12 November 2019

My internship: a 3-month review.

When I came for my assessment day and interview back in February, I saw 2 rooms of the Sir William Siemens House here at Manchester. So you can imagine how I might have felt upon seeing the rest of building, 6 months later, that has 4 floors and seats around 500 employees.

I got lost. A few times.

My role at Siemens is ‘Marketing and Business Development Intern’ and I work in the Strategy Team within Digital Industries. I am here for 12 months in-between my Marketing Management degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, so will be going back to uni to complete my final year next September.

Expectations vs. Reality

When I first arrived at Siemens, I expected to be sat with my line manager for the rest of the year, shadowing and watching and learning from what he does on a day-to-day basis, I thought I would be following him to meetings, helping him with small and general tasks.

However, my preconceived idea of what it meant to be an intern at Siemens was wrong. I believe that one reason for my being wrong is due to the ‘ownership culture‘ that we operate here. We all act as though we are owners of Siemens, and as a result we are given more responsibility and freedom over our work. Of course, as an owner of a company you will be loyal and hardworking to ensure the success of your company, so it has great benefits on both sides.

So it’s safe to say that my experience is already very different in comparison to some of my friends, who have actually been cleaning coffee machines! Thankfully, being a Siemens intern means I get; a work laptop, a work phone, an American Express expenses card, flexible work hours, the option to work from home if you need too, and not to mention tons of discounts, employee perks, networking events, volunteering days…the list goes on, but you already know.

That’s all cool but, what have I actually done?

So in my first three months I have been handed numerous projects and responsibilities, let me talk you through some of them. (Prepare yourself, its quite a list).

  • I am responsible for managing sales leads; I make sure that they are followed up by the sales team and monitor the progress of them. I keep regular contact with members of the sales team and make sure everything is nice and organized on my end.
  • One of my earlier tasks was to carry out industry research for a 5G project, looking at how 5G can be used in Manufacturing. I got to team up with a number of interns from around the country, and twice a month we would share our findings. At the end of the project, the collective findings were included in a presentation to managers and board members of Siemens.
  • I decided very quickly that I would make the effort to get involved in as much as possible here at Siemens, after all I’m only here for a year. So after seeing an interesting post on Yammer, I put myself forward to become a brand ambassador! This has led to various opportunities such as; creating online content and social media posts, directing and creating a “Day in the life at Siemens” video (coming soon to Twitter) and representing Siemens on a career stand at the University of York and at the Science and Industry Museum here in Manchester.
  • I joined a project with a great group of guys in DI to help with a ‘MUST WIN’ customer pitch worth a substantial amount of money…obviously a no pressure situation… This involved prioritising and delegating tasks, carrying out research on the industry, drafting a customer requirements document to be handed over, and attending the sales pitch and presenting my work to the customer. This showed me so much about what really happens behind the scenes and really boosted my confidence with regard to what I’m capable of.
  • I was chatting about current events during lunch one day with a friend and fellow intern, (shout out to Ceri), and we decided that we wanted to run an environmental awareness week around the office, in response to the current climate emergency. We realised that we were both pretty passionate about it, spoke to the right people and quickly actually got the permission to go ahead. We collaborated with the Head of Sustainability, had some meetings, essentially ‘pitched’ our final idea to the managers and off we were. In short – we decided on 5 areas of climate change/environmental awareness to focus on, created the posters, put a different one up each day and then finished it off with a social media post and an information table. See pic below;
We addressed; rising sea levels (bottom right), how reducing the amount of meat you eat can help fight climate change (mid bottom), the importance of using re-usable coffee cups (bottom right), climate refugees (top middle), the problem with plastic (top right). At the end of the week we set up the information table where people could access climate change knowledge (top left).
  • I have also been to events such as Innovate East in Ipswich, a 3-day water management event, bringing people together from all over the industry to develop innovative solutions, using technology and industry level resources to make water risk management better through digitalisation. Our group, sponsored by Siemens looked at; “Can digital twins help improve water quality management in distribution systems?” I honestly left there ready to step into a career in water quality management!
    I found it so fascinating and honestly couldn’t believe that I don’t consider all of the work that goes into us having clean, accessible water more often!
  • I attended IMHX Intralogistics in Birmingham and attended talks such as “The Intersection of Digital Twins, AI and Robotics for Logistics” given by Alexander Harvey from Ocado Technology, and “This is forward: The Logistics of being more sustainable” by Clare Bottle from Coca-Cola. This time I left the event ready for a job in Sustainability… I have a feeling this is going to happen every time I attend a new event.
  • More recently I attended Re-frame: Women in Tech in Manchester. This event was all about women in the tech industry, what its like, how to make your mark and many inspiring talks and panels. A good friend and colleague here at Siemens, Anubhi Khandelwal, also gave her talk as a key-note speaker on ‘Industry 4.0, Past, Present and Future Tech’. It is really inspiring to see the first hand the opportunities that come from working here at Siemens. Not only was I fully supported to go to the event in work hours, but to see Anubhi setting an example and making her mark as a speaker really shows what support from your company can result in.

What I think is brilliant is the fact that, before joining Siemens, I saw myself as a Marketer and that was the only ‘plan’ I had for my future career. Now that ‘plan’ can, and does, change every month because Siemens has made me realise that you don’t have to restrict yourself to one career path. If you have the passion and the personality, then why not?

The list could go on, and will continue to grow over the next 12 months I’m sure. I mean I already have Intern training to look forward to, I’m assisting at the Smart Factory Expo in Liverpool soon, not to mention I’ll be going to an ‘impostor syndrome’ lean-in session, the ‘Day in the life’ video goes live on social media soon and…well I’ll stop there!

I have already been involved in such a variety of tasks and opportunities, and know that my skills are only growing with every day that goes by. I can only imagine the list of experiences and skills I will have at the end of the 12 months!

Intern of the Year here I come…?

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