Hi everyone, my name is Frederik Decker and I am currently taking part in an International Financial Management Trainee Program focusing on Controlling at Bayer AG. I would like to share my personal impression of the application process, and my initial steps, with you.
I first got to know Bayer at the Maastricht Business Days while I was still doing my Master’s degree. Back then, what are now my colleagues from the in-house management consultancy function offered me the chance to meet them at a recruitment dinner. I gained further insights into the world of Bayer during a visit to the headquarters of the Crop Science Division in Monheim. At the end of a fascinating day that encompassed the in-house “miniature jungle”, the high-bay warehouse and a glimpse at the Annual Report, I would never have thought that my first stop as a trainee would take me through Crop Science in Monheim just a short while later.
Waiting can be harder than an assessment center
The application process was a structured and professional affair. After submitting my application to Bayer via the Job Portal, I was quickly invited to join a telephone conference with HR colleagues. I then spoke with Dr. Wolfgang Adrian who coordinates the trainee program. For me, one of the hardest parts was the wait until I finally received the invitation to attend an assessment center. An assessment center consists of two days planned from start to finish. The aim is to give both Bayer and the applicant the chance to learn more about each other. The first day focuses on organizational issues and getting to know each other, whereas the second day is really hard work! Applicants must prove their abilities in four challenging assignments spread over the day. They are given transparent feedback on the same evening together with a job offer or rejection. Any tips I can offer from my side? I personally found it helpful to tick off completed assignments and focus on what was coming next.
Once I had secured my contract, I treated myself to some time out in Asia. Nowadays, I equate working at Bayer with continuously embracing new challenges. The support we are given as trainees is excellent, but the demands are also high. They include getting to grips with new teams and complex topics every month or two. You’re not alone though. Great colleagues are willing to assist, and take a lot of time helping you to learn the ropes.
In my first six months here, I have already worked on a major project in the Performance Management Team at the Crop Science Division, learned more about cash flow and the planning cycle in Corporate Controlling, and supported the local Legal Entity Controlling in Basel. During this period, there was no shortage of onboarding either. The “Discovering Bayer” seminar or the “Finance Onboarding Program” were two examples of events spanning several days where I was able to learn more about the organizational structure at Bayer and got to meet colleagues from other functions.
I am currently helping Internal Audit colleagues to audit a country organization. The next months will continue to be fascinating as I will get the chance to expand my horizons with assignments in Sales and Accounting, and my deployment abroad to Brazil.
I hope you continue to enjoy reading the Careers Blog. Hopefully I will see some of you sometime over a beer at a trainee event or lunch in the Bayer canteen.