Meet Max S. ...

Current Position:

Consultant Bain & Company, Düsseldorf

Degree Program: MSc in International Management, expect to graduate in October 2009

Bertelsmann Experience:
ESADE Business School (Barcelona)

Executive Assistant arvato
Previous Internships: Ernst & Young AG (Audit), Deutsche Bank AG (M&A), Saatchi&Saactchi (Marketing & Advertising), arvato (Strategy), Bain & Company (Consulting)
Interests: Entrepreneurship, Business Development, Traveling, Fishing, Football, Skiing

Student Challenger from 2008 to 2009

Describe your educational background. Where did / do you study, what degrees did / will you receive?
I started my university career with a Bachelor-program at EBS in Oestrich-Winkel. After having graduated in 2007, I decided to do a gap year in order to gain deeper insights into the fields of Finance, Marketing, Strategy development and Consulting. To round off my university career and gain further international experience, I applied at EASDE Business School in Barcelona. There, I am studying since October 2008 to obtain my MSc in International Management.

Describe your career history. What have been your professional experiences?
I tried to organize my internships during my studies and my gap year in a meaningful manner, so that I was able to gain various experiences in the field of business. During my first internship, I learnt a lot about the financial side of a company (balance statement, cash-flows, profit and loss account). My second internship deepened my understanding of the financial side since it added a strategic component. My job focused more on the analysis and interpretation of the respective statements. After having covered the financial side, I was keen on learning more about marketing & sales. This, I did within my third internship. Ultimately, I wanted to discover more about strategy development – from the company’s point of view (fourth internship) as well as from the consultant’s point of view (fifth internship).

What are / have been your current / former roles and responsibilities?
My most important experience was for sure the organization of the EBS Symposium. Together with a team of 55 fellow students I organized a discussion and recruiting platform for 800 students, 100 company representatives and 56 top speakers from business, politics and society. During the one year lasting preparation time, we organized everything from the acquisition of sponsors to the shuttle service and accommodation for our participants. Currently, I am board member of my old school’s Alumni association and responsible for an annual event where we support students with their decision what to do after school.

What attracted you to Bertelsmann and your internships? What is / was your favorite aspect about your job?
When targeting for an internship in a strategy department during my gap year, I applied to different companies and had various interviews. What convinced me most during the interview with arvato was the fact that they give you a lot of responsibility and entrepreneurial freedom. From the first week, you get your own project which you have to finalize during your internship. The results are ultimately presented to a member of the Board or even the CEO. This indicates that the topics the interns are working on really matter to the company.

What has been your most memorable moment (so far) during your internship?
My project was to identify promising opportunities for arvato in the online business. After having conducted a lot of desk research and after having identified highly interesting business models and potential partners, we set up a trip to Silicon Valley. During this one-week trip we met almost 25 promising companies and amongst others the co-founder of Myspace. The project and the business trip were definitely unique experiences.

What has been your most challenging / rewarding / exciting task or project thus far?
My most challenging task has definitely been the organization of the EBS Symposium.

What qualities do you feel are necessary to be a successful employee at Bertelsmann?
I think that the will to exploit business opportunities, entrepreneurial success, risk & error tolerance, passion, willingness to take over responsibility as well as networking within the company are highly important skills to become a successful employee at Bertelsmann.

Have you had the opportunity to travel as part of your job?
During my job I traveled three times in total. Firstly, I supported arvato’s Head of Strategy when conducting a case study at the University of Münster. Then, I traveled to Hamburg to attend a conference where the latest developments in the online world were discussed. Ultimately, as mentioned before, I went to San Francisco for 10 days to meet the respective company representatives.

What was / is a typical day during your internship like?
Normally I came to work at 9 a.m. and worked until 9 p.m. with a lunch break of approximately an hour. After work, our team often went to a nearby restaurant to have a pizza or just a beer. Hence, I normally returned home at 10 or 11 p.m.

What are your professional goals? Any others ;-)?
Becoming a successful entrepreneur.

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