Internships are more than just work: Being inspired at Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions Poland S.A.

By Ikha

Hello from my lovely small city Offenburg, Germany! It's been three weeks since my internship ended. Now, I'm facing reality as a student again at Offenburg University of Applied Sciences. In this post, I’d like to share you about the lessons learned and best moments during the internship, including tips for those who are interested to do an internship at Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions Poland S.A.

Doing an internship goes deeper than gaining work experience and adding a few rows on your CV. It's all about what you've learned and how it impacts your life and shapes your future. Personally, I consider this internship an enriching phase in my life where I opened up to a new environment and developed my technical and soft skills.

There are two important lessons I learned during this internship. First, don’t stop looking for inspiration around you. An intern is never isolated from colleagues. There will be at least one moment in which we have the opportunity to interact with our supervisor and co-workers. This interaction was very important for me because through it I found inspiration from everyone who worked with me.

An intern is never isolated from colleagues, and you can find inspiration in the interaction with them

For example, my supervisor who has extensive knowledge in the field of engineering design made time to meet and discuss with everyone who had questions about the project we worked on. He listens and appreciates the opinions of others, and was very  solution-oriented when problems popped-up in our project. I also found inspiration in my colleagues, who where very open minded, communicative, cooperative, and helpful. Those inspirations encouraged me to perform at my best, helping me to be more confident and unafraid to ask or interact with my colleagues and supervisors. It surely made the internship days at Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions Poland S.A more fun!

One must learn to be flexible and adapt to unforeseen problems in a project, while still delivering agreed quality and specifications of a product.

The second lesson I learned is how important it is to be a flexible engineer. Sometimes, during project execution, you're not aware that certain problems that might occur until they suddenly arise and require an immediate solution. Therefore, one must learn as an engineer to be flexible, for example, towards fixed project specifications or parameters in engineering calculation. This flexibility should allow you to adapt and still guarantee the agreed quality and specifications of the product.


Leave room for the unexpected

It will be difficult to think about this internship and find a memory that is not beautiful. This time was amazing and will always be on my mind. But something I'm especially happy about is that through this internship I had the opportunity to have a meeting with the Chairman of Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions Poland S.A. I shared with him my opinion and feedback about the internship program, and it surprised me that not only was he listening but also writing down my feedback on his book. As an intern in a such big and global company, this is a kind of rare and precious moment.

Besides the Chairman, the director of the department and the Talent Management and Organization Development Manager from the HR Department were also open to my feedback. It gave me a very good impression about the company, that they really value everyone.

Other memories I'll always carry in my life are the moments where me and my colleagues exchanged our knowledge to accomplish tasks, and the unforgettable lunch moments with lunch mates who were always generous sharing their delicious food with me!

I felt that, at Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions Poland S.A., everyone is valued

In my opinion, Air Liquide Global Solutions E&C Poland S.A. is the right company for those looking for deep learning, because as an intern you'll be deeply involved in a certain project or projects. You'll be placed with knowledgeable, experienced, and engaged professionals within your field who'll supervise you, and maybe, like me, you'll learn unexpected things (besides the project-related tasks, I also participated in a very interesting in-house training).

Thank you, team!

Thank you, team!

Make it happen

If you're interested in doing an internship at Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions Poland S.A., I recommend you to be proactive in doing your tasks. Use that proactive attitude to show that you're consistent with your internship goals. My goals were to learn and gain as much experience as possible in that short time, so that I would be ready to develop my career. So I made sure to keep that in mind as I worked. You can put this into action by taking the initiative to ask for your next task as soon as you accomplish the previous one assigned to you. This way you make sure not to waste your time doing nothing.


Another tip I'd like to give you is to overcome your fear and always be positive. Keep in mind there are no stupid questions! Sometimes, as interns we're reluctant to ask or interact with colleagues because we're unnecessarily scared. We shouldn't wait for our co-workers to talk with us, because we can initiate the conversation anytime as well. The more you interact with your co-workers, the more confident you'll be at networking (and the wider your network!). Trust me, it will help you a lot!

Last but not least, I wish you success in your application!



A worthwile experience: Gaining and sharing knowledge at Air Liquide

By Ikha

Hello everyone!

Time flies when you’re having fun, these are the perfect words to describe what’s happening to me now. My internship will end in two weeks, and I still can’t believe it. In this post, I‘d like to share about my internship at Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions Poland S.A., what challenges I’ve overcome, the work culture, and what I have learned so far. But first of all, I’d like to give you a brief insight about this company:

Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions Poland S.A. is a part of the Air Liquide Group, the world leader in gases, technologies and services for Industry and Health and present in 80 countries. Air Liquide Engineering & Construction is a technology partner for the design, engineering and construction of processing facilities and related infrastructures. It has 15 engineering centers worldwide out of which one located in Kraków. As you know, I'm finishing this internship at Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions Poland S.A. in the beautiful touristic city, Kraków.

Any intern here expects to be challenged in a way that gives them as much valuable knowledge and experience as possible

My internship is mainly about designing hydrogenation technology to convert glycerin into monopropylene glycol, which is used in many industries (like lubricant, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and even the food industry). I strongly believe that, just like it was for me, any intern here expects to be challenged in a way that gives them as much valuable knowledge and experience as possible. And I’m quite happy with this internship because it always challenges me. Although I joined the team almost at the end of the engineering phase, I still got engineering tasks to do. For me the biggest challenge came after the engineering phase ended, when we review vendors' technical proposal for the conversion technology.

You could say it’s a simple task, but it’s a long-term one. Generally, this is when we compare our requirements with the data offered in proposals. It involves a lot of reading and checking, not only the proposals but also any related documents such as data sheets, specifications, drawings, standards, and codes. Sometimes, it also requires calculation, simulation, and analysis to clarify or solve certain problems.

At the beginning, I wasn’t sure I could accomplish this very well since it requires more experience to identify critical parameters already included or not yet written in the proposals. But me and my colleague managed it! We also sharpened our communication skills and creativity to present easy understandable reviews for the proposals revision.

I feel valued by what I’ve performed here.

Something that I'll miss from Air Liquide is the positive work environment, which provides wide opportunities for professional development and growth. First, I feel valued by what I've performed here. During my internship, I'm supervised by a senior engineer, who has profound knowledge and experiences in the field of gas technology. Despite his busy work, he checks all my accomplished tasks thoroughly, discusses and answers my questions, listens and corrects my analysis for any issue which might affect the technology design or simply to advance my knowledge.

Second, the relationships between co-workers are very good because the people here are open and very helpful both at and outside of work. I'm working intensively with one engineer to review proposals. As one team, we don’t find any difficulties in exchanging our ideas, we keep reporting our findings to each other so we’ll both keep updated. Such good atmosphere fosters camaraderie, productivity, and excellence. For those reasons, I always feel motivated to go in to work. 

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 15.21.45.png
It’s not just about gaining but also about sharing knowledge what makes working in a team worthwhile

Doing an internship in a global environment helps me understand the importance of communication and language skills with a new perspective. Since English isn't my native language, it forces me to pay more attention and always be focused during discussions. It also pushes me to be more confident when I speak. Thank's to reviewing proposals, I learned a lot on how to communicate effectively speaking and writing to others. Of course, mastering these skills requires an extra effort to solve problems and one can still make mistakes, but I do really enjoy this learning stage.

