Richard Barnard, current student of the International MBA program – Class of 2010, updates us on his internship with Boehringer Ingelheim.

On internship here at Boehringer Ingelheim in Germany summer has arrived and with it the second month of my IMBA in Practice placement.

I work in the corporate headquarters HR department with a focus on global enabling functions (Global Business Systems, Finance, Legal, IS, Procurement), research & development and medicine. I am incorporated into a small team of HR Business Partners whose role it is to provide strategic and tactical HR services to the functional areas of the business. Having not worked within HR previously, this internship is educating me in the critical importance of the current HR function. Modern HR does not align with the stereotype of HR as a back-office clerical process, but rather it takes a dynamic role interfacing with, supporting and empowering the core of the company’s business.

My newly acquired International MBA knowledge and skills are being put to the test too. The projects I am working on involve the following aspects: change management, corporate restructuring, project management, business performance analysis, career pathing, relationship management, networking, and, critically, the ability to communicate and present business concepts, actions and results to senior management committees. From this perspective the internship is proving highly rewarding as I see clearly how the IMBA classroom content can be applied within a real business environment.

From day one of the internship I’ve been expected to engage with the business and deliver results. Boehringer Ingelheim promotes a culture of “Lead and Learn” to enhance the way in which all employees work together to achieve their personal goals and the corporate vision of “Value through Innovation”. The four components of Lead and Learn are: taking the initiative; connecting with colleagues; growing together; and getting results. On reflection, this culture ties perfectly with the IMBA programme. IMBA students are all required to take the initiative on projects, connect with their fellow workgroup members, grow and develop together with their classmates and ultimately deliver results of the highest quality on a regular basis.

Having settled well in to my internship position the next 6 weeks will be defined by my ability to deliver first class results in all the varied projects I am working on. Of particular interest is the implementation of the company’s Global Business Systems framework into the Italian national subsidiary, for which I am devising the change management and project management feedback framework. It is an intimidating task in terms of work load and timeline but one that is proving immensely rewarding, providing me with exposure to the frontline of our business service delivery, corporate restructuring and reporting to the highest levels of senior management within the organisation.

In many ways, the emphasis on fast analysis, heavy workload, short timelines and first class results is exactly what the IMBA students achieve on a weekly basis. The IMBA programme has prepared me well thus far.

Auf wiedersehen ‘til the next time.

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