Meet Franziska...

Year of Birth: 1993
Degree Program: International Business (B.A.)
University: Fachhochschule der Wirtschaft (FHDW), University of Applied Sciences, Bielefeld, Germany
Previous Internships: Marketing and Business Development intern at GEA Westfalia Separator Group GmbH Project Management intern at GEA Westfalia Separator Group GmbH Sourcing & Sales/Fairs, Events and Delegations intern at the Beijing branch of German Industry and Commerce (GIC)
Interests: I have been playing volleyball competitively for eight years and also enjoy running, reading, leading a youth group and organizing charity events in my town.

Student Challenger since February 2016.

Describe your educational background. Where did/do you study, what degrees did/will you receive?
In 2013, I started my bachelor studies of international business at FHDW right after graduating from high school. The degree program consists of quarterly alternating theoretical and practical phases (internships) and is called “dual degree program”, similar to that in place at Bertelsmann. The theoretical phases provide me with a practically oriented business education with a focus on international organizations and intercultural leadership. In internships at various companies in different areas I am able to apply that theoretical knowledge and find out which professional interests and abilities I have.

Describe your career history. What have been your professional experiences?
Internships every other quarter are part of my degree program. Thus, I had the opportunity to explore my fields of interest: Business development and finance. My first internship was with one of the largest suppliers of technology for the food processing industry. In the department of business development and marketing, I worked on strategic and business development projects. I benchmarked the advertising and trade fair strategy, conducted an analysis of potential clients in Africa and created competitor profiles.
The second internship was with the same company but in the project management office of a recently started IT project. The projects goal was to create a configuration tool for sales representatives to make sales more flexible and integrate the ordering and production processes. In this project I was assistant to the lead project manager and responsible for subprojects such as designing standardized offer documents. This included designing legal and export terms as well as writing programming instructions while considering all combinations possible. As part of the project management team I also co-developed further investment proposal documents and a communication strategy for the project.
My third internship was with German Industry & Commerce in Beijing. It is the official representation of the German economy abroad and assists German and Chinese companies with various services. In the department of Sourcing & Sales/Fairs, Events and Delegations I managed and co-managed Chinese and German business and political delegations and took the lead in a trade fair cooperation project. I also prepared the proposal for public tenders of such delegations. In addition, I supported Chinese colleagues in looking for business partners in Germany for Chinese clients and was assistant to the General Manager.

What attracted you to Bertelsmann and your internships? What is/was your favorite aspect about your job?
Bertelsmann is a company challenged by digitization and change in all its businesses. These challenges and changes make working for Bertelsmann very interesting. It is also easy to relate to most Bertelsmann businesses. At the time of the application I was looking for a challenging internship in the area of consulting and controlling. When I read the job description for an internship at Corporate Controlling and Strategy I was hooked as not only the job description seemed to fit but also Bertelsmann as a company.
My favorite aspect about my job was the amount of responsibility I was given in projects right from the start. Being part of the team right away and being able to follow up on where and when your results are used makes great internships.

What has been your most challenging/rewarding/exciting task or project thus far?    
My most challenging and rewarding task was programming a summary page of an extensive and complicated excel document. The summary page was supposed to be easy to understand and show the main developments. The programming however was quite challenging as multiple conditions and limitations had to be considered for each cell. I did a lot of research and trials but after some time it finally worked and showed a nice simple overview of the developments.

What qualities do you feel are necessary to be a successful employee at Bertelsmann?
To be a successful employee at Bertelsmann one should have an affinity for media, services and the education business as identifying with these makes it more likely you get the best results possible. Creativity, thinking outside the box, curiosity and adaptability also are qualities one should possess as Bertelsmann businesses are also highly affected by digitization. Change and new situations occur on a daily basis. It makes work more interesting but can also create sudden challenges for which one needs these qualities to overcome any challenges and understand new businesses.

What was/is a typical day during your internship like?
It is difficult to describe a typical day as there was no such thing as I worked on projects. Most days I started by making a to-do list for the day, checking my e-mails and then starting on the most urgent or current project. At lunchtime I met with my lunch date which is a great way to network at Bertelsmann. Most days I had either a follow-up meeting on my projects with the project lead some time in the afternoon or I would fill the project lead in on where I was at. I also was always able to check in with all colleagues when I needed more information, encountered a problem or needed some inspiration on how to solve a problem.
Usually there were some urgent tasks that came up in the afternoon such as a quick research, checking a chart, presentation or document or creating charts or documents. This was a nice change during projects. After I finished these urgent tasks I would finish my to-do list for the day and check in with my colleagues again on the progress I made. Of course there were coffee breaks and chatting with colleagues to get to know them as well.

What are your professional goals? Any others?
As I discovered that my interests are in the area of consulting and business development my professional goals in the near future are starting as an associate in a consultancy or consulting department or as a business development junior professional. In the long run, I would like to be in a position with responsibility such as a team or department lead in the area of business development or strategy where I can make change. Another professional goal is to work and live an in international environment, whether in Germany or abroad.

If you have one word to describe Bertelsmann – what would it be?
For me Bertelsmann is “innovativeness” in the sense of changing something established. Bertelsmann has shown its innovativeness in the past in the process of becoming a global media company. Nowadays this is shown in the attitude with which it tackles digitization and a changing environment for media businesses.