As I mentioned before, the fact that I'm working in a team it makes my internship worthwhile, because it’s not just about gaining but also about sharing knowledge. And this ‘give and take’ behavior for me is always beneficial for everyone and fundamental to build trust in the team. 

At last, I hope this post ensures everyone to embrace the challenge to do an internship abroad, especially in Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions Poland S.A.

See you on the next post!

Next stop: Kraków

By Ikha

Następny przystanek : Kraków Główny

Hello! I am very happy to greet you all from Kraków, Poland’s most entrancing city.

Well, if you were not born Polish or do not understand Polish maybe you are wondering what “Następny przystanek” means. But you would automatically understand when you are travelling in Poland and using public transportation like a bus or tram. Yes! It means “Next Stop”.

Exploring Old Town

Since my flat location is very close to the Kraków’s central station, Kraków Głowny is my next stop after arriving at the Airport. The day after I arrived, I met a friend from Spain and we hung out around Kraków’s old town. I fell head over heels with this entire medieval town, and couldn’t stop admiring the charm and beauty of the Main Market Square, St. Mary’s Basilica Church, and Wawel Castle . I remember, I always made my friend laugh because I said "amazing" almost every minute.

St. Mary’s Basilica adjacent to  Main Market Square

St. Mary’s Basilica adjacent to  Main Market Square

Wawel Castle

Wawel Castle

Every challenge leads to learning

 Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions S.A. Poland

 Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions S.A. Poland

I started my internship at Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions Poland S.A. on 3rd July 2017. On the first day, I joined an interesting presentation about the company and had safety induction. Then, I was introduced to the colleagues with whom I am working during this internship. I am quite happy because all co-workers are very kind, friendly, and approachable. Since the beginning of this internship program, my supervisor briefed me about the project they were currently working on and gave me specific tasks related to it. It was quite challenging for me because I hadn't done that kind of engineering tasks before or in my previous job.

In my first month, I've already accomplished several assignments which require engineering analysis skill, thoroughness, and perseverance. I've done case studies and calculations, prepared engineering document lists, and checked process data, drawings, and related documents. I am lucky that I have an eager and excellent supervisor, from whom I can learn a lot. He also excels at delegating tasks, and is very supportive if I get problems with the assigned tasks. Previously I had worked in the field of engineering design, but the project that I handled is basically oil and gas projects. Here I'm gaining tangible experience and skills in the field of petrochemicals. This is really a great stepping-stone for my career.

Exploring the food culture

One of my favorite moments during this internship is lunch break. It might be short sometimes but it's always sweet because I have lunch mates with whom I can relax and sharing our daily life stories or even our cultures. My lunch mates are always excited when they introduced me the hearty traditional Polish cuisines such as Pierogi, Zapiekanka, Zurek, Gołąbki, and Schabowy Kotlet. We also had a fun pot luck together in pantry. I cooked Rendang, it’s kind of Indonesian’s beef curry, and my friend cooked Polish cuisines. Unfortunately, I forgot to capture this moment because we were already hungry. Next time I will take some pictures.

Rendang, Indonesien cuisine

Rendang, Indonesien cuisine

Zapiekanka, Polish street food

Zapiekanka, Polish street food


Having this internship in a such a global company like Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions S.A, staying in a magical city like Kraków, making new friends and hanging out with lovely people from many countries are really beyond my expectation. The Blind Applying campaign is the perfect bridge to cross over to invaluable experiences and adventures. Therefore, I’d like to encourage everyone to participate. And don’t be discouraged because of the high number of applicants. It’s always worth a try.

I still have many stories, you'll hear about them in the next post. See you again. 😊


Meet Ikha, the Blind Applying champion of Air Liquide

Ikha has an academic background in chemical engineering and experience from traveling around the world. Originally from beautiful Jakarta, Indonesia, her adventure with Air Liquide Engineering & Construction Solutions will now take her to Krakow, Poland!


Ikha, what do you think will be the greatest challenge?

Doing internship at Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions in Poland will be my first experience working in a global company. As I know, that this company is the world leader and has quite remarkable reputation in gases technology. So, I believe this company has high quality standard of working. Therefore, the first greatest challenge for me is to achieve my full potential and hone my skills so that I can deliver the assigned tasks with excellence and punctuality.

Additionally, based on my working experiences as a Process Engineer, I consider working in a multi-disciplinary team as one of greatest challenge. But admittedly, multi-disciplinary teamwork is the biggest chance to gain knowledge from other disciplines and integrate the knowledge into all phases of engineering design. Besides, we can also broaden our professional network from this kind of team. So, I will be very excited for both challenges.

What special object will you bring with you to Krakow?

First is my notebook. Perhaps it is more appropriately referred to as a must object rather than special object, because I will definitely need it for my work, study, entertainment, and travel.

Ikha and her notebook

Ikha and her notebook


Second, I actually wanted to take my acoustic guitar with me, so that I can have more fun when I am with friends or even just alone. Unfortunately, due to limited luggage, I should bring lighter things. So, I decided to bring Indonesian cooking spices, because I love cooking, especially cooking for friends.

Lucky friends!

Lucky friends!


What are you looking forward to while working at Air Liquide?

I believe that innovation is one of the key elements of Air Liquide's culture. Therefore, I am looking forward to challenging projects, friendly and innovative working environment, which allow me to explore my interest, to use my experiences, and to grow with creativity in finding the solutions. So, during the internship, I can see the positive impacts of my work on each assigned projects or even on people with whom I work.

A reflection: Thankful for the Blind Applying Experience!

(by Jakob)

Having finished my internship, I want to reflect on my Blind Applying experience as a whole as well as walk you through my last stops on my journey with Enterprise. Since my previous blog, I have visited all the remaining departments in the German operations as well as traveled to the European headquarters in the UK, which is located close to London. The departments were IT, HR, Operations, Risk Management, Rental Systems and Remarketing, which is the department that sells the cars after they have been used in rental. To give you a better understanding of my work, I will delve a little deeper into the tasks I performed in the HR and Operations departments.

My main task during my time with the HR department was, together with the HR team, to develop a strategy to become an even more inclusive employee for disabled people in Germany and attract more employees with disabilities. One of Enterprise’s core values is to reach out to people of all backgrounds and create a diverse work environment that serves a wide range of customers. The implementation of the strategy would help us to live in closer alignment with our core values, as well as save money on government fines. I had the chance to participate in meetings with the German job agency, and talked to different HR representatives in the regional groups, to develop a feasible concept. During my week with HR, I also had the opportunity to participate in a one-day leadership seminar for department managers, in which the focus was on personal development and teamwork. It was exciting to see the diverse responsibilities of the HR team which reach from training to planning the future of the Enterprise workforce.

Before I went the European headquarter, I spent a fun week with Operations. Operations is, on the corporate level, a one-woman department and her team is located in the different groups spread across Germany. It was a really eventful week since operations involves topics such as the real estate of the branches, fire regulation, design of the branches and more. This meant that I joined meetings with the Frankfurt Airport about the fire safety in the parking lots as well as going to the producer of the new signs from all car rental brands owned by the Enterprise holding. I also met with a real estate agency that is proposing suitable new locations for branches throughout the country. I really enjoyed the variety of the work as well as the creativity that was needed when solving problems in fields that were completely new to me.

