#GLOCALCareers: Working as a Graduate Trainee (IT, Digital & Strategy)

Author Profile

GLOCALCareers #7 - Jeen Vern Liew
  • Name: Jeen Vern Liew
  • GLOCAL Cohort: Cohort 2 (2018-2020)
  • GLOCAL Track: B (Glasgow-Barcelona-Göttingen)
  • Job Title and Company Name:
    Graduate Trainee (IT, Digital & Strategy) at Bosch Siemens Home Appliances (BSH)
  • LinkedIn Profile

You are currently working as an IT, Digital, and Strategy graduate trainee at BSH. How did you get there?

I came across the recruitment advertisement on LinkedIn in February 2021 and applied. I was notified of my successful application in May and started in September of the same year. 

What exactly are you doing at your current job?

Graduate schemes in general entail rotations across different departments to provide trainees with a fuller view of the company, whilst discovering their career passion. In the case of my company, the 1-year program comprises 3 rotations in different locations: the headquarters, a factory location, and a subsidiary abroad. I had the freedom to choose which departments I wanted to shadow. My choices were the corporate client venturing, User Interaction, and Product Marketing departments — three seemingly unrelated fields, but for me, these were good entry points for understanding ongoing exciting digital transformations at the company while staying close to consumers.

Did you already know that you were interested in management trainee programs during your GLOCAL studies?

To a certain extent – I was looking for something which could tie my rather dispersed experiences to my curiosity towards a plethora of topics. I knew such programs valued intercultural competence (normally honed through international experiences), as well as interdisciplinary knowledge, which GLOCAL prepared me well for. The management traineeship was almost an extension of the master’s program.

Jeen Vern Liew at work
Jeen at work in the Bosch Siemens Home Appliances (BSH) office.

How are the topics you are working with connected with GLOCAL?

For an MNC, knowing how to adapt global products/strategies to fit the local tastes of consumers is key to winning market share. During the traineeship, I saw many avenues for innovation via technology and knowledge transfer from other countries and industries. On a personal level, GLOCAL trained me to begin looking at things from a historical perspective and this provided me with the skillset and perseverance to dig deep into my topics of interest.  

By the time of publication, I will have had transitioned into my follow up position as Project Manager for Circular Economy at the same company. The Circular Economy is a concept I became familiar with on a theoretical basis thanks to GLOCAL and  I am looking forward to putting this to practice.    

What skills and experience are valued in candidates applying to work as an international trainee?

My program specifically sought after generalists. Looking at the applicant pool of my program, I can attest that international experience and advanced English proficiency are mere prerequisites — it is also about knowing and being able to convince recruiters about your ‘unique selling proposition’, i.e. why must the company choose you and not anyone else. In my opinion, resourcefulness, proactivity, and problem-solving skills are the most common traits among those who were selected.

Do you have any tips for current GLOCAL students in their job search after GLOCAL (especially in Germany)?

I found investments in learning the local language, accumulating work experience in Germany, and reflecting on one’s strengths to have the highest returns. I started learning German before I started my 3rd semester and was able to attain C1 level proficiency by the time I started my job. Knowing some German is always better than nothing, even if the company’s working language is English. One thing I learned the hard way is internships and working student experiences in Germany are arguably the most valued during recruitments, even more than your education background, and these opportunities are almost exclusively reserved for enrolled students. So my advice to GLOCALs would be to plan for that. I’d also recommend spending time thinking about how to explain GLOCAL and how it fits the job concisely, as it is a rather unconventional program. Reaching out to your network (especially program alumni) helps tremendously in this.

Author: Jeen Vern Liew
Editor: SzuTung Chen
Featured Image Designer: ChangLin Yiin