Blind Applying

Meet William, The Blind Applying Champion Of Michelin!

William is finishing his Master in Management at ESCP Europe in Paris. His skills in branding will prove useful in his marketing internship at Michelin in Bangkok, Thailand. William will be sharing his stories on his blog.

What was your first thought when you learned that you got the internship at Michelin?
I was very pleased when I learned that I got an internship with Michelin because it was really sudden. I had even forgotten that I had applied on Blind Applying. So it was a really positive surprise.

You have worked as part of a team of online mentors. What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching?
First of all, to see the progress of a student is incredibly rewarding. Especially when they get their first good grade and they are completely astonished and you are there to enjoy this good time with them. Moreover, it is very interesting to have a bunch of students who are from different backgrounds and face different difficulties. You always have to be flexible and never stop changing your pedagogical style to be the best teacher possible.

A book you will take with you to Thailand?
I will take the 4-hour work week of Tim Ferriss or the book I have published this year “Je donne des cours depuis mon canapé”.

 

Meet Theo, The Blind Applying Champion Of L'Oréal

While taking a break from studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the Carroll School of Management in Boston, Theo is taking up the Marketing summer internship at L’Oréal in New York. He will be sharing his experience through his blog.

What are you most looking forward to while working at L'Oréal?
First and foremost is the content of work. I have two older sisters who have a profound interest in fashion, so I’ve surely been exposed—at times, overexposed—to the importance cosmetics can have in every day life. I’m thrilled to now be able to approach cosmetics from the other side, working for the biggest brand in the industry. Second, the people. The friendliness of my two interviewers and their genuine passion about L’Oréal truly sold me on the company. I never would have thought to apply for a position at L’Oréal, but if my interviewers are at all representative of the L’Oréal employees as a whole, I feel extremely blessed and humbled by the opportunity I have before me this summer!

You've been playing Lacrosse for multiple years now. What has Lacrosse taught you about business?
Lacrosse has taught me a lot more about business than one may assume. Beyond the standard characteristics associated with sports such as work ethic, team work, leadership, etc., lacrosse is what sparked my entrepreneurial spirit. Being from Minnesota, lacrosse was not the most popular sport growing up. I soon found that people’s inexperience with the sport provided an opportunity for me: customizing sticks. I started my own stick customization company in 7th grade which I ran for about 4 years, and this experience has been fundamental in helping me develop my passions and career interests.

A book you will take with you to New York?
Common Sense 101: Lessons from G.K. Chesterton by Dale Ahlquist. This book has been on my reading list for a while. I’m a bit of a quote junky and have always loved G.K. quotes, so I felt this would be a good segue into his literature. I also have a bit of a thing for english authors (major J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling fan over here).

Meet Linda, the Blind Applying champion of Peek & Cloppenburg

Linda is finishing her double Bachelor’s in International Management and will be working in Buying at Peek & Cloppenburg. What stories will she be sharing through her blog?

What are you most looking forward to while working at Peek & Cloppenburg?
I am looking forward to getting an insight into how a large fashion retail company manages their supply chain, with a particular interest in how buying, in which I will be doing my internship, is contributing to the company’s success. I am also most certainly looking forward to broadening my horizons in the fashion industry, improving my skills and learning from the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry.

What's the best aspect about working in fashion?
For me personally working in fashion means working with highly creative, interesting and enthusiastic people. I believe the most interesting part is the changing consumer trends and demands that fashion brands must predict and adapt to constantly. I need a challenging environment in order to grow and develop professionally, and I believe the fashion industry can provide this for me.

About a year ago, you were doing voluntary work in Zanzibar. What did you take away from this experience?
I took away an understanding of how to work with people from a different cultural background, who had completely different perspectives, and another view on the world. In the beginning it was difficult to adapt to the circumstances and to integrate into the community, but after some time I felt at home, and found it hard to leave such a colourful island with such amazing people. 

Meet Eric, the Blind Applying champion of Johnson & Johnson

Eric has been finishing his Master’s in Statistics at Columbia University. Models and statistical analysis will prove useful at his Data Science internship at Johnson & Johnson. He will be sharing his stories and insights through his blog.

Were you surprised to find a professional match with Johnson & Johnson?
Yes, I was completely taken by surprise. It hadn't occurred to me that Johnson and Johnson was looking to hire people with knowledge in statistics, machine learning, or data science. Lucky for me, they started their data science internship program only a few years ago, so I get to be one of the lucky ones to help shape the influence and future direction of data science at the company.

What has been an interesting learning for you while working with data? 
In my deep learning course, I've enjoyed seeing firsthand how effective deep neural networks can be at accurately learning features from data. For the course final project, I worked on a team that achieved a classification accuracy of > 99% on the well known MNIST dataset. This is a remarkable result because this level of accuracy rivals human levels of performance. It's really quite fascinating that such a result is achievable despite the fact that the scientific community still doesn't really have a good explanation for how neural networks do what they do.

