During his second semester as a graduate student in the Department of Technology, Arun Kumar Shanmugam’s was presented with an opportunity to pursue a management internship at the BMW Leasing Division in Germany. Arun felt he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and the opportunity to explore a foreign culture.
Arun’s internship began in the sales department at Alphabet International – BMW’s Corporate Vehicle Leasing Business. During his time there, he was impressed by their intensive training programs for their new recruits. Arun was exposed to their business step by step through different colleagues, who put in a lot of effort in helping the interns come up to speed. Working for the sales department in the “Hunting Division,” his job scope included dealing with the acquisition of new corporate customers. His daily tasks varied from gathering information for new tenders to preparing a Business Case for the Tenders going through an Internal Review Board. Arun was also given special projects aimed at improving internal processes such as a Customer Winning Prediction.
The Quality Management and Analytics classes he took as part of his master’s degree in Technology were very helpful in applying theoretical knowledge to practical applications. BMW Alphabet treated their interns as responsible employees of the company. Arun had a great sense of accomplishment when after working on a tender for several months he finally won the customer. Apart from the initial learning curve one experiences when taking on new responsibilities, the most challenging thing for Arun was to manage people’s expectations. In his internship, Arun supported eight colleagues which meant often there were times of Task overload. He found that the best way to deal with such times, is to be open and honest, while prioritizing certain tasks over others.
Arun cultivated organizational skills during his internship. He found Germans are very meticulous and well-organized. It was a great to learn from masters in the field. Being in sales also required Arun to become more proactive and to hone his soft business skills.
In addition to his internship experience, Arun found it was very interesting to live in Munich. The sights and sounds are very different and culturally rich. Living in the heart of Europe, he was amazed at how easy it is to travel to different European countries. A train ride to neighboring Austria took about two hours and very inexpensive. He was able to take part in the grand Oktoberfest which was as fun as it sounds!