After the week with operations I had to leave the office a little early on Friday morning to catch the plane to London. It was great that I could spend two weekends in the city and visit some friends that I hadn’t seen in a while to celebrate Halloween together. During the week, I got to learn about the differences and similarities between the operation in the UK and Germany. This gave me the opportunity to visit some departments which Enterprise only has on a European level such as Revenue Management. Furthermore, it was great getting to know my British colleagues better when we went out for dinner and a movie after work.

After returning from the UK, it was time to gather all my notes and observations from the previous 4 months with Enterprise and work on the final presentation which I had to give on my last day. It was great to analyze my experiences, and to look for some issues that I had noticed throughout the different departments and work on solution proposals. Before presenting and discussing my solution with the corporate vice president and his team, I was nervous. It was such a relief when we ended up having a lively discussion and when I got a positive feedback for the presentation as well as for the solution proposals. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone afterwards.

After saying all my goodbyes, I reflect a little bit on the whole Blind Applying journey. When I applied I mainly did it because it was easy and fast and because I was interested in an international experience in a multinational cooperation. I didn’t expect to be selected because of the high number of applicants for so few places. Even though the application process had several steps with different assessments by different people in different cities, it was a good and fun application process that taught me a lot.

Without this program I would not have had a chance to get to know a multinational cooperation on such a deep level and to learn so much about the people who work there in different positions every day. I would have never had the chance to present my ideas and visions to the heads of the company while still in Uni. I am really thankful for the time and the knowledge I got during my time with Enterprise and happy I got to know Enterprise as an employer, which I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I am glad that Blind Applying made this opportunity possible. I would urge everyone who is interested in a new experience to apply since even though it is competitive, the application is done quickly and there is always a chance that you’ll get picked!


From Bonn to San Francisco!

View of the sunrise and San Francisco Bay Bridge

View of the sunrise and San Francisco Bay Bridge

(By Benjamin)

After three months in Germany's former capital, I had to pull up stakes and leave for San Francisco. I worked on some interesting projects during that time, including the launch of a new cyber security product.  However, being at the source of all major innovations and looking into potential partners are exciting prospects as well. 

Magenta 1, Bonn

Magenta 1, Bonn

There are probably not many greater contrasts, coming from the smaller family town of Bonn and arriving at a busy and loud American metropolis. One thing I noticed immediately was that you hear the sirens of ambulances, fire trucks and police cars all the time. That either means they overuse their sirens or life is more dangerous in Fog City. Located on the same latitude as Athens, the climate is very mild and tolerable. The temperatures in October ranged from 16-25°C as opposed to 8-12°C in Germany. San Francisco is indeed foggy, but we still get a lot more sun hours than in Germany, including great views at sunrise. 

View during my way to work: Bay Bridge and Treasure Island

View during my way to work: Bay Bridge and Treasure Island

In my first week at the scouting office, I went to a small pitch event at the infamous Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale together with my colleague Vishy. It was very interesting to listen to a few pitches and talk to the founders afterwards, evaluating a potential partnership fit for Deutsche Telekom. Later that week I had the opportunity to attend TEDx San Francisco, an independently organized event with various speakers about different topics. This year's event in October offered many insightful and inspirational talks, for example about entrepreneurship in China, the blockchain revolution and using blockchain to combat fraud. 

TEDx San Francisco on October 6 at Herbst Theatre

TEDx San Francisco on October 6 at Herbst Theatre

The next projects that I will work on will cover artificial intelligence and its applications for enterprises, industries and consumers. Among other topics, AI is one of the hottest topics in Silicon Valley. Google, Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft even created an AI alliance and just recently Bryan Johnson, founder of Kernel, went one step further and invested USD 100 million into enhancing human intelligence. San Francisco and Silicon Valley are pulsating, innovative places and incredibly fast-moving. I am excited to follow this innovation hotspot for the remaining two months! You are welcome to follow me on Instagram to see more photos of my time in San Francisco @bnjmnch





Paths Are Made By Walking


(by Kevin)

Hey everyone!

Despite still having a very pleasant sun, summer is over and so is my time in Madrid. I guess it’s time for my last blog post. I loved Madrid, the atmosphere on the streets and all its squares, rooftops and patios after sunset, especially in Malasaña but also in other neighborhoods!  I really don’t want to get cheesy and make you drown in stories of my memories. Anyways let me tell you a bit about my work and life experience for the last time on this blog.

The BlindApplying experience has been very enriching. It has been an interesting way of matching with a company I knew about, but that I maybe would not have considered as an employer. The internship has sometimes been demanding but that has also contributed to it being as enriching as it was. I remember my first day here as if it was yesterday. However, thinking of all the things I have done and what has happened, it seems to be more than only three months.

The internship was demanding but that contributed to it being as enriching as it was

For anyone planning to join this initiative, I would highly recommend to give it a try. It’s an experience full of surprises and you have to be willing to take your chances and be open for new experiences. This doesn’t mean just saying it but also feeling it! Other than that I would just repeat the skills I have mentioned in my last post, if you don’t care about meeting and working with people but find it satisfying enough to having a lot of desk work, then a position like mine would probably not be the right thing for you.

Paths are made by walking – And I don’t regret to have walked the way I did!

Well, there are definitely some things that I'm looking forward to when going back home: Finishing my last seminars at the university and getting started/done with the thesis, tea, real bread, meeting some of my friends again and many more. However, I already know that there will be plenty of things that I am going to miss as well: the sun, my colleagues, walking around the city without knowing where you going to end up (life is a journey, not a destination!), the daily breakfast with colleagues. Well, at least there are some parts of this experience that I am not going to miss at all such as my lovely landlord ;-)

Breakfast with colleagues

As the quote that I chose for my self-introduction says: paths are made by walking – And I don’t regret to have walked the way I did!

Well then, goodbye Madrid, goodbye Cualicontrol, goodbye dear readers. See you soon!

All the best,


Flexibility at the core of my internship


(by Jakob)

A lot has changed since my last post. I have moved from the branches and the work in the field to the administrative side of the business. I started working on the group level in one of the 5 German groups for a week, where I was able to spend a day with every department in that level. Then I moved to the corporate level and had the chance to participate with branch managers in a meeting where they got training about a new program and discussed some challenges and best practices in their branches.

On the corporate level, I started with business management. This means I mainly did accounting, but I also had the chance to see how we handle traffic tickets. Then, I joined the vehicle acquisition team and experienced how it is to buy a couple hundred cars at once. The process behind getting the car from the manufacturer or dealer to the branches is more complicated than expected. There is detailed logistic involved in transporting the cars to the right terminals where they get the license plates and Enterprise specifications, as well as getting the license plates in time.

I got the opportunity to join the Vehicle Acquisition team on their Team Day. We went to an escape room and had dinner together afterwards. If you don’t know, an escape room is a game in which players are locked in a room and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit. It was great learning more about my colleagues in a private setting and strategizing together how to solve all the riddles to get out of the room.