3 songs that will be on your playlist this summer?
Believe it or not, I listen to a lot of pop country. First 3 songs that played when I hit shuffle: Days Go By (Keith Urban), We Are Tonight (Billy Currington), and American Honey (Lady Antebellum).

Meet Pascal, the Blind Applying champion of Deloitte

Pascal, having studied Aviation Management at EBS Business School, will be joining the innovative team at Deloitte Garage in Mannheim. He will be sharing his stories through the blog.

What new experiences are you looking forward to while working at Deloitte?
The upcoming internship is different from my experience so far, because I have the chance to work on highly relevant and innovative projects. I am really looking forward to learning more about current market developments in this segment and to work together with small, as well as large businesses. I guess the approach to the different projects might be entirely different from each other. I am also happy to spend this time together with an outstanding team, which I have already gotten to know during my interviews at Deloitte.

What is your pro tip when it comes to consulting and client relations?
Being open minded and interested in learning something new is probably my tip for consulting. I think it helps to build relations with the team as well as the client. Consulting is not only about delivering presentations to the client. It is mostly about interaction and questioning the current status of one’s business. Hence, I am convinced that an unbiased approach and the motivation to discover new value for the client is beneficial to maintain high motivation - even in stressful projects.

Favourite meal to prepare after a day at work?
I am pretty much a fan of having a barbecue - especially in the summer. Maybe some grilled steaks, sausages, or vegetables. I like a lot of things like this. However, what I like the most about having a barbecue is to invite friends over for dinner. I think it is a great opportunity to meet casually and spend the evening together. Plus, you can have a barbecue anywhere. I am really looking forward to testing the grill at the Rhine during my internship in Mannheim.

Meet Oana, The Blind Applying Champion Of ENGIE!

Oana, studying Business Informatics at the Vienna University of Technology, will be researching the cybersecurity market for ENGIE in Paris. Interested to know more? Oana will be sharing her stories on her blog

Have you wished to work for ENGIE before?
Working in the energy field was always something I seriously considered since it is running in the family (my father is an engineer in a local thermal power station). Getting an internship in cybersecurity at ENGIE exceeds my expectations. It's clearly an amazing opportunity and the best career move I could do at the moment. Until now I have only worked in institutes, start-ups or medium-sized companies, so you can imagine that I am very excited to learn and work in a company of such magnitude.

What is your favourite programming language and why?
I know that in such matters I should take into consideration a long list of pros and cons, but when it comes to the personal favourite, I will turn on the subjective side. Java was the first programming language I learned in a continuous and consistent way and it was the key in getting my first real job as a mobile developer. It helped me understand and learn major programming concepts and later on, allowed me to create a small personal portfolio by developing and publishing several Android apps.

Which social media channel will you be using most to communicate your adventures in Paris to your friends?
As expected I will probably do a lot of posting on Facebook. I create a photo album for every country I visit, so I predict a very large one for France. Also, I hope I will have some time to dust off my old travelling blog where I am gathering my lessons learned and highlights.

Learning Swiftly: How coding in a new language transformed my skillset as an engineer

Over the past few weeks, I have been working on an internal Johnson & Johnson application. Prior to this internship, most of the coding I had done was individual and never really dealt with user interfaces. When you’re coding with a team, you feel much more inclined to keep everything clean and follow good practices. It is important for any team member to look at any piece of code and know exactly what is going on.

Form has to follow function

Most of my experience in school and at home has been with Java, but everything that our team has been working on is in Swift. It can be intimidating to learn a new language, but it has been enjoyable. I’ve found that most of the concepts are the same with differences in syntax, but I have grown to like Swift during the time I’ve spent here.

The ability to work with user interfaces is one crucial skill that I’ve learned. Most classes in school are more concerned with concepts and less so with user interaction. Functional code is only half of the battle. If it isn’t aesthetic, then nobody will feel comfortable using it.

Learning through challenges

One of the biggest challenges that I have faced while working on the application is the lack of resources that exist in regards to Swift. Languages that I am used to such as Java or C++ have existed for decades and nearly every issue that you could encounter has happened to somebody else before. Swift is only a year old and still has a lot to work out. Not many people are using it at the moment, but it is likely to be very relevant in the future.

The way I have overcome this obstacle has allowed me to develop some important coding skills. I find myself debugging conceptually instead of syntactically. With other languages, it can be far too easy to find the same issue online and copy a line of code. With Swift, you might find yourself researching a similar issue in objective-C and applying it to your situation. While this may not solve the problem as quickly, I find myself developing a better understanding for why the problem arose and how it can be solved.

"A dragster themed stop light, a number of license plates, street signs, and even an area of wires and devices themed to be a wall of tools. These are just some of the interesting touches that make developers truly feel like they are in a garage."

The more you know...

