Meet Valerie...

Date of Birth: 1990
Degree Program: M.Sc. Business Administration
University: Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Previous Internships: MHP – A Porsche Company (International HR), Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA (Strategy/Business Development)
Interests: Professional: Strategic Management, Business Development, Innovation, Digital Transformation Personal: Foreign Countries and Cultures, Travelling, Running, Reading

Describe your educational background. Where did/do you study, what degrees did/will you receive?
I received my Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Economics at the University of Würzburg. During my studies I spent a semester abroad at Florida Gulf Coast University in the United States. Upon graduation I first completed an internship to gain some practical experience before enrolling for the Master program in Business Administration at the University of Münster, specializing in Management and Information Systems. During my master studies I got the chance to spend some more time abroad as an exchange student at EMLyon Business School in France. I will graduate in spring 2017.

Describe your career history. What have been your professional experiences?
I gained my first business experience during a five-month internship at MHP, a fast growing IT and process consultancy within the automotive industry. As part of the HR department, I had the chance to enhance my knowledge in the field of Recruiting and HR Services as well as to support the department during its international expansion to the United States, China and Romania.
In October 2014, I became member of move, the student consultancy of the University of Münster. As a student consultant I was able to gain valuable practical experience by conducting different consultancy projects, both as a team member and project lead.
In 2016, I completed an internship at the Bertelsmann Corporate Network (BCN) which is part of the corporate strategy department of Bertelsmann.

What attracted you to Bertelsmann and your internships? What is/was your favorite aspect about your job?
Besides my curiosity for the media industry I was keen on gaining a deeper understanding of this large and complex organization which recently experienced a major transformation process. I was especially interested in learning how Bertelsmann handles the challenges due to digitization and rapidly changing markets.
BCN caught my attention as it aims at initiating and fostering business cooperation within Bertelsmann. Considering the decentralized corporate structure and the broad range of businesses, this is an extremely challenging task. Being part of the team offered the unique opportunity to work closely to the top management and to gain valuable insights into the strategic topics the managers are dealing with.
There were many aspects I loved about the job, including the diversity of tasks, the high degree of responsibility, and the international setting. However, the most favorite aspect has been to work with my colleagues of BCN. Throughout my internship, they provided me with valuable knowledge as well as constructive feedback, which enabled me to learn quickly and grow with new challenges. They made this internship an outstanding experience for me.

What has been your most challenging/rewarding/exciting task or project thus far?
The most rewarding and exciting task during my internship has been the organization of a workshop for the Orientation Day, a two-day event in Berlin aimed at talents and young executives within Bertelsmann. My tasks included the preparation of workshop material, e. g. the conception of business case studies, and supporting my colleagues during the workshop. I was allowed to do a large part of my work independently and thus, was given the opportunity to take on responsibility. During the event in Berlin I got to meet fascinating people from various divisions and countries, which was a great experience.

What qualities do you feel are necessary to be a successful employee at Bertelsmann?
To become a successful employee at Bertelsmann you should be passionate and willing to learn, as well as being proactive and taking on responsibility. In addition, an entrepreneurial mindset is crucial to keep up with the fast changing industry – this includes being creative, open for new ideas and thinking outside box. Last but not least, the ability to network and connect with people from different divisions and countries is an important skill to succeed and create value for the company.

What was/is a typical day during your internship like?
As other student challengers already mentioned, it is hard to describe a typical day due to the diversity of tasks I was involved in during my internship. Especially within BCN, projects are very different as the team operates internationally and across all divisions. My daily tasks ranged from the preparation of strategic meetings and workshops to conducting research and analyses on various topics. Apart from this, I participated in regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions and appointments with colleagues from other divisions. The most consistent part of my working day was actually the lunch break. Bertelsmann has its own lunch culture, which enables employees to connect with each other and to expand their personal network within the company.

What are your professional goals? Any others?
Upon graduation I want to start my professional career in a strategy-related field, considering several options from trainee program, direct entry or working as a business consultant. But no matter what I will do, the most important aspect will be to work in a challenging environment which allows for continuous learning and personal development. Moreover, I believe that inspiring colleagues and a great team spirit are indispensable in order to succeed.
I also seek to gain further international experience both in my business and personal life.

If you have one word to describe Bertelsmann – what would it be?

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