My time in the UK

My time in the UK

I just finished-up some of the work I`ve done here in Filton at my second placement. In some way I feel it’s just started, in other ways like I`ve been here for a long time. In this post I`ll give you some highlights of my stay.

Myself, Uppili Srinivasan and Katie Ziegler, all IGPs at GKN, testing the Elemental Rp1 during Formula Student.

As you know by now I`ve been located in the commercial department in Filton. In the commercial department potential new opportunities and development of already existing business is handled. Being part of the Commercial department allowed me to get a (brief) view of our customers and how we interact with them on a day-to-day basis as well as in projects. The tie to Airbus is strong since our accusation in 2009 which of course reflects the way we communicate. Airbus is our biggest customer and sales volume wise they are way ahead of the rest of our customer base.

My learning in terms of “commercial” has been very good over the last 6-months. I have been able to lead my own project which resulted in a number of improved skills such as planning, negotiation and people skills. I made analysis of sales and demand figures for the business. Calculated and analysed risk versus reward in terms of meeting customer requirements. I`ve worked with pricing, both how to create a price (cost, profit, NRC, etc.) and with more general pricing strategies. So in the end I really feel this placement helped me “cover” commercial.

How has my life been in Bristol then (Filton)? To be honest the start wasn`t as good as I hoped. I did a lot of things, visiting places around the area and such. However it got a bit boring to do all sightseeing on my own in the end. As time moved on I started to get more and more friends which improved the situation a lot. When I look back at these 6-months I can hardly remember any weekend where I`ve been sat at home.

I`ve been to Barcelona for a weekend (Bristol airport have a lot of LCCs). I`ve been to Leeds, London, Cardiff, Bath, Portsmouth, Southampton, Cowes, Stratford-upon-Avon and Birmingham (a couple of times). I`ve covered many of the great restaurants and bars in Bristol and Birmingham, not to forget Fifteen and the Shard in London. I`ve managed to get a 3rd-place in an international sailing competition without any prior sailing experience (more than practice during my stay here in Bristol). Big thanks to the crew for letting me take part. I`ve also been to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Horse polo cup. If you ever get the opportunity to look at a horse polo match, take it. It`s a crazy game and I have great respect for the polo players. Just imagine going full speed for 200 meter on a horse (and these horses are well trained) and then get tackled by another one in full speed, crazy. Each match requires about 30 horses divided by the 4 players on the field, so I better stay at work to get some over-time pay.


To summarise my working week I think routine is a good word. It starts with the alarm going off at 7 am. Breakfast while getting dressed and packing my gym bag. Leaving home at 7.40-7.45 and stopping at Costa for a coffee on the way to work (Starbucks the first weeks but the coffee taste to “sharp” in the UK). Realised I`m a “stammis” the other week when I forgot my wallet and the staff said “No worries! You can pay tomorrow David”. Then I arrive to work between 8.15 and 8.45 depending on the traffic. Lunch at 12, not 11.50 or 12.10 it`s 12 o’clock in the canteen! In 99% of the cases the commercial team (plus Allan) sits at a table down in the left corner. The canteen is a topic which could be covered in a separate blog-post. To quote Trainee-Niclas when he entered the canteen, “-Isn`t this the type of chairs and tables they have in prison so the inmates don`t throw them at each other?”. Rumour says the canteen will be refurnished though.

After lunch it`s back to the desk and/or plans for the day. When I`m done in the office I head over to the gym eating my car-snack-pack on the way (rice cakes and cashew-nuts). The gym session plus some socialising takes about an hour and a half before heading back to my place. When getting home I cook something for dinner and next day lunch-box. When I finished dinner it`s usually late and I watch TV, read, take a walk or keep in touch with my family and friends.

Some fun-things I picked up (or started with) during my stay:

  • I say “sorry” a lot more. Even if it`s not my fault (or even close to)
  • Saying “you`ll alright?” or “how are you?” without expecting an answer
  • Style-wise I`ve become more British. Black tassel loafers and longer suit jackets for example.
  • Casual Fridays is a weird thing I haven’t understood yet. Fine, skip the suit/tie but still try to look decent at least! This is not GKN specific but more UK in general.
  • Feels good to drive on the “UK-side” of the road.



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