Solving puzzles and riddles can really make you hungry!

The most challenging thing is to always adapt to new situations, people and process

After the time with Vehicle Acquisition, I joined the Service Center for a week. The Service Center is mainly responsible as a contact point for the insurance customers and corporate clients, and is in touch with all the branches in Germany. It was exciting to learn about a second customer touch point after seeing the branches and different business segments.

I spent last week with the National Sales Team and the account managers, and visited existing and new customers. I learned about the tender process as well as about our core selling points and how we assess the market. I had the chance to visit a big logistic customer who rents our vans for the Christmas season, when their business increases significantly. After the meeting they showed us their logistic center and explained their processes and what part that we, as a renting company, play in their success.

Senior management takes the time to discuss my questions and concerns, and shows genuine interest in my experience

As it maybe becomes clear in the description of my experience, so far the most challenging thing is to always adapt to new situations, people and processes. Every week is completely different and even within a week I spend a lot of time with different people. This includes getting a lot of information and data and I always have to analyze how they fit in the bigger picture and how to use them for my overall project. It also involves learning about what process is done on which level and what role the European headquarter plays in London and the global headquarter in St. Louis. It is really exciting that senior management takes the time to constructively discuss my questions and concerns and shows genuine interest in my experience and analysis of their work. I am continuously surprised by their openness towards me.

I’ve learned a lot about the car renting industry as a whole, and about Enterprise and the people who work here. I’ve also learned about how a global-acting, American family business works, and how different departments interact across borders. But most of all, this experience has really taught me to be flexible, to process information fast, and to fit it into a more complex picture.

Facing Challenges Makes Room for Opportunities


(by Michelle)

Coming from a background in startups and small companies, my Blind Applying match at Fortune 6 corporation General Motors (GM) felt like a challenge from the start. Automotive was a new area for me too at the time I got my offer, I could barely tell you the make and model of my own car! However, just four days after wrapping up my freshman year, I found myself driving to Detroit, ready to take the challenge head-on.

My manager greeted me with the question, “What do you want to get out of this internship?” This welcoming attitude guided my GM experience as my team went out of their way to find me substantial work. I was placed on the Global Football Marketing team, which was responsible for Chevrolet’s sponsorship of Manchester United. The team was launched in 2014 with large‐scale activations internationally, from the beginning. Therefore, they must be agile and innovative — a quality that I’ve loved at startups. At the same time, they operated within a larger company, which gave us access to more resources, minds, and research than I’d been able to work with in the past.

My team was agile and innovative, a quality that I’ve loved at startups. At the same time, we had access to more resources, minds, and research than I’d ever accessed before

Chevy concept car

I got to sit in on strategy meetings for our nascent music sponsorship, grab coffee with Directors of diverse divisions from Finance to Branded Entertainment, plan and design graphics for large‐scale events in England, China, and India, and even lead projects of my own. My most rewarding project was suggested by my manager after hearing about my experience at the Stanford Design School. When representatives from Manchester United visited GM in Detroit, I got to lead a full‐day design thinking session for 30 managers for the soccer team, Chevrolet, and agency partners. It was an exciting way to apply my knowledge from the classroom to a broader setting and learn to lead a meeting with high stakes. Some of the ideas from the session are being further developed as I write!

As I got more familiar with GM, I found that my team’s encouragement had its roots in the internship program as a whole. As part of the EXCEL program, I was given the opportunity to interface with senior leadership through 1‐on-1's and autobiographical presentations. I was even fortunate enough to speak with Mary Barra, the CEO, at a small intern lunch. She was so warm, sharing her thoughts on balancing family with work, and on the frontiers of the automotive industry from fuel cells to autonomous cars. She has an eye for innovation and a drive to make General Motors a better place I can see that the flexibility my team exhibits has roots in higher parts of the organization.

I can see that the flexibility my team exhibits has roots in higher parts of the organization.

Lunch with CEO Mary Barra and fellow interns!

Outside of work, I explored Detroit with other interns. Like GM, Detroit is best known for its rich history, but it's also quickly moving forward. An agency partner introduced me to a few design and arts events, which were held almost weekly I learned a lot about urban planning in Detroit, and furthered my knowledge of other areas of design that are globally applicable. The food, especially food trucks around the office, were wonderful as well. Detroit also held plenty of options for outdoor exploring: I went skydiving, hiked and kayaked around Michigan’s metroparks, and ran 5Ks on the Riverwalk. Although this was a new city, its small size, friendly people, and constant growth made it soon feel like home.

GM surprised and delighted me in a lot of ways. What I thought would be challenges, such as new industries, created room to grow. Where I thought the structure of a large company might be stifling, I instead found people open to my ideas and looking to make a change. I am especially thankful for my team who always pushed me to be more assertive, creative, and a full member of the company. I gained valuable experience this summer and enjoyed the internship. Can’t wait to see what next year’s “challenges” bring! 

Eat, Learn, Network

(by Oana)

Amazing experience, amazing city, amazing people? That's what a BlindApplying internship at ENGIE sounds like. How do you conclude a summer in Paris where you dived into such an interesting and unique field and learned so much from experienced and friendly people? Well, that is a quite difficult task but I will give my best to write some remarks and conclusions here.

What professional skill did you develop the most through the internship?

My previous background did contain a base in cybersecurity and computer networks, but I have never emphasized these areas since my main previous jobs and internships concentrated on web and mobile development. 

Paris from the 30th floor

Paris from the 30th floor

The internship at ENGIE had in the same package diverse notions like cybersecurity, big data, marketing, business processes, and even sociology. All these skills and knowledge are needed in order to understand, use, and acquire threat intelligence and related tools and services.

Another important professional skill that I developed (more or less intentionally) was of course French.

What is the fondest memory you will take from this experience?

This internship was a real memory-creating machine, but if I were to choose a particular one, it would be one threat intelligence conference in which I participated along with my team, and where I had the chance to meet many interesting people like the chief information security officers of Chanel and Hermès. It was an amazing occasion to learn and network, alongside with eating gourmet food!

What would you recommend to others interested in a similar job or in ENGIE?

If you are planning to apply to a similar job, prepare yourself for challenges, deadlines and many new concepts and information to absorb.

The work environment was professional and friendly. I was always encouraged the ask any question I had, and people helped as much as they could

On the other hand, the work environment in my case was more than professional and friendly. I was always encouraged the ask any question I had, and people were as helpful as possible. The cybersecurity field is a very dynamic one (the most fast-changing one if you ask me). This means that you have to put a lot of effort in order to stay up-to-date with what is happening around the world regarding malware, threat actors, tools, and technologies. It can be a bit tiring sometimes, but the rewards are just as big or even bigger.

That would be all from my side, but one last thing I want to do is wishing you, dear future BlindApplying applicant, good luck and an awesome experience in your internships!

À bientôt!




In Normandy

Innovation is a Mindset


(by Pascal)

A couple of weeks have passed and my internship at Deloitte has ended in the meantime. In my final post about my internship at the Deloitte Garage, I won’t extensively talk about my last duties but rather want to use the opportunity to do a wrap-up of my time at this outstanding team.

Trying a VR set!

