Senior New Model Quality inženýr
Gabriela Křídlová studied at ŠKODA AUTO University until 2016, when she successfully graduated from the follow-on Master’s degree in Business Economics and Operations’ Management. While studying, she completed both an internship at ŠKODA AUTO and a two-semester internship at Bentley Motors Ltd. – first in the Purchasing Department and then in the Quality Department. The experience she gained led to her being offered a permanent position at Bentley Motors Ltd. in the area of quality.
Now, she works at Aston Martin Lagonda as a Senior New Model Quality Engineer. She is also involved in her own business in the field of finance and real estate rentals.
In her free time she likes sports – she is a fan of hiking, yoga, tag rugby, frisbee, indoor climbing, cycling or running. He is also interested in art and books.
What specifically motivated you to apply to ŠKODA AUTO University (hereinafter referred to as SAU)?
Back while studying for my Bachelor’s degree at the polytechnic in Jihlava, I realised how important practical experience was. And so, when choosing a Master’s programme, I wanted a school for follow-on study where they support internships and where teaching is also focused on practical experience. SAU offers an excellent combination of these two requirements, and together with the personal approach it supports, it was a clear choice for me. Cooperation with ŠKODA AUTO, suppliers and other companies also enables students to gain experience as early as during their student years. All of these practical training opportunities, internships and programmes that are offered are also very promising for future employers. Because of this, school graduates have an overall better chance of succeeding in the labour market.
Did your career start during your studies?
Actually yes. In my case, it all started with a successful interview with the Purchasing Department at ŠKODA AUTO, where I completed an internship and also worked on my diploma thesis “Using the FMEA method in the purchasing process in the automotive segment”. ŠKODA AUTO is a great employer not only as a regular employee but also with regards to your internship – my manager and colleagues have involved me in many projects in which I have gained a lot of experience in dealing with suppliers, project management or critical parts management. A year of experience in the purchasing department definitely helped me in my further career.
Is there a subject or teacher you remember fondly?
I have always enjoyed the most subjects that have a practical application. These are, for example, Logistics Methods, in which we completed several different simulations at ŠKODA AUTO and also a number of excursions to suppliers.
Also definitely English lessons – I had most of my classes with a native speaker from the United Kingdom. Thanks to that, I significantly improved my level of English, which prepared me for my interview with Bentley.
I would also like to mention Ing Roman Maroušek, PhD, who was my thesis supervisor. His guidance and patience enabled me to successfully complete my thesis.
Do you have a spicy story from student life at SAU that you can share with us?
So I probably won’t remember anything really spicy. But I should definitely mention the friendly atmosphere at SAU. We sometimes held smaller get-togethers with other students from the semester after lectures or after work. There were about thirty of us in the semester, so I basically got to know them all pretty quickly.
How did you land your current job as Senior New Model Quality Engineer at Aston Martin Lagonda? And what exactly is the scope of your work?
So I should probably start from the beginning. While studying at SAU, I heard a lot about internships or studying abroad, and I was always tempted to visit the UK again, where I had worked as an au pair between university courses. Therefore, I really did not hesitate to apply for an internship at Bentley. My interview was quite interesting. We talked about my diploma thesis for a long time.
I then went to the Purchasing Department at Bentley, where I completed a six-month internship. I think during the first few months I knew it wouldn’t end there. Since my diploma thesis focused on FMEA, which mainly concerns quality, I contacted the manager on serial quality with a proposal for an internship. After an interview and agreement on the conditions, I followed up on another internship at Bentley. I proved myself in the Quality Department, and after another few months, I was offered a permanent position in the pre-series as a Pre Series Supplier Quality Engineer. I ended up staying at Bentley for three years, gaining invaluable experience.
And now that I’ve ended up in my current job at Aston Martin Lagonda, I’ve been on the tree for over two years. Basically, it all started with a phone call when a recruiter contacted me via LinkedIn with a job offer at Aston Martin. I wasn’t looking for a job at the time, but the offer seemed intriguing, and I was mainly curious about how interviews were done elsewhere. Until then, my experience with interviews was more or less only within the VW Group.
The interview was a success. It was quite technical. We talked in detail about my experience, but I was also quite interested in the friendly approach during the interview. So after a long decision, I finally decided to leave Bentley, move and meet a new challenge.
My job position as Senior New Model Operations Quality Engineer is focused on new models, where I am mainly in charge of interior trim parts. It is very complex work, where everything starts from the design of the part to the use in production. When designing the part, my work is mainly in the area of Lessons Learnt, where together with the R&D and Styling Departments, we make sure that we do not repeat the same shortcomings or mistakes that we found in previous models. We also negotiate with suppliers, simulate the production process of parts and improve parts until they are at such a level that everything is ready for production. I am responsible for these parts – for the fact that they are made to the highest quality and also for the fact that they are available on time. Furthermore, all parts are tested from the customer’s point of view on prototype and pre-production cars, so we test the quality and functionality while driving.
As part of your studies at SAU, you spent two semesters doing an internship at Bentley Motors Ltd. At that time, could you imagine living and working in the UK for a long time to come? What about Great Britain has appealed to you the most?
I think yes. Great Britain appealed to me not only in terms of job opportunities in the automotive industry, but I also fell in love with its countryside and have found a lot of interesting activities and friends. I also started a business in a sector not connected to the automotive industry. But that is a chapter for another time.
What would you wish for SAU over the next years?
I would like to wish SAU many more successful years. I believe that it will further develop cooperation with various companies, which will bring more opportunities and experiences for its students.
Furthermore, I would like it to continue to keep teachers who emphasise the practicality of teaching.