My inspiration for learning and overcoming obstacles is the ease that comes along with it. Every new language that I learn is even easier than the previous one, and every obstacle I face is one that I’ll never need to solve again. All coding knowledge is cumulative, and the frustration that is involved decreases as your ability improves. The exposure to real world coding that I am getting at Johnson & Johnson has completely transformed my skillset as a computer engineer.

The hurricanes blew me from the far North …

With a hurricane on my back, I arrived after 2 days in my car at my new home in Munich. This was the first time I came to Bavaria, except for the few hours job interview three months before. I was very excited to see how Bavarians are, because they represent everything the rest of the world is thinking of Germany - Beer, Sausages & Kraut and Leather trousers. The first days in Munich the weather was very uncertain. I have seen snow falling down, rain, sunshine and everything between.

What do an athlete from Olympia ‘72 and me have in common?

For the period of my internship, I found a small bungalow to live in. So I landed in the so called “Olydorf”. It is the old athletes' village from the Olympics in 1972. Nowadays it is completely restored and a whole village only for students. Here you can find everything you need for your daily life, like grocery stores, bakeries, a laundry, all kind of doctors, restaurants and the “Bierstube”.

The room is a bit small, but on two floors. I had my own bath, a “kitchen” – two plates to cook and a small fridge - and a balcony where the sun is always shining. The view is quite nice …not. They are all standing very close to each other, so you get to know your neighbors quite intense. There is always someone around who will take your packages from the parcel service and if you need milk, eggs, sugar or beer you won’t struggle to find someone to help you out. Furthermore you can nearly get or exchange everything with the village currency: beer.

The bungalow can be painted by the students. Everybody is allowed to paint their own bungalow in the color and pattern they like. Mine will be painted in two weeks, when my good friend Ben is visiting me here in the Olydorf – this was actually Ben's bungalow beforehand.

The ABC of HR marketing

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(by Jennifer Mbunga)

I decided I wanted to major in International Management because I always saw myself working in (people) management: leading a team, motivating staff, training and the likes. Really I should have studied Human Resources Management (HRM) instead.

During my academic year in in the U.S. I finally took an HRM class. The intro class to the subject was rooted in labor law (Equal Employment Opportunity which is antidiscrimination laws, etc.). I soon realized that HR is more than just people management. It includes various functional areas such as planning, staffing, developing, compensating and appraising. Human Resources (HR) practitioners are becoming business partners in organizations and the role of personnel as source of competitive advantage is increasing.

My internship at Enterprise has shown me the strategic elements of HR in an organization that considers its people to be the most valuable resource. Implementing some elements of the HR strategy myself, I have learned the following HR ABC, amongst other things.

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A for Analytics

HR is quantitative. Numbers seem to follow me everywhere. And though they seemed very complex at first when you export them into an Excel workbook, once I got the hang of them, it was clear why tracking candidate engagement online is so important. Analytics is crucial for e-recruiting as it helps take on a more targeted approach for recruiting online. Using free tools like Google Analytics helps identify which job boards, career networks, etc. bring in the most traffic and applications. In order to track how many people come to your website and where they came from, cookies are added to a URL link.

Analytics is also very useful for SEO (search engine optimization) as it allows you to identify the main keywords candidates search for and employers can then purposely place them on their websites to come up when you search for the keywords in Google. Other hieroglyphs that I have encountered related to analytics are CTR (click through rate), CPC (cost per click) and C/H (cost per hire).

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B for Branding

HR is marketing. Just like companies market their products to appeal to consumers, companies market themselves to be considered an employer of choice (EOC). An employer brand is basically a company’s reputation and what candidates associate with a corporate name. Candidates commonly want to work for companies whose products and services they like and know of.

Blogging can be used as a tool of employer branding. Through storytelling candidates can get a better idea of what the company is all about and hear firsthand from people that already work there.

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C for community management

One of my tasks during my internship at Enterprise is to blog for the new social hub on the German website. As a social media community manager, my task is to find relevant content and put it in a format that is engaging and fun to read.

Social media has become so important and many new jobs are emerging because of this trend. There are many new career opportunities in this field. You should look into it if you love using Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and Vine at work.

Corporate culture. People work with people and not organizations, so corporate culture is the most important thing within an organization. Some even say it’s a company’s DNA. One thing I love about Enterprise is how laid back everybody is. Upper management is very down to earth and approachable. To me those are the key qualities I look for in a leader. The company believes in employees being peers regardless of rank or time with the company. As an intern I have been treated as a regular team member. During my week at the German corporate office I even got a chance to have breakfast with the new VP of German Operations. We ran into each other at the breakfast buffet and he took some time to chat with me about Blind Applying.

Berlin, Oxford & Co. - Some Insights From My “Berlin” Life

(by Laura Kuehn)

Hello, bonjour, Tach och!

Back again! The past 2 weeks were full of traveling, enjoying good  food&music. But have a look yourself!

Have you ever heard about the “Karneval  der Kulturen” (Carneval of cultures) in Kreuzberg? If not, it’s definitely worth a trip! There was delicious food from all over the world, stages with drummers, people dancing around. To make a long story short – it was a unique culinary & multicultural experience!

