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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.