Overall, I got a lot of responsibility right from the beginning which, together with topics that changed frequently, decisively shaped my experience in this internship. As I stated before, this would not have been possible without a team, which is characterized by teamwork, professionalism, trust, and a fair portion of fun.

Working with some of the latest pieces of technology and being able to present them in workshops (which I could largely structure independently) was probably among the things which I valued most during that time.

It was our goal to make innovation approachable for our clients, which was a really interesting part of my internship. Jointly, we developed new formats to encourage deep conversations and discussions about definite applications of predefined innovation topics. I guess that the development and use of formats, which are different from the experiences I had in other internships, specifically are a key take-away from the last three months. Additionally, it has always been an open question to me, how innovation, in detail, is linked to new business models, as well as which specific factors are relevant when assessing innovation. I am convinced, that this question has been exhaustively answered.

I have always thought about how innovation is linked to new business models, and about the specific factors that are relevant for its assessment.

In the week before I left, our team met again in Düsseldorf to celebrate and the achievements of the last months. Since we have been quite a large number of interns and working students supporting the team, this was also an occasion to spend some more time together before some of us returned to university to finish our studies. I think all of us were happy and surprised when the team handed us a signed version of a book we used frequently, and a t-shirt of the Deloitte Garage – from my point of view one of the moments which will definitely remain in my mind.

I think that people who like to work with creative solutions on a high quality standard will definitely have fun in such an environment

The Deloitte Garage is a place which values creativity and openness towards new topics and approaches. We worked on quite a number of topics and exchanged the latest trends on the market with each other. Similarly, flat hierarchies and a lot of responsibility even in entry positions or as an intern shape an encouraging and fast-paced working environment – maybe almost similar to a startup. I think that people who like to work with creative solutions on a high quality standard will definitely have fun in such an environment.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this last blog entry: It has been an inspiring time together with great people. At this point I again want to thank the team and Blind Applying for facilitating this internship.


Summer at a workplace that appreciates being playful and open


(by Eric)

Hi again! This post will be my last of the summer. I hope you've been enjoying the previous ones. I've tried to be as detailed as possible to give you an insight into how data science works at Johnson & Johnson (J&J). By now, my internship has already ended and I am in the thick of things again as a graduate student at Columbia. With the fall hiring season starting to get underway at many schools, I'll write for those of you who are curious about life at J&J doing data science. I will also share some fun and interesting activities I enjoyed during the summer, and some thoughts looking back at my experience.

Working hard and playing hard

Before J&J, I had never imagined that an internship could involve activities like going out for laser tag, volleyball, and dodgeball with other interns and people in my team and department. But guess what? That's exactly what happened this summer! Plus, it happened on a work day (a Monday, if I remember correctly). We got the entire day off to go and have fun. Then, after we were all sweaty and worn-out from playing, we didn't have to go back to work. We just headed back home early and had the rest of the day to ourselves. Need I say more about the awesomeness? I think you get the picture.

I'm certainly not suggesting that we all go out and play every day. People at the office, including the interns, work on many projects and get things done. However, I definitely got the sense that my department understood the value of having fun, taking a break occasionally, and getting to know your colleagues outside of the professional environment. There is nothing like throwing foam balls around in dodgeball to hit that mental reset button in your brain. The experience also makes you see your colleagues in a completely new light. Competitive games seem to bring out more of the character in each person, which is pretty fascinating if you're paying attention.

I definitely got the sense that my department understood the value of having fun, taking a break occasionally, and getting to know your colleagues outside of the professional environment.

Many people completely changed when taken out of the formal office setting and dropped in the middle of a dodgeball game. Some became bolder, rushing to the front lines, while others stayed back and played more cautiously. Me? I wasn't afraid to take some hits if I had to, but my best ability was catching the balls, not dishing out the throws (for those not familiar with dodgeball, catching a throw takes out the opponent player and allows you to put back in a team player who was hit earlier). I let the best offensive hitters move to the front and do their thing, then I moved up when they had exhausted their ball supply and went in search of ammunition. Anyway, I digress.


A culture of sharing and collaborating

Here's another interesting fact about the data science team: We were about evenly split between introverts and extroverts. I was pretty surprised when we got the Myers-Briggs results back and saw the distribution (for those of you who are curious, I tested INFP). Yet, despite our drastically working styles and personalities, we all got along together, both in and out of the office. I think it speaks to the kind of environment that J&J fosters and the people they hire that things went as smoothly as they did.

Before I end, there's one last thing I want to mention because I really appreciated this part of the summer: Executive lunch and learn. You show up, get fed, and get to sit down with a manager/director/VP talks about their career and fields, and answer any questions from you and the other interns about just about anything. What could be better? I've heard that a lot of big companies are doing this kind of thing now, but I still have to say, I thought it was an incredible opportunity to hear from the top leaders at J&J. They all took unique paths to get to where they are today. Some started at J&J fresh out of college and moved from role to role, or department to department as they outgrew each position. Others started in a completely different industry and by chance found J&J and came to love the company for its culture.

Hearing the top leaders of Johnson & Johnson tell their stories, each in their personal style and voice, is like nothing else. It gave me a better perspective on my own career and helped me see my own story in different ways.

Hearing them tell their stories, each in their personal style and voice, is like nothing else. It gave me a better perspective on my own career and helped me see my own story in different ways. Sometimes, you'll even hear them talk about fascinating topics that have nothing to do with J&J or their jobs. I remember one time where the speaker was asked a question about his experiences at business school. He started out talking about the MBA program, but after a while launched into a riveting discussion of a class he had taken on economic development. The talk turned into a mini-crash course on the elements that you would need if you wanted to develop a country from the ground up. For someone like me who had never taken a business course but had always been curious about what they taught, listening to him was simply amazing. But maybe that's just me.


Oh, one more thing before I sign off: After hearing him speak at a lunch and learn, I reached out by email to a VP in IT and was able to land a personal 1 on 1 with him in his private office for half an hour. That has got to be a highlight of my summer at J&J.

Well, that's all I have. It's been fun recounting the experiences I've had these past few months. Hope you've enjoyed too. If you have any questions about my experience, I'm active on LinkedIn. Feel free to look me up and shoot me a message!

A closing note: The company really emphasized their credo during the summer, and stressed how fundamental it is to the culture at J&J. It talks about the company’s responsibility to the final users of their products and services, their responsibility to their employees, communities and stockholders. I thought to describe it in my own words but I couldn’t really do it justice. So here it is.

The key to a great work experience: People skills!

(by Kevin)

Hello again!

Summer break is over. After having spend 2-3 lonely weeks at the office, all colleagues are back from their vacation and work rhythm has been increasing constantly ever since.

Although it has been rather quiet at TÜV NORD Cualicontrol, especially during the second half of August, I was still able to advance some projects and had the chance to mingle with colleagues from other departments, which I really enjoyed.

In my last post I told you about having some issues adapting to the heat, mealtimes, etc.  The heat is a bit less of a problem now but still continues. However, as of September 16th working hours are going to switch from summer working hours back to the normal ones, which are similar to the classical 9 to 5 model (Yep – changing working hours depending on the season due to the heat! No lazy afternoons anymore ;-) )

Summer night life at a cultural center

Enjoying the weather on a rooftop terrace

I can’t believe that there is only a few weeks left. Time both at and off work has been passing extremely fast! Time to reflect a bit!