Speaking of culinary experiences – I really  fell in love with Berlin’s gastronomy. Fresh flavours with cinnamon, anise,  coriander, mint & lime leaves…Simply delicious!

Oxford calling! Felt as if Harry, Hermine, Ron & Co. were about to come by every second. With its lovely and historical colleges and the typical English lawn this lovely town is a  must see when visiting London & its surroundings! 

Aaand lucky me! Already heard a lot about the famous rivalry between Oxford & Cambridge boat races. This weekend I  was in the midst of an Oxford intern boat competition. Really impressive  & fascinating this old aristocratic tradition…

All good things come to an end…This time  from London Heathrow Airport…with this red lady walking in front of me…Perfect snapshot!

With a smile I passed this drink vending machine…Coca-Cola is really omnipresent! :)

Time to move…again!  I have to admit that I have stopped counting how many times I have already done this the past year. But this time I had a very warm welcome. My new “home” for the next 2 months was welcoming me with these gifts and a lovely letter from my landlords.

Finally!!! My first Berlin Döner for this year :) How I missed this! Honestly, if you ever want to fall in love with this simple dish, best chances = Berlin!

Apart from this “gourmet” intermezzo I discovered the best bread I have eaten so far! Really! I bought it in one of the only 2 self-baking bakeries in Berlin. No  pre-prepared dough, all homemade. My favourite: Coriander, anis-spelt bread!

Speaking of homemade!  I finally made my first self-made marmalade.  Strawberry-lime-rosemary :)

Time flies! Next weekend – next trip!

Home is where the “currywurst pommes” is!! The “Ruhrpott”!…and have a look!  My Coca-Cola colleagues in my hometown were as hardworking as we in Berlin & Leipzig…Coca-Cola Life everywhere! 

Weekends are always too short… back to  Berlin. But accompanied by 2 nice food magazines.

Having a relaxing dinner with friends and  trying out new recipe ideas that came to my mind :) Voilà – bruschetta with a sweet potato-goat’s cheese cream pesto  and caramelized salvia/ almond crunch as an entry. Followed by the main dish, a Moroccan coconut, chicken, mint, saffron served with lime-Madeira Bulgur :)

Culinary again! After work-dishes with some friends at “Markthalle 9"

Have you ever been to 5 cities in 2 days?

Well…until now I haven’t either… The menu for the weekend: A marathon!

Berlin - Mülheim an der Ruhr - Stuttgart - Frankfurt - Mainz - Frankfurt - Berlin

3rd train ride for the weekend: Frankfurt! What a lovely day with great weather, a  rhubarb drink, waffles & bagels!

Finally! After a busy but amazing  weekend, tired but happy to could have seen my family & closest friends… on  my way to Berlin.

For a change, the upcoming weeks I will stay away from planes & trains - I promise. Let’s see what Berlin is up to the next weeks!

résumés and... detroit!

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2/3 of my internship are already over. I definitely feel like a full team member of my local HR Team here. The support they give me is great and time flies way too fast.

It is really exciting to figure out all the differences between German/European and American HR tasks. E.g. in recruiting it starts with very basic things like a very different layout of the Candidate’s CV (which is called Résumé here).

The layout of a resume in the US is very limited to information transmission

The layout here in the US is very limited and does not focus on fancy design like a lot of European CV’s do. Furthermore, CVs are much more comprehensive than Résumés and are lengthier in size. In the US a Candidate would never put a picture or any other personal details on his Résumé but interests/hobbies would be included.

European candidates usually list a lot of personal details such as Age, Gender, Single/Married status and sometimes even dependents. Moreover, a US Resume will typically and only contain High School information if an applicant has not completed any higher learning degrees whereas a European CV will typically contain ALL educational degrees earned.

Exploring those differences makes it very exciting working in the US. I am really looking forward to what kind of challenges I will meet during the last third of my internship!

During the meantime I had the chance to visit my first concert in an old theatre in Chicago that has had its days already. It was a great atmosphere and the band ‘los amigos invisibles’ was an interesting combo of different music styles. Furthermore, the winning run of the Blackhawks continued and unfortunately to the time they made it to win the Stanley cup I was out of the city for the whole week.

A road trip to Detroit was on my list in order to get to know my colleagues working in our office in Michigan. The 5 hour ride was much easier than I expected and I had a great time there, going for dinner with my coworkers or explored downtown Detroit at a great “fall, rise, renewal” tour with my knowledgeable guide bob. All in all it was great to get an own impression of the myth-enshrouded motor city and I go back with my bags packed full with positive experiences.

Overcoming challenge and loving what you do

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(by Erran Yang)

It has been one month since I joined Stora Enso and everything is going perfectly. I am able to deal with the sales orders independently and participate in team brainstorm sessions as well.

