Meet Daniel

Year of Birth:


Degree Program: 9/2014 - 9/2017 Master in Management
University: WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management
Previous Internships: Wimdu, SMP AG, arvato AG, Allianz AG, Henkel

Corporate Strategy, M&A, Finance, Marketing, Innovation

Student Challenger sinceĀ November 2013.

Describe your educational background. Where did/do you study, what degrees did/will you receive?
Born and raised near Dusseldorf in Germany, I went to High school in the North of the city and, afterwards, started my studies at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany. After completing my semester abroad at the University of Kentucky, I graduated in September 2013 and started my gap year and now I am looking forward to enroll in a master’s program next year.

Describe your career history. What have been your professional experiences?
After having completed a small internship prior to my studies at WHU, I completed my first real internship at Wimdu, a start-up that provides an online renting platform. This turned out to be amazing in terms of how much responsibility I had on the job – given that I only had two semester of experience. I found that the freedom of an entrepreneurial environment appealed to me a lot and that I preferred the pace of an online business to more settled industries. After my fourth semester, I tapped into the world of strategy consulting during my internship at SMP AG, a small consultancy based in Dusseldorf. Again, I found myself in a competitive and challenging working environment where I learned new things every day. What I liked most about this experience was the focus on analytical approaches and the highly competent team I worked with. Therefore, working in the corporate strategy department of arvato seemed to be perfect synthesis of these two passions I discovered about myself.

What attracted you to Bertelsmann and your internships? What is/was your favorite aspect about your job?
Essentially, what attracted me most to Bertelsmann was the diversity of businesses that the company is engaged in. From the business model of a classical media company to that of a BPO provider, there are hundreds of individual businesses which all offer their own particular challenges and opportunities. What specifically attracted me to my internship at arvato in the corporate strategy department was the possibility of working very close to the top management of a multi-national conglomerate.

What has been your most challenging/rewarding/exciting task or project thus far?
One project that I experienced to be very rewarding was to run a marathon this spring trying to beat the time of a good friend. What I liked most about this challenge was the fact that I had to motivate myself all the way, plan how to exercise and then adapt the plan to how my body would cope with the exposure. Having trained alone during the cold winter months, it was really rewarding when I could finally run the marathon itself in Dusseldorf. In the end I managed to beat the time of my friend and the next marathon (this time with my friend) is already in the planning stages.

What qualities do you feel are necessary to be a successful employee at Bertelsmann?
To be a successful employee at Bertelsmann, essentially two qualities are required: Openness to people and entrepreneurial drive. As the Bertelsmann slogan says “Create your own career”, careers do not follow any specific patterns but much more depend on the opportunities that you can identify within the company through your network. Therefore, being open towards people and connecting to people all over the company is crucial for taking each career step. Second, Bertelsmann is known for its entrepreneurial culture, which means that decision making powers are usually decentralized within the company. Consequently, every employee has to take a lot of responsibility for his or her own work but also has a lot of space for creative approaches as long as the performance is right.

What was/is a typical day during your internship like?
A typical day during my internship at arvato would start at about 8:30 in the morning and last until 19:00 in the evening. Depending on the projects and their status the day would mostly consist of phases of individual project work, which would be interrupted by short status update meetings with my colleagues or short fill-in tasks to support my colleagues. In general, I had to take responsibility for my tasks from the first day on but was also given complete freedom in terms of how to approach them. This meant that I could dive deeply into my topics and take my time during the analysis in order to come up with thorough and creative solutions. When working together with a colleague, the nature of our work was often more of a discussion than clearly divided work streams, which allowed me to profit greatly from the experience of my colleagues and their individual strengths.

What are your professional goals? Any others?
My professional goals are to work in a competitive environment with inspiring colleagues on topics that really create value, both economically and socially. The media sector interests me because of the speed and innovativeness that is required to remain a top player. Other goals are certainly athletic in nature. For instance, I would definitely want to complete an iron man race one day.

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