The organizational charts are updated, plus we created a new internal directory helping employees to find the person that they are looking for instead of calling one the offices’ receptionists. The guide on how to get started in Madrid is about to be finished, the international etiquette one still takes some time, as I am interviewing people (both expats and Spaniards) in order to find out what is most important in terms of the guide’s content. Regarding the implementation of a TNG wide e-recruiting platform we have concluded the data gathering so that our colleagues in Essen, Germany may now analyze the project’s feasibility as well as potential costs, building upon experiences with a pilot project they conducted with another TÜV NORD company.

TÜV NORD-approved elevator!

I wanted to talk about skills that have been useful, as well as lessons I've learned, and these two are definitely overlapping, so I’ll just go ahead.

Probably one of the most important points is organization of work itself: Setting priorities, having an overview, and not losing track of anything as I am working on a variety of tasks simultaneously. Everyone knows this but it is definitely still worth mentioning: People skills are indispensable as every task I work on ultimately aims at improving someone’s experience at the workplace! A third but not less important skill/lesson learned is about patience and trust, although I am not sure if that is the appropriate wording. Things here are sometimes organized and handled differently (in relation to how I am used to). Still, everything just works out fine and by now I have found a good middle way, adapting the way I work.

People skills are indispensable as every task I work on ultimately aims at improving someone’s experience at the workplace!

Other than work, I’ve had the opportunity of getting to know this lively city better as well as some other places in its surroundings. Also, I had the chance to spend a long weekend at the beach close to Valencia. Some friends of mine came over to celebrate my birthday, we rented a car and made a little road trip! Here are some pictures from Valencia and Salamanca.

Well then, more news on my internship at TÜV NORD Cualicontrol and my life in Madrid next time!

All the best,


Thriving in a diverse environment

(by William)

William has just returned from Thailand after completing his Blind Applying internship at Michelin’s marketing department. Did you know that they have their Southeast Asia headquarters in Bangkok? Now you do. William talked to us about his tasks and responsibilities, what he learned, and the challenges of working in an international and interconnected environment.

He had three main tasks during the internship: 1) Working on operational marketing on the Michelin Pilot Sport Experience event, 2) measuring the return on investment (ROI) for the event, and 3) digital marketing. Each task came with its own rewards and challenges, but the most important, William said, was to enjoy the variety of tasks and sharpen his interpersonal skills.

What did you like the most?

At the Michelin Pilot Sport Experience

First of all, that the tasks were really diverse. For example, for digital marketing I worked on the launch of some websites, social media, planned communication, and also with videos and photos. Then with the Michelin Pilot Sport Experience I even was sent on a business trip to Malaysia to work on the Formula 1 circuit. For the ROI task the most interesting was that it had not been done before for the whole of Southeast Asia. They asked me to create a methodology to measure it, which involved a lot of data collection and working on spreadsheets. All of these are subjects that I am very interested in, and I got to work on all of them.

It was also very rewarding that Michelin gave me some big responsibilities and autonomy. For events and the ROI task I needed to get sensitive data and make extractions from their databases, and they trusted me with that. It also involved getting in touch and collaborating with colleagues and stakeholders in other locations.

Working in a diverse environment wasn’t only about the tasks. The internship involved a lot of collaboration with people, and also a big focus on customer relationships. I was working on an international team, so everyone in the marketing department were from different countries. We had different cultures and backgrounds, and it was really interesting.

Working in a diverse environment wasn’t only about the tasks. I worked with an international team, so everyone had different cultures and backgrounds.

What unexpected experiences did you have?

I had never worked in such a big company, and it took some time to get used to the processes. I had previous experience working in startup environments and the main difference is that in a big company like Michelin, whenever you want to kick off a project there is a process to be followed.

There were also some differences with the university environment. At my university the experience was more academic. But it was great to apply all the marketing knowledge that I got at university and put it to practice in a business environment. I was able to use all the theory I knew to do my work the best I could.

What was it like to work at Michelin?

I liked that the responsibilities were big. Especially when you compare it to a startup environment, the figures you work with are much bigger. But you also had to stay creative and come up with ideas about how to strengthen brand loyalty with tire dealers and consumers. Sometimes you have to find really innovative solutions to work with the resources that you have.

All ready for the guests!

The processes were also quite detailed. When working with video or photo, for example, we worked hard on our storyboards and tried to always come up with the best shots and angles, and how to make it fit with Michelin’s branding.

Another thing I found interesting is the market segmentation that Michelin does. I got to understand how a company so big can segment the customers to better address their demands and do better marketing.

Can you tell us about a specific challenge that you faced during the internship?

My most important task was creating the methodology for calculating the ROI on the Michelin Pilot Sport Experience in Malaysia. I had to ask each country in the division to give me files detailing their processes to be able to make an overall methodology. But data collection proved to be very difficult, I really had to make an effort to communicate what I needed from all stakeholders and get the relevant information. What I did to overcome this obstacle was to focus first on one country, and I chose Australia. I analysed their processes for selecting the guests as well as their cost-benefit measurements, their plans for raising brand loyalty and consumer awareness. From there I was able to reproduce the methodology so it could be used in all of Southeast Asia.

My biggest challenge was about communicating efficiently and building strong relationships with other stakeholders.

The task was about much more than getting the data. I had to go into deep relationships with some of the countries in order to make it work. In the end it was about responding to the responsibilities and autonomy that was given to me, and taking good decisions so I could make it to my final presentation about the ROI.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work with marketing at Michelin?

Be prepared to work on many different areas, especially for a role like the one I had. I think the most important part of my internship was to be able to work in diverse subjects with different people. The setting and collaboration were very international both with colleagues in other locations and also my own team in Bangkok. You have to be able to work in an English-speaking environment with very different cultures.

You also have to be willing and prepared to learn a lot, about the business and about yourself. Thanks to the internship I got to work more closely with figures for digital marketing, and I learned that I actually enjoyed doing that.

For people to thrive in this company you have to be open minded, able to adapt, and learn a lot, all the time. But if you are humble, you will be able to fully enjoy it.

Michelin will really take care of you. They will explain how to do things, and they will give you tasks that are interesting to you and will help you develop your skills and autonomy.

For people to thrive in this company you have to be open minded, able to adapt, and learn a lot, all the time. But if you are humble, you will be able to fully enjoy it. I would recommend it to my friends.


Getting started with a variety of tasks and opportunities

(by Jakob)

At Enterprise I am doing a rotational internship that focuses on operations and process optimisation. This means that I have the opportunity to visit a different Enterprise department every week and to learn about its role within the company as well as about how it operates. At the end of the internship, I will present my thoughts and ideas on how Enterprise can improve and satisfy even more customers in Germany and Europe. I will present to Jim Strack and to the members of his team who are in charge of the German market.

The new hire orientation day. Every new intern and management trainee goes through it before starting at Enterprise.

