An intern’s diary
Sunday, January 1, 2012
At the start of the New Year I’m rolling towards Düsseldorf where I’ll spend most of the following eight weeks. Slightly tired, but with a lot of excitement and anticipation, I’m arriving in Düsseldorf to start my internship at the GEA Headquarters tomorrow. I’d been to Düsseldorf in November for the interview with the Head of Human Resources and the Head of Management Development, after which GEA gave me the chance to get to know the corporate HR department.
Monday, January 2, 2012
My first day with GEA begins. Everything is quite calm as I drive through Düsseldorf and reach the headquarters. Many people are still enjoying extended Christmas holidays. However, my boss casually comments on my spirited look despite the New Year celebrations. Slowly everything is coming into place for me to start working.
Friday, January 6, 2012
At the end of my first week I’m impressed by how smoothly it has passed. Even the Head of HR has taken me into two meetings, where I could listen to and observe his daily business. I’m treated just like any other employee and hope this impression will last for the remaining time.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
My initial projects involve implementing HR software and annual HR reporting. The latter is also the reason for today’s destination: Bakel, a Dutch town about an hour from the headquarters in Düsseldorf. I get a feeling of how greatly positions and perspectives can differ within a diversified company. Unlike the administrative headquarters, Bakel is also a production site for huge ovens and packing machines, right at the core of GEA’s engineering business. I’m sure this background experience will help me understand the company, its people and their opinions much better during my internship.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Being on projects – at the moment on transfer guidelines in expatriate management – is one aspect of my internship. Getting to know the day-to-day tasks is another. So today, I’m assessing applications for job vacancies, to select people for an interview, and processing holiday applications.
However Monday ends with a surprise. I receive Steve Jobs’ biography along with a bouquet of flowers for my birthday, which was two days ago. I didn’t expect that as an intern.
Tuesday, February 1, 2012
I spent the last few days on a big current theme: social media. I’m conducting a detailed analysis of the activities and progress of social media as an HR tool. It’s a task that is typical for the internship, as it combines the latest issues with a challenging assignment and the responsibility to find the necessary data on my own.
Social media and their value to the company are hotly discussed within the departments. I’ve become part of that discussion and can make a contribution due to my studies.
Monday, February 6, 2012
During the second half of my internship, HR marketing and personal development is top of the agenda. At the moment I’m creating an employer portrait for a university job portal and a vacancy advertisement for the position of a trainee in controlling and accounting.
Later in the day, I experience how complex it can be to reconcile the needs of different departments and business units to create synergies, while also seeing to everyone’s individual needs. Representatives from HR, PR and the business units convene to draft a roadmap for GEA’s way into social media.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I spend Valentine’s Day in a workshop together with the HR Heads from the business units and HR managers from the headquarters. The aim is to improve the quality of selection processes during recruiting. I take part in group work and discussions. It’s not always easy to implement theoretical models in a huge company and put them to practical use. You also learn that at university, but here I become aware of its significance.
In the evening I join the weekly training session of the HR team that is once again running the Metro Group Marathon Düsseldorf in April. We’re one of more than 25 GEA teams along the Rhine, though February is showing its chilly side (temperatures are now below freezing).
Friday, February 17, 2012
Today I’m joining the Head of Management Development during three application interviews. I’ve prepared some questions myself and in the beginning I feel nervous. However I’m able to use my questions and enjoy how quickly I can assume that role.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The end of my internship is drawing closer and today it’s being reviewed. I’m glad to get feedback not only on the results of my work in general, but also on the perception of my development. Eventually the review ends with a discussion on future work, which I find helpful in deciding how to proceed with my studies.
Thursday, February 23
Today is my last day and it’s a shame to leave behind all the projects and topics I helped to cover in the last two months. My time at GEA has passed quickly after all, but I’m taking away a lot of knowledge and new experiences that encourage me to continue with my studies. But I’ll definitely keep in touch with the people here to see how things are developing.