Stefan Schwunk Talks About Moving From Daimler To Tesla

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Published on January 7th, 2021 | by Johnna Crider

January 7th, 2021 by  

In an interview with Tesla Mag, Stefan Schwunk shared his thoughts on his experience joining Tesla after working for Daimler. Before we get to that part, I want to share the background story that led to this interview. Tesla Mag recently published another article, “New scenario for the takeover of Daimler by Tesla.” In this article, the outlet commented on a Reuters analysis posing Tesla as the new titan of the automotive sector. If Tesla was to acquire a legacy automaker, Daimler would be the safest acquisition and Daimler could be Tesla’s Time Warner, in the same sense that Time Warner was bought by AOL.

After the article was published, Stefan Schwunk shared a post on LinkedIn that allowed Tesla Mag to learn more about the motivations of the former Daimler employee for joining Tesla in Berlin. This led to an exclusive interview with Schwunk, which Tesla Mag has kindly shared with us here at CleanTechnica.

Tesla Mag’s Interview With Stefan Schwunk

Schwunk isn’t the first to leave Daimler for Tesla in Berlin. René Reif, who oversees the Berlin factory, joined Tesla after working for Daimler as well. This inspired Tesla Mag to interview him and ask him to share more about his motivations. The original interview was written in French, and the translation below comes from Tesla Mag.

What were you doing at Daimler?

I have held various positions at Mercedes.

I started as a process engineer in the SLK division. After a big project, I became the assistant to the production manager of the C / E-Class Coupé / Cabrio. At that time, I was active in many important strategic areas and my production experience allowed me to optimize many things in the assembly field.

In total, I, therefore, have 8 years of experience in the field of assembly. I know how to build a luxury car and then go to quality. Here I took care of GLC and EQC series. My daily work consists of analyzing the problems that are discovered internally and externally and forwarding them to the responsible departments. It concerns quality issues of all kinds.

So I know all the GLC / EQC series problems of the last 4 years. In the quality control center, I had all the topics on my desk and worked there in order to prevent the customer from facing these topics in the future.

I think Tesla was interested in this topic as well. I have 8 years of experience in assembly and 4 years of quality. I know how to build cars and how to optimize their quality. A topic that will be extremely important for Tesla in the future. The cars are technically very advanced, but unfortunately still lagging behind in terms of quality.

Why work at Tesla?

I have had the pleasure of working for Daimler AG for over 13 years. It was 13 years that I absolutely do not regret [it]. Invaluable experiences. But at 43, I’m at an age where I can still take on challenges, and that’s what I did.

From February, I will be moving to Tesla in Berlin. I will work there as a quality engineer in the assembly field. I look forward to joining the Tesla family, but not without thanking and saying goodbye to the Daimler family for a great time.

The Tesla application process is completely digital. Only upload your CV if you have found an interesting job on the Tesla homepage.

If you are of interest to Tesla, a colleague in Human Resources at Tesla will contact you. During a first phone call, we then check whether the candidate is suitable for the company.

Subsequent discussions will then take place by videoconference. Depending on the stage of your application process, you have interviews with direct colleagues, managers or senior managers.

If you managed to convince here, you will have a final interview with an executive from Grünheide.

What’s special about Tesla: The HR department is supported by managers. Not by United States HR. I have never experienced this before in my professional life. No, of course you are not talking to Elon Musk. I’m not one of the 25 Guns he’s looking for, but I still met some interesting people at Tesla before I even worked there. It was a new process for me.

What do you think mattered to Tesla?

In terms of content, Tesla mainly places little value on titles or education, but more on experience. Rather, they want to know what one has accomplished in their life so far. Which projects have been successful? What are you proud of? This question is like a common thread in the application process.

The effort put into finding the right candidate is incredible. I cannot say if such an effort will be made for each candidate. But it took 4 interviews to be selected? In my previous positions in professional life, one or two conversations were enough.

But for that, we valued the results of an assessment center, in which candidates had to prove that they could think logically and work as a team.

Why are you so excited?

I look forward to the opportunity to work at Tesla in Berlin-Brandenburg . A completely different corporate world awaits me.

I expect much faster decision making, much flatter processes, and hierarchies. A world of work that will turn faster than the world I have known before. But that was my goal. I want to be part of a whole, which aims to create a better future for us and our children, in which sustainability plays a major role. I look forward to Tesla!

My Take On The Interview

This interview is just one facet of a dazzling gem. The gem represents Tesla leading the automotive industry, and as a leader, it is attracting not just the best and brightest engineers from universities and other industries, but also those who have worked for legacy automakers. One thing that frightens Tesla’s competitors is the fact that Tesla is attracting new and younger engineers. But it’s not just those fresh out of school who want to work at Tesla, as you can tell from the interview above. Tesla is also attracting talented engineers from legacy automakers to come and be a part of the future.

I think this gives us, the outsiders, a fresh perspective on the reasons why an engineer at Daimler would want to leave a well known brand to work at Tesla. It shows that not only Schwunk but many see Tesla as the leader of this industry, and for a company that is focused on sustainability and clean energy, this is pretty amazing.

Think about that for a moment: a company focused on sustainability isn’t just the brand new leader of an industry that is a major source of air pollution, but it’s attracting engineers from all over, whether they are fresh out of school or have been working for legacy automakers for many years.

Schwunk will be able to take his experiences at Daimler and bring them to Tesla while joining Tesla on its mission of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

Clean energy is winning. 


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About the Author

is a Baton Rouge artist, gem and mineral collector, member of the International Gem Society, and a Tesla shareholder who believes in Elon Musk and Tesla. Elon Musk advised her in 2018 to “Believe in Good.” Tesla is one of many good things to believe in. You can find Johnna on Twitter at all hours of the day & night.

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