As one of my jobs is to prepare paper sample for our customers, it is really a good opportunity for me to get to know better about the grade and specifications of our products, as well as the user function of them. Speaking of this, one of our product lines is used for brochure designing and it is really amazing. Once again, I feel proud of working in Stora Enso.

One of the challenges I encountered was the first time I had to make a phone call to a customer. I felt a little bit nervous and prepared for several minutes before I picked up the phone. But now, I am quite used to it.

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Challenge is the thing you might be afraid about, before conquering it. Like the first step when you climb a huge mountain. But when you really keep on climbing it, you will forget the fear and finally enjoy the beautiful scenery at the top.

As it is a job, definitely, you may find it boring sometimes. But you still need to take responsibility of it, because it is not only yourself but also the company’s image and interests you are representing. Responsibility is necessary in study and life, too. We should be responsible for our team, for our family and for the people who love us. The most important, be responsible for ourselves.

I am really glad to introduce Stora Enso to those who would like to work here. The working atmosphere here is really nice and everyone respects each other no matter what their title is. Everyone wears a smile every day and working diligently. After work, we chat like good friends. You can feel really stable and happy working here.

I really love my job and I will continue working hard on it in the following two months.

Erran

Farewell ABB

(by Gonçalo Guerreiro)

In what felt like a blink of an eye since my last post, my internship at ABB through Blind Applying has just come to an end. The time spent at the Corporate Research Center in Krakow allowed me to have a glimpse into all the work behind innovation at ABB, meet great people, and have my first experience of full-time work.

The Project

I previously wrote about the project I was working on - developing a proof-of-concept for a “new” type of predictive controller. Before I left, I managed to have a working version of the software for the controller. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to proceed with testing it in real situations. The work I developed showed that the usage of parallel processing is likely to bring an improvement for this type of controllers but further testing will be necessary. I am happy with the outcome!

Final Weeks

My final week was particularly interesting. Besides giving the final touches to my project, I got to know more about its possible applications. Turns out that the type of controller I was developing is very similar to the ones used in ABB’s ENVILINE products. The ENVILINE consists of a range of devices aimed to reduce power consumption in railways by recovering some of the energy when the trains are breaking. It was very nice to see that my work was not very detached from real applications.

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KrakÓw

It is a very culturally-rich city, full of people from everywhere and overall a nice place to live. I definitely enjoyed spending this period living here and is for sure a destination to re-visit in the future!

What’s next?

After this short experience, it’s now time for me to “start” my career (maybe it has started already…). I am looking forward to starting working in engineering either in the Power/Energy or Transport industries in the near future. I have been sending applications for quite some time, attended interviews and will keep doing so until I find a nice fit.

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I will be back home in Lisbon for now with two main purposes: to enjoy the sunny warm weather and explore another interest I had for some time now which are tech startups. By looking at the weather forecast, the first will be quite easy to achieve. About the second: I will be working part-time in a tech startup, mainly doing operations and business development and I am quite excited to see what this three-month-long drift from pure engineering will bring.

With these lines it’s time to say goodbye. I enjoyed sharing my experience with you all, I hope you enjoyed reading!

A week at an employer branding agency

(by Jennifer Mbunga)

Earlier this month I went on another exciting adventure. I had the opportunity to get insights into agency work in regards to employer branding. This is an area of HR that I am really interested in since it plays a significant role in talent management (the field I believe I want to work in after graduation).

For a week, I travelled into the heart of London, which was a little adventure in itself as I was commuting to and from Bank station in the center of London. Similar to New York’s Wall Street, there are loads of banks as the name indicates and was originally named after the Bank of England. The station itself has been voted “London’s least favorite station” by BBC.co.uk due to the fact it gets extremely crowded.

Despite this, I loved traveling into the city every day as the station is only a few minutes away from a nice new shopping mall with lots of restaurants and sights like St. Paul’s Cathedral – which I discovered on my first day when I got lost on the way to work.

London travel card - St. Paul’s on my way to work - Hodes logo

London travel card - St. Paul’s on my way to work - Hodes logo

During my stay at the media agency Hodes I learned:

  • What it is like to work at a startup company. Event management skills always come in handy. I was charged with getting in touch with top universities to organize an event for a law firm client.
  • Media agencies do way more than just nice/weird looking ads. I learned about the strategic side of employer branding. An employer brand boils down to a company’s reputation that reflects in every single interaction with external and internal stakeholders (business word for employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, etc.). Blogging is one way for companies to improve and/or enhance their brand’s reach. It also drives social engagement and is an excellent recruitment tool. Furthermore, sometimes doctors write content.
  • Media agencies do make interesting creative stuff. You can make a paper wallet out of a Starbucks bag. #lifehack

I was also introduced to a social tradition called “Jolly Trolley”. Every week one employee gets 25 pounds to buy snacks and food to share. Of course, I had the honor to do so when I was there. As you can see from these pictures, Jolly Trolley is best enjoyed on the rooftop on a sunny day!

