My name is Anna, I am 23 years old and this is how I accidently ended up in the IT department and why I love it there!
I studied International Business and Management in Arnhem, the Netherlands. In mid-2015, for my last semester, I joined Bayer for a 6-month internship to write my graduation thesis. I applied for a vacancy called: Strategy & Innovation Intern. Little did I know at that moment that I was actually applying to a position in IT at Bayer Healthcare’s Organization & Information department. Actually, it wasn’t until my job interview that I realized the position was part of IT, but at that point I was already very curious about it. Previously, I had interned at Daimler and was therefore expecting the same corporate stiffness, corporate speed, corporate complexity, and corporate… at Bayer. However, IT totally surprised me!
From an IT-intern…
Bayer still is a big German corporation, and certain corporate peculiarities exist wherever you go: be it processes, regulations, organizational structures, etc. If you want to board such a big ship, you should be aware of that. They are trying to change some of that and I am glad to be on board for the transformation. The goal is for people in all of Bayer, who have the passion to innovate, to really be given the power to change and for people who want to challenge the status quo to actually be expected to!
During my internship, I worked on strategic digitalization projects. It was a wonderful surprise to discover that my business background enabled me to dig deeper and ultimately understand the chosen areas of focus. One of these areas was “Segment of One,” an initiative aimed at enabling better segmentation. Ideally you can make a segment out of a single person, thus paving the way for ultimate personalization. Additionally, I joined project groups for various innovation initiatives, such as the set-up of a new internal innovation platform. We spent days on idea creation, using methodologies such as Systematic Inventive Thinking and Design Thinking. Not only did I have a chance to take part in such creative workshops, I also learned how to present on-the-spot in front of 30+ people and gained some initial experience moderating small groups.
… to an Innovation Associate at Bayer
Fortunately, the IT team had an opening and since I enjoyed the internship so much, I came on board as an Innovation Associate. It has been a pleasure to continue working on the same projects beyond my internship, continuously increasing my responsibilities and learning how to manage projects. I most enjoy the concept-generation parts of the job and the international perspective. Although we are located in Leverkusen, we have contact with international colleagues on a daily basis and we frequently travel to other Bayer sites. I also joined my team in talks with other companies to learn more about their innovation and digital activities, which has been one of my favorite things. Novel ideas, unforeseen obstacles or an unexpected task, such as summarizing and evaluating 64 innovation projects for an upcoming award, can pop up spontaneously. I like to say there is “never a dull moment in innovation.”
My internship, and the position I am currently working in, are not “techie”; they are not slow and they are not monotonous at all. Every day is different and while that can be challenging sometimes, it is exactly what I love about the job. Working in a field in which you have to think ahead, constantly gain new insights and meet inspiring people motivates me. Essentially, both the internship and the job are incredibly diverse, exciting and neither one required typical IT skills, as I had feared.
I was taught the fun way that IT is so much more than computers or networks, and that sometimes an open mind and the courage to take a chance can really pay off!
This post is also available in: German