Germany is a country full of opportunities. Its dynamic and strong economy was one of the reasons I wanted to continue my Bachelor studies in International Business Administration here. I had been studying at the University of Applied Sciences in Krems, Austria and came to the SRH University in Heidelberg as an exchange student about 18 months ago.
Finding an internship in Germany
The sixth semester of my studies is reserved for an internship. From the very beginning, I had a clear goal to find an internship in Germany, as I wanted to apply the theoretical knowledge I had learned to a European market. Although, I would have been happy with an internship with a company anywhere in Europe, Germany was my first choice as I wanted to practice and build on my German language skills in the workplace.
In August 2017, after preparing my application documents, I searched for suitable internships online via various boards, internet platforms and corporate websites. I was primarily looking for positions in the fields of marketing, purchasing, and supply chain management which offered challenging and interesting tasks. I also wanted to be able to apply and enhance my knowledge and skills gained from my studies and, last but not least, have the opportunity to write my Bachelor thesis at the company.
By September, after some rejections, a lot of feedback and several face-to-face interviews, I had received offers for internship from three companies in Germany. I was delighted to accept the offer from MANN+HUMMEL Speyer’s purchasing department.
My internship at MANN+HUMMEL took place from February 2018 to April 2018. My responsibilities ranged from the usual daily tasks to participating in joint projects with my supervisor and the commodity buyers working in the department. I have not only gained an insight into day-to-day practices but also applied some of the principles and concepts I have learned to the numerous ongoing projects.
From my point of view, this internship has helped me develop personally and has brought me valuable experience for my future career path. At MANN+HUMMEL, I was also able to participate in two days of training for newly-hired employees covering original equipment products, industrial filtration applications, EDM filtration, and marketing and communications.
Did my internship meet my expectations?
As I already mentioned, my goals included improving my German language skills, completing interesting and challenging tasks, plus being able to write my Bachelor thesis. I think my internship at MANN+HUMMEL GmbH has fulfilled my initial expectations and more.
During my time at MANN+HUMMEL, I have gained insights into purchasing and procurement that were not covered in my university course. My computer skills, time management, organisation and, in particular, my communication and language skills have been greatly improved. Daily business conversations and the exchange of information with the commodity buyers and other departments were always in German. These practical and intercultural experiences will definitely be beneficial to my future career development.
Of course, the experience of working in a well-known, international company has taught me how corporations work on a bigger, more strategic level. I have learned a lot about filtration and its applications, although I am by no means an expert!
Life in Speyer
I am originally from Da Nang in Vietnam. Like many cities in Asia, it is developing quickly with lots of building work and a growing, busy population. When I came it Speyer, it was very much a change in tempo. It is a very peaceful town, surrounded by gorgeous countryside. My favourite places: Speyer Cathedral – and the Flaming Star restaurant (best hamburgers in town).
I like that Germans are very socially and environmentally aware. They are very dynamic and hardworking but, to a foreigner, can initially be a bit distant. However, deep friendships can be formed and they are always available to help.
My next steps
My internship at MANN+HUMMEL has now come to an end and I will be writing my Bachelor thesis with them until the end of July. I will then have a bit of time to explore Europe and am thinking of going to Spain to experience that country and learn some Spanish. Then I will be looking for a job or trainee-ship before starting my Master’s studies.