Shopping for Jolly Trolley at M&S  - Enjoying jolly trolley on the rooftop

Shopping for Jolly Trolley at M&S  - Enjoying jolly trolley on the rooftop

About the UK/London in general:

  • Law firms really do have pretty amazing office spaces. We went on a client meeting at Taylor Wessing (Enterprise’s law firm) and I felt like I was in the TV series “Suits”. High-rises enjoy a great view over the city.
  • I find British people to be very polite and proper. (Not to stereotype anyone, it has just been my personal experience.) They remind me of southern Americans. (Again, my personal experience) Here’s why: Some might say “God bless you” when you do something nice for them and, similarly to the U.S., small talk is very much welcome and expected.
  • Quirky language differences: Other things I have come to found out are that “flapjacks” in the UK are not pancakes but yummy oat bars. “Pudding” can be cheesecake as it is used synonymously with dessert and a “wet blanket” is a hater.

Challenges overcome – lessons learned

Half way through my internship, I have become more confident in my abilities to deliver quality work and no longer suffer from “Imposter Syndrome” as I did in the beginning. (It’s when you feel like you didn’t earn your place and are constantly afraid of being exposed when in reality you are rightfully where you are and can totally do the job).

Also being in a different cultural environment and working with a team that did not exist until recently has taught me to embrace change and see things from a different (positive) perspective. Working at Enterprise has helped me be less afraid of taking risks by taking ownership of things and I appreciate being able to realize my projects as I envision them. I like being more entrepreneurial and learning new things through trial and error.

Internship #snaps

The Blind Applying team asked Dan, interning at Johnson & Johnson, to talk about his internship through three pictures.

Something that makes you feel proud

One thing that always makes me feel proud is when my code runs exactly as expected. It can be frustrating to learn new languages and try to get used to unfamiliar syntax. It’s always worth it when you see the final product.

Something you like in your work environment

This is a selfie of me and a few of my team members. We are all interns from different places throughout the United States. We spend most of our time together and have gotten to know each other really well.

Favourite place in New Jersey

Photo source:  Wikimedia Commons  / Cristophe95

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons / Cristophe95

Six Flags Great Adventure is my favorite place in New Jersey. At 510 acres, it is the largest theme park in the world. The roller coaster “Kingda Ka” is featured in the picture, which is the tallest roller coaster in the world at 139 meters high.

What goes into consulting work?

From what questions to ask during strategy development to learning the process behind the beginning of a consulting project. And improving PowerPoint skills along the way!

(by Yoshiki Fukuda)

Hello again, my time at Merck in Darmstadt passes by so fast. I already completed 2 months out of my 3 months internship in the In-house Consulting department at Merck and so far it was a very exciting and instructive time.

Even though the workload has increased during the last weeks, I am enjoying the life in Darmstadt as well. I am still joining the weekly events organized by the interns such as the “Praktikantenstammtisch” as introduced in my last article. Furthermore, I had the chance to join the interns for partying during the weekend.

Just last weekend there was the biggest open-air festival in the German state Hesse with a lot of national musicians which took place in Darmstadt with a lot of stages allocated within the city center.

In the pictures you might get an impression of how crowded this festival was

Current interns from the Inhouse Consulting department. Starting left, David, Adithya, me and Luoxia

Since I described my first impressions about work and life in Darmstadt in the last article, I want to give you a small insight into what I’ve learned so far during my internship. I cannot go into details because some projects are highly confidential and therefore not intended for the public. However, working on such projects shows the appreciation and trust towards interns in the company.

I am basically supporting consultants by preparing presentations, doing research (Market, Competitor, etc.) and evaluating information. In most of the projects a trainee from the Global Graduate Program is also involved. You can say that 3 people are usually working on one project which makes it even better for me to learn new things. So far I could really improve my PowerPoint skills!

I am currently involved in 2 projects and I want to share my learnings with you.

 

First project: Strategy Development

The first project deals with strategy development and implementation for a business unit at Merck. It was the first time that I saw how such a process looks like in reality. Basically you have to conduct workshops where you try to collect the required information together with certain employees for developing the strategy.

The challenge you are facing when you conduct a workshop is:

  • Who are the relevant employees with the relevant information?
  • What kind of questions you need to ask them to get an appropriate answer?
  • Which strategy tool is appropriate for the strategy development stage?

At the end you need to summarize and evaluate the results of the workshop. In general, more than one workshop takes place within a strategy development process. My duty after a workshop is to digitize the written answers which are sometimes hard to decode due to bad handwriting. After the digitization of the answers, these answers are going to be summarized, conclusions are made and the results are presented in front of the customer. The time between the workshop and the presentation in front of the customer is always very challenging, but it is always a very interesting time.

Things to consider during strategy development

Second project: Process Optimization

This project deals with process optimization and compared to the first project I was lucky to be involved from the very beginning. My first task was to prepare a state of the art presentation on the topic in hand. I needed to find all relevant information and gave a small summary on this topic.

