Mission: As the inventor of the automobile, we believe it is our mission and our duty to shape the future of mobility in a safe and sustainable manner - with trendsetting technologies, outstanding products and made-to-measure services.
I have been working at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America full-time
Working at MBRDNA as a full time employee in the information technology industry is basically equivalent to a tenure track position at a university in terms of job security. Once you're in, you're in for life if you so desire, so long as you put in a reasonable effort to doing your job. Work life balance is good. Opportunity for advancement in terms of salary is good after you realize that they will pay more to keep high performers - significantly more than industry averages. Unique perks include access to deep discounts (as much as 30%) off buying a new Benz, as well as the employee lease program, which allows you to pay much less that you would for a car payment to basically drive a brand new Benz all year, and trade it in for a new one at the end of the year. Standard perks include access to free snacks, drinks and coffee. Standard benefits. 8% 401k matching. I got lucky with my team, whose immediate management is awesome.
MBRDNA postures itself as a tech company, like a special Silicon Valley supplier to Daimler - so my expectations for the culture, benefits, and perks are in line with what I would expect working for a Silicon Valley tech company - not an automotive company. The upper management is out of touch with employees. Regular town hall meetings come and go, where the management continually displays how out of touch it is with the climate and culture of Silicon Valley. The pace of innovation feels glacial compared to other tech companies. The upper management basically has their hands tied to the will of the parent company, Daimler, in Germany. Daimler is not in a 'growth' phase like so many other tech companies, so I think they are much less likely to take on risky projects - which can sometimes make the work feel a bit mundane. Unfortunately, this risk-averseness may ultimately become a problem, the more that information technology fields merge with the automotive industry. Being innovative in a business also gives employees the opportunity to grow and hone their skill-set. Without that drive, it can sometimes feel like working at Daimler for too long locks you into working only at Daimler (a sentiment I have heard many colleagues express). Doesn't feel like a good place for ambitious or meteoric career growth, like what one might expect from Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. I think with the increased stability and risk-averseness comes a decrease in that kind of contagious creative energy that you might encounter working for a startup or other tech company in the bay area. Other cons include a lack of perks that are standard at other area tech companies - such as transit perks, free meals, good recreation facilities, etc.
Advice to Management
Take more risks. Hire employees above the curve, not at or below the median (which means you have to pay more to start with too). Organize teams to work together - especially in the information technology space. Don't force your teams to compete for funding until you have developed a strong base of talent. You can't have teams tasked with innovations in information technology and expect stellar output if their hands are tied with the drudgery of production oriented software development and coordinating with suppliers. A much better approach is to separate teams into production oriented and moon-shot/research oriented. Don't ask one team to do it all, because what inevitably will happen is that team will focus on tasks that keep their jobs secure - production. You have to give teams the freedom and resources needed to innovate, which means, don't force them to do it in a certain stiff (and utterly bizarre) corporate program. You can't force innovation from the top down, unless you have a strong and charasmatic vision (i.e. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, etc). I understand that Daimler is a German company - but I don't see the point in a Silicon Valley office if you are going to infuse the Daimler rigidity into the process.
I applied online. I interviewed at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America (Sunnyvale, CA).
Applied through LinkedIn. Got a response soon and schedule for the initial discussion. After initial discussion with recruiter, I was told to receive a communication on the next round by same day EOD or by the next day. I tried to follow up with the recruiter after not getting any response even after a week or so. Then I received a communication that the next round will be a coding challenge powered by HackersRank. In the coding challenge I was surprised that the only option to code was java while I've been working on python from last 7 years and the same I communicated to the recruiter as well and clearly mentioned that I don't have any working experience with Java. He was fine with that. Also Java is nowhere mentioned in my resume. I quit the test and wrote to the recruiter about this. I got a single line response that Java is absolutely mandatory for this position. surprised!!! Huh!
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