in which I will work with Carl Zeiss in San Francisco. I will complete this programme in 15 months and will then work as a Junior HR Manager.

Overall, Lancaster, and in particular the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, really helped me to get exactly the kind of job that I was looking for.

Alexander subsequently joined Volkswagen AG, and then at the end of 2013 secured a new post with Volkswagen Argentina.