In the second step I analyzed the current situation and thought about possible solutions. Meanwhile, the consultant was thinking about the framework of this whole project and how to structure it the best. This always happens together with the customer.

Because I was involved in this project from the very beginning, I had the chance to participate at a kick-off meeting. At this meeting the line manager is handing over the project to the project manager. Even though it has a symbolic character, it is still important to show the project team who is holding the responsibility for the project.

Preparation of a process optimization project

Hopefully, the question mark will be replaced through new learnings about the process in the upcoming weeks. In the next weeks I am looking forward to working on this project and to learning more about the stages of optimizing processes.

Thanks again for reading my short article and I hope to see you next time.

Warm regards from Darmstadt, Germany.

Yoshi

Learning how to code from a garage

(by Dan Sarnelli)

My first two weeks at Johnson & Johnson have been going really well! Tuesday, May 26th was my first day. It consisted mostly of learning about the company, meeting all of the other interns, and becoming familiar with the workplace environment. Some interns, like me, are commuting to Johnson & Johnson from right here in New Jersey. However, many of them are traveling from locations all over the country and staying at apartments in Rutgers University. It was interesting to see how so many people from completely different backgrounds and locations were coming together for the same opportunity. At the end of orientation day, we were able to meet our managers and learn about our specific teams.

Every room in Johnson & Johnson has the Credo posted on the wall. The Credo is used for guiding the decision making of all employees. It has existed since 1943 and can be seen in all languages.

Every room in Johnson & Johnson has the Credo posted on the wall. The Credo is used for guiding the decision making of all employees. It has existed since 1943 and can be seen in all languages.

The team that I joined is responsible for developing applications for various Johnson & Johnson needs. This type of work would be far more technical than anything I had experienced before, but I was excited for the challenge. I was glad to see that there were several other interns and coops joining the team as well. While all of us were at varying levels of coding experience, we were all sure about one thing: we would learn a lot this summer! I’ve found myself learning many new coding languages over the past two weeks and there is much more to learn as time goes on.

This is the entrance to “The Garage.” It is the main room for developers at Johnson & Johnson.

This is the entrance to “The Garage.” It is the main room for developers at Johnson & Johnson.

The atmosphere at Johnson & Johnson is very suitable for developers. At the moment, the other interns and I are working in an open room with a large table and glass doors. Communication is simple and there is much more freedom than simply working in a cube.

Some developers work in a location called “The Garage,” which actually has a garage themed door as the entrance of the room. I really enjoy the environment, the people I’m working with, and the work that I’m doing. I’m excited for the rest of this summer!

From College to corporate Life

Trading in my college backpack for a business briefcase... or a fancy leather tote, in my case.

(by Jennifer Mbunga)

Gone are the days when I could just contemplate sleeping in instead of going to class (not that I ever actually skipped class ;) ) or just throw on leggings and sweats. In the corporate world people wear slacks and suits. The only challenge here is finding the right clothing for the weather, which can be rather flaky. It can go from bright sunshine to thunderstorm in a matter of hours.

The dress code here at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car is similar to one you would find at a German DAX 30 company. It is western business attire, so it is very professional. That works well for me because my wardrobe is something like 50 shades of black and I went to business school, so I did not have to buy a whole new wardrobe.

enterprise_blindapplying_allblack
rbf

My first days at the corporate headquarters were also similar to my first day at university. I barely knew anyone and I wasn’t quite sure how to behave. I learned that smiling at people and greeting them when you cross paths works better than #restingface.

enterprise_blindapplying_kitchen

Even though the corporate environment can be quite intimidating, it is imperative to network and talk to people. At Enterprise, the hierarchies are pretty flat and you can just chat with the VP when you see him in the kitchen.I have learned that just being nice and saying hello is a good way to network which then leads to great business conversations.

After a busy first week in and out of the office, I decided to venture into the big canteen downstairs. The first time around I took my iPad as I was nervous to interact with anyone. However, I was quickly introduced to another intern, and asked her if she wanted to go out for lunch sometime. We did and she then introduced me to other interns, which led to all of us going out to eat and have drinks on a Friday afternoon.

enterprise_blindapplying_food

So far during my time at Enterprise I have had a variety of exposure to the social side of working at a large global company: eating lunch with my boss (which wasn’t as scary as one would think), having mocktails (virgin cocktails) with my coworkers at a diversity event or doing a meet and greet with managers. The latter was a really fun experience and taught me that even managers get intimidated by new environments.

enterprise_blindapplying_whomovedmycheese

One of my supervisors gave me a fun task this week. He made me read the book “Who Moved my Cheese”, which is about coping with change. The key lesson is that life’s adventures begin outside of your comfort zone.

Another difference is that new things may come up during the day that force you to prioritize in order to meet the new deadline. This is why I find it so useful to always carry a notebook with me or write things down digitally, because I always have my cell phone or tablet with me anyway. One of my other supervisors was kind enough to give me this beautiful Leuchtturm notebook (it’s made in Germany <3) so I can write down all the important things I come across every day.