Team in the city branch

I am amazed about the extent of the access to data and information that Enterprise has provided me with. At Enterprise interns are treated in exactly the same way that employees are too. The data will help me to understand the operation even better and to succeed in my project. I was positively surprised when I heard about my task and learned that Enterprise is interested in a critical outsider perspective of their business.

I was met by a motivated team that showed me every aspect of the car rental business.

With this challenging task in mind, I have completed the new hire orientation program that every new German employee is required to attend before starting in a branch as an Intern or Graduate Management Trainee. It was great to meet new people from different walks of life who will start their Enterprise career at one of the many German branches.

After the three-day orientation I was at the Frankfurt city branch for a week, which gave me the opportunity to really understand the core business of Enterprise and to interact with customers on a daily basis. There, I was met by a motivated team that showed me every aspect of the car rental business.

In my third week I moved to Germany’s biggest branch, which is the one at the Frankfurt airport. It has been exciting to compare the relatively small branch I worked in last week with the large one I am at now, particularly as it relates to their customer bases. The airport department serves more international and business clients and fast processes are even more important than in a city branch. Teamwork is absolutely crucial, since more employees are working together to rent a car to a customer.

Even though it has been challenging to start every Monday at a different location with new people and new tasks, it is also very exciting to get such a thorough understanding of the company, and I very much look forward to the weeks to come. Everyone has welcomed me with open arms and with a genuine interest in showing me every aspect of the business. At Enterprise everybody started as a Management Trainee, even the very senior people, so they all know what being a Trainee is like.

Teamwork is absolutely crucial, since more employees are working together to rent a car to a customer.

Frankfurt on the weekend (boat trip)

Enterprise aside, working in Frankfurt has also meant getting to know a different city. Last weekend, I had a friend visiting me and we explored my new home for the next few months with great weather and a boat trip on the Main River. Frankfurt presented itself from its best side.

Until next time,

My internship at peek & Cloppenburg: delivering the future of fashion

Dear reader, it has been two months now that I joined Peek & Cloppenburg and my short summer internship is almost over. Finally, I would love to share the amazing insights with you:

During the first two weeks of my internship I worked in the sales department in Stuttgart. It is one of the numerous retail clothing stores, where I experienced direct contact with customers, and helped them finding well-fitting clothes. These two weeks on the sales floor were very helpful for me to understand the supply chain of one of the biggest fashion retailers in Germany. After my time as a sales representative I moved to the headquarters of P&C in Düsseldorf to join the Menswear Buying Team.

I accompanied buyers and collection managers to meet suppliers and order products that will be in stores next season.

How can I describe my impressions of the Buying department at Peek & Cloppenburg so far? It is super exciting! These two months were full of valuable experiences: I could not only join Peek & Cloppenburg for a recruiting event and the high-fashion fair “Premium” at the Berlin Fashion Week, I also accompanied buyers and collection managers in Düsseldorf to meet their suppliers and to order products that will be in the stores next season.

My daily tasks are: working together with designers in order to develop products for P&C, and supporting the collection manager of the brand Montego in planning, ordering and allocating the products in the different stores. The third part of my responsibility is supporting the Merchandise Controller in forecasting and planning for the current and upcoming season, which is very important as the retail business is always revenue-driven and number-oriented.

One of the reasons why I felt so comfortable here is the location: Düsseldorf is a great city for a nice German beer and a dinner after work at one of the breweries in the center, as well as for a run with colleagues at the Rhine river promenade or for fashion shopping at the “Kö” :).

I warmly recommend uploading the CV on the Blind Applying platform if you are open- minded to new cities and great adventures!

Have a nice day!

data science and design: finding solutions that work

(by Eric)

In my last post, I described my working environment at Johnson & Johnson and touched on some of my work. This time, I'll reflect on some lessons I have learned over the summer. Along the way, you'll hear about the types of projects you might tackle and the kinds of challenges you might encounter.

Understanding the needs of the user

One thing that surprised me is that Data Science projects don't just rely on ideas from Computer Science, Statistics, or Machine Learning. There are really important human-centered considerations that often go under-appreciated and under-explored. For example, in my projects, I would perform the initial data exploration, run the algorithms to extract useful patterns from the data, and arrive on a viable solution for the problem at hand.

I needed, first and foremost, to focus on empathizing with the people for whom I was solving the problem

All well and good – in total, this would take at least 1-2 weeks to get right. However, my work didn't end there. It then became my responsibility to present the results. I can imagine what you might be thinking now – spin up a PowerPoint slide deck, drop in some nice graphs from Excel, and let it rip, right? Wrong. Turns out, it wasn't enough to be a confident and clear speaker. It wasn't even enough to be skilled at constructing pretty PowerPoint slide decks and Excel charts. What I needed to focus on above all was to get into the heads of the people for whom I was solving the problem.

That way, I could understand what they wanted, which meant I could tell a compelling story (using PPT and Excel) of how the proposed solution worked and how it would positively affect the business, the clients, and the end users. That's what mattered and what the work needed to address.

On the Data Science side, while it was somewhat important to spend time looking for the best possible machine learning architecture, for ex. tuning the set of learning hyper-parameters, and eking out as high as possible a test dataset accuracy rate, these efforts were all wasted in the end if I couldn't get the people I was presenting to to appreciate the usefulness of my work or sell them on the idea of using my proposed solution.

While it is important to look for the best possible technical solution, the efforts are wasted if you cannot convince people on the usefulness of your work

That nearly happened on one of my projects; I spent 3 weeks with another intern building a usable prototype for automatic customer complaint labeling, only to find out at the end of the project, when we demonstrated our final proposal for the business users, that what we presented didn't address the exact problem they thought we were going to solve. It turned out this error was caused by some fuzzy definitions in the project requirements, as well as some unintended miscommunication between our Data Science group and the business users who commissioned the work. Luckily, our project leaders were able to smooth things over and we satisfied the business users by spending additional time adjusting our solution to their expectations. That experience taught me valuable lessons in project management that I definitely won't forget in the future when I get to be the one leading.


Data Science isn't just for mathematicians

On that same topic of Human-centered considerations, you might be surprised to know that there is a place in Data Science for those interested in Design and Human-Computer Interaction. Another intern in the Data Science group was majoring in that field at Carnegie Mellon. One of her projects involved working with two other Data Science interns to design an “intelligent” (in the Artificial Intelligence sense) app for use by certain J&J customers. For that project, she choose to work at two J&J-owned locations; on some days, she would be located with the Data Science group in NJ, while on other days, she would commute to a J&J Design studio in NYC. During that time, she acted as the unofficial liaison between the Data Science group and the Design group, coordinating efforts and making sure nothing was lost in translation in the flurry of work emails. Her work on that project included mocking up color schemes and data visualizations and designing the user experience for that app. Pretty interesting and thought-intensive work, from what I could see, and quite a contrast from what I was doing.

As for the other interns on that same project, one was studying Epidemiology and another Finance. Not the backgrounds you might expect from a Data Science team, but they were doing impressive work as well. To give you a taste, their work involved designing and building the behind-the-scenes structure of the app previously mentioned – setting up a database scheme to store data gathered from app users; customizing a publicly available AI engine for the needs of the app; and writing the overarching logic that would combine the user interface, AI engine, and storage database into a seamless user experience. By the end of the project, they had not only built the framework of the app, but also created a completely functioning prototype that you could download and try out on your own phone. Isn't that something?


