My name is Daniel Hölzl, and during the gap year between my bachelor’s and master’s degrees I interned for the Domain Management team at Bayer Business Services GmbH (BBS) for five months.
I originally come from Austria, and I completed my bachelor’s degree in Business & Management at the Management Center Innsbruck. In the course of my studies, I developed a strong interest in strategic corporate processes. I accordingly started looking for an internship in the strategy division of a global company. I came across a position as a strategy development intern at BBS on a careers portal. Having completed two internships at management consulting firms, this gave me the opportunity to see things from the company perspective. I also wanted to gain valuable insights and experience for my forthcoming master’s in Strategy & Management.
An Indicator of Digital Transformation
The application process itself opened my eyes to the company’s flexibility and the extent to which employees are valued. As I was abroad, I was allowed to complete the process using Skype. This included a telephone interview and a presentation about digital transformation and its impact on IT strategy. My preparation paid off because within a few days I was informed that I had been accepted for the internship in Strategy Development at the Leverkusen site.
One Strategy – A Range of Stakeholders and Influencing Factors
As a part of the Domain Management team, I had some involvement in designing and implementing the IT strategy for the ITO Marketing & Sales department at BBS. Our task was to provide services to leverage the synergies that exist across different corporate divisions. By the time I started at the beginning of 2018, the customer and divisional requirements had already been analyzed, so objectives, strategy and work packages needed to be defined. With my degree in business, I was rather surprised by the influence of new technologies and the resulting substantive complexity. However, this was my opportunity to extend my knowledge base and to contribute my marketing knowledge. The eye-opener for me came during the process of defining the target state. My team managed to present customer requirements, the customer journey, touchpoints, strategic and operative processes, IT capabilities and IT enablers in a clear and coherent way on a one pager.
Monitoring – A Model for the Management Team
I was extremely pleased to experience that interns are given the opportunity to work independently on conceptual tasks and can also add long-term value. For instance, I was asked to consider how the implementation of the strategy could be monitored. Thanks to the agile working methods that are an integral part of Bayer’s corporate culture, it took us a few iterative cycles to develop the idea of an appropriate dashboard for presenting the interim results of work packages at management meetings. The final Excel version proved to be a winner and has been an integral part of the monthly strategy meeting since then.
Bayer – An Employer for the Future
While working at Bayer may be demanding, the corporate culture places significant emphasis on a sustainable workload, and employees benefit from flexible working conditions. This meant that I was even able to explore the surrounding towns, pursue my hobbies and meet up with friends during the week. Shared lunches as well as regular events are also held for interns. These provide great opportunities to make new friends and meet like-minded people. My experience at Bayer and my internship exceeded my expectations. I gained in-depth insights into the design and implementation of strategy while at the same time extended my knowledge in the field of digital transformation and new technologies, which will continue to be highly relevant in the (very) near future.
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