I am currently working on a variety of projects I am really excited about all the travel I get to do as a part of my internship. The next week I will be working at our media agency downtown London, right next to St. Paul’s Cathedral and then a few weeks later I will be flying to Frankfurt to spend a week at our German headquarters.

enterprise_blindapplying_traveling

Getting around Chicago and SharePoint

(by Philipp Schodl)

As promised last time, I am back with more details of my exciting internship at Fresenius in Lake Zurich, Illinois!

After a look at my calendar after an amazing Memorial Day weekend away from Chicago (more details later on), I have just realized that three weeks have passed already. It’s incredible how fast time files if you are engaged all the time with stuff you like!

Willis Tower, former Sears Tower, the second tallest building in the US!

The skyline mirrored in the “bean”

Let’s start with the city of Chicago! I’ve never thought that skyscrapers could be so impressive, but they are! For the first few times in Chicago I just started exploring the city a little bit to get familiar with the area and all the sights. I always find it interesting how a city feels when you use different means of transportation, so I tried nearly everything…a taxi, an Uber, a rented bicycle, buses, the Metro, an water-taxi and of course a lot of walking was involved. Unfortunately Uber doesn’t offer their helicopter service at the moment in Chicago, because that’s the only thing I missed out so far ;-)

But back to my promise to tell you some details about my actual work. As already discussed during the job interview I wanted to get familiar with the SharePoint Server. Before the internship I only knew the system from an user perspective but thanks to Don, a SharePoint administrator for years, I’m also getting very valuable insights in the configuration and administration!

Don takes time to show me something new every day and provides me with helpful hints all the time, while I’m working on my first project, which will be finished this week. This project is about improving an existing search application on the local intranet. As this is only a small part of a bigger project, there should be a lot to come and I’m looking forward to it!

As mentioned in the beginning the Memorial Day weekend was awesome! I went with a friend to Indianapolis, which is only three and a half hours away, to the famous Indy 500 race and it was a blast! Beforehand I saw that this is one of the biggest sport events in the world with 250,000 people attending, but what I experienced there was way beyond every expectation! Hundreds of people everywhere, people renting their yards for parking, a lot of barbecue, a lot of sport enthusiasts as well as people who just went there for the party. Definitely worth to be a part of, at least once!

After the race we drove another three hours south to the Mammoth Caves National Park, which is, with over 400 miles, the longest cave system in the world. Unfortunately it was raining a lot during the day so we had to skip the planned kayaking in the National Park. Nevertheless, the tour through the caves was very informative and entertaining but most of the times it was too dark to provide you with any good photos of the caves ;-) 

The only downside of this awesome weekend away was the way back home…Originally it should have been only seven and a half hours, but due to a lot of traffic jams on the way we needed about nine hours. Anyways, these experiences were worth every minute in the traffic jam!

So far, so good, but there’s a lot of amazing stuff planned for the next weeks, so you better stay tuned!

Start of my fashion adventure at Peek & Cloppenburg

I am more than happy to be the Blind Applying champion for Peek & Cloppenburg, one of Germany’s biggest fashion companies. On top of that it is located in Düsseldorf, a wonderful city in Germany being known for its fashion-oriented people and its outstanding architecture. From May to August I will be doing an internship there in Sales and Buying.

After receiving the exciting message that I would be a part of P&C, I had the possibility to choose where I want to put my focus on during the internship. I went for Buying at Fashion ID, which is P&C’s online shop. Two years ago I was already an intern in the E-Commerce sector at mytheresa.com, since then I really wanted to grow my knowledge and experiences in this field.

The start of my internship

After a friendly welcoming event, my internship started directly at the P&C store in Düsseldorf. As you can see in the photo, the building itself is outstanding due to its modern architecture. As a customer you can find a humongous selection of clothing and accessories from various brands, spread over 4 floors. In Germany, Peek & Cloppenburg has more than 60 stores and is also present in other European countries such as Austria, Poland and Czech Republic. During the first week I was working in the premium section for both men and women. Then I got the chance to have direct contact to the P&C customer and I really enjoyed helping them when they were looking for a special occasion outfit. On the other hand it was pretty tough to be literally standing the whole day, especially at the beginning. After the third day, I almost got used to it :)

The second week I was working at the cash register which did not simply mean delivering the customers their paid products in a bag. I also took care of product returns, processing complaints and finding and picking reserved clothes from a back room. This seems to be obvious activities taking place at a cash register, but you have to keep in mind that the store is super huge compared to a regular fashion store. So I was constantly very busy and was in charge of different tasks. 

I think it was a good and helpful experience for me to get an insight in the different areas of a P&C fashion store during the first two weeks. Now I have a better understanding of the P&C customer and I am more familiar with the broad range of labels which is essential for my further internship in the Buying team of Fashion ID.

Until next time,

Gianna