Learning never ends

I'm going to finish up this post by briefly mentioning my other summer projects and highlighting the most salient lessons from these experiences.

The first project I completed during my internship was purely statistical in nature. It involved finding patterns in medical device sensor data that would forewarn of impending device failure and shutdown, events that if left unchecked would require maintenance calls costing millions of dollars in total. For that project, I processed data and fit statistical models in R and visualized results in Tableau. Ultimately, I showed that anomalous measurements from very specific sensors would predict failure at least a day in advance. During the project, I first learned how to use Tableau to visualize data and create easy to understand dashboards for presentations.

The third project (the automatic customer complaint labeling project was my second), which is still ongoing, involved designing a general framework for analyzing and visualizing the behavior of product quality metrics across US for the J&J enterprise. Once completed, this framework would be used to predict and prevent future product quality problems, recalls, shortages, and costly government sanctions. If anything, this project's lessons built on the previous one's.

It is important to start somewhere, anywhere, so that one wouldn’t get stuck in the weeds of over-analyzing solutions

One of our working group's major challenges was figuring out what exactly the requirements and expectations of the business users were so that we could translate them into a solution design. For a problem with such a broad scope, it turned out to be very difficult! Various business users affected by the project, each had their own vision of what kind of analysis we should do and what the final product should look like. Finally, for the sake of simplicity, we decided to build a prototype that would incorporate specific convenient features and definitions and then modify it in the future according to user feedback. For me, that was a lesson in the importance of starting somewhere, anywhere, even if it wasn't the perfect place, so that one wouldn't get stuck in the weeds of analyzing and over-analyzing every possible solution.

Well, that's all I have for now. Hope you enjoyed! For my last post of the summer, I'll concentrate on life at J&J besides work and mention some things you might look forward to if you get to work here. Stay tuned!

Overcoming your fears and learning to manage information

Improvement is only possible when we keep moving forward despite our fears. Chloé has learned during her internship with Bayer that practice makes perfect, and that every challenge can make you stronger and better. She talked to us about collaboration between departments, having efficient communication, and discovering the US.

What has been the most exciting aspect of your internship?

I learned a lot from the Marketing and Sales roadmap program. The most interesting aspect of the project was to train the Sales Representatives with the new tool we have been preparing. I liked the fact that we were able to interact with them directly and have their feedback. IT and Sales seem very far and so different from each other in a company, but both departments are working very closely in Bayer. More generally, I’ve met brilliant and dedicated people and learnt a lot from them.

Has there been a challenge you encountered?

The main challenge I encountered was always being able to provide excellent work, even if English is not my mother tongue. When I was in a meeting and had to speak, I was anxious to make grammatical mistakes. For me it is very important to speak in perfect English as I want to build my career abroad. It also demonstrates credibility. My second challenge was to prove the ability to communicate with people at all levels and from different departments, especially with high-level executives.

What have you learned from it?

And keep them relevant!

I have been able to significantly improve my English in only 4 months. On the other side, because Senior Executives' schedules are tight and they have to make lots of high-stakes decisions, I had to quickly and clearly present information that’s important to them and ask relevant questions. This was very important to get their attention and their support.

I’ve met brilliant and dedicated people, and learnt a lot from them.

Any cool stories from life/ culture in the US?

In general and especially in the workplace, Americans are not shy to speak up and most of the time they are going after what they want. I really like their way of voicing their ideas. There is also a permanent “can-do attitude” that I appreciate. On a practical side, I found it really cool how convenient everything is: there are Drive-Thrus everywhere and some places are even open 24/7!

Getting started in Madrid: HR topics and bread with tomato

(by Kevin)

¡Hola a todos!

A few days after my last exams I moved to the vibrant capital of Spain in mid July. Despite knowing I was coming here for quite some time (since April), it has been a bit hectic and chaotic in terms of preparation regarding all the formalities. Especially with the overall coordination, as it has been the first time taking part in Blind Applying for everyone (TÜV NORD Group, TÜV NORD Spain, my university, the Erasmus+ office, and of course for myself). However, I must say it has been quite an enriching experience so far. Maybe even partly due to the challenges we had to overcome? ;-)

Other than these administrative issues, there have been several pleasant experiences so far. My colleagues are very nice, the atmosphere is friendly. People usually have some breakfast together in a café downstairs around 11am, coffee and some bread with tomato. This half- hour break helps not only to alleviate the stress but especially to socialize as well. Currently everyone talks about planning their vacation and as I am not going to have any, well… that’s the only thing frustrating but that’s not what I am here for and I will definitely still enjoy the weekends!

The break time helps to alleviate the stress and especially to socialize.

Other than bureaucracy and timing of meals (breakfast at 11am, lunch around 3pm, siesta and no dinner before 9pm) as well as the heat and the drought, which I am now getting used to, I’d say there haven’t been any other difficulties in particular.

At work I am fully integrated and working on organizational topics in HR, internal communication, as well as on cultural awareness issues and now getting started with a project on e-recruiting. In particular that means that I have been working with the executive committee to update organizational charts, and that I have been working with both Spanish and German staff to get started on to two guides: One on how to get started in the city of Madrid (as I have told you, formalities have been challenging) and another one on business etiquette and life in Spain. I am not so sure how to write such a thing without stereotyping, but I’m on it!

Regarding the e-recruiting tool, we are still in the preparation phase, meaning I am mostly gathering data among employees to determine the needs as well as to check the feasibility.

Well, that’s it is for now! I’ll keep you posted.

All the best from sunny Madrid,

Telekom's innovation hotspots

Public park “Hofgarten” with the University of Bonn in the background.

(by Benjamin)

Starting my Blind Applying internship at the Deutsche Telekom headquarters in Bonn was quite overwhelming: The offices of Europe’s largest telecommunication operator are spread all over the city and it is shockingly easy to get lost in each of them. It is no wonder that Deutsche Telekom is omnipresent in the former German capital. The company has over 220.000 employees world-wide, with 110.000 employees in Germany, and 11.000 based in Bonn alone. 

The team I am supporting is called Group Business Development & Partnering. I will support it in Bonn from July until September, and in San Francisco from October until December. The team is based at one of the largest Telekom offices in Bonn located at Landgrabenweg.

Some of the many courtyards at Landgrabenweg.

The team Group Business Development & Partnering works on scouting and establishing partnerships with innovative companies all over the world. Their scouting offices in San Francisco (USA) and Tel-Aviv (Israel) continuously screen these important innovation hotspots and evaluate potential partner firms and their products. Thereby, they aim at systematically introducing disruptive innovation into Telekom’s product portfolio for Germany and all other national subsidiaries. The first projects in which I have participated are in the areas of cyber-security for both private and corporate customers, and also entertainment services.

It is exciting to be part of influential projects in an international setting.

One of the challenges was to get an overview of all company-internal stakeholders involved in a product launch process. Telekom has an immense organizational structure with many predefined processes and wide-spread responsibilities, which is not simple to grasp at the beginning.

However, it is very exciting to be part of these influential projects in a highly international setting and I am looking forward to the remaining four months and the new tasks lying ahead.