Richard Barnard, current student of the International MBA program – Class of 2010, talks about his internship with Boehringer Ingelheim.

During the International MBA Program students have the opportunity to go on internship for a period of 10-12 weeks (referred to as IMBA in Practice) whilst their classmates are studying Term 3 classes. This does not mean that the interns lose Term 3; they make up the core subjects on their return to Madrid alongside the core subjects for Term 4. The internship programme provides about 65 students with a fantastic opportunity to gain professional exposure during the one year IMBA program.

Many of this year’s International MBA in Practice interns have found their own internships through research and contacting companies directly whilst others have responded to application requests from the IE Careers Center. With such a diverse student body it is no surprise that the students have flown to all corners of the globe for their internships, including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, India, USA, China, South Africa, and across Europe.

I am currently interning with the global pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim at its headquarters in the town of Ingelheim, Germany, south west of Frankfurt on the banks of the river Rhine. The focus of my internship is Strategic HR for the Enabling Functions of the company, i.e.: the corporate functions that support the company’s business worldwide. The company operates worldwide with a global workforce of over 42,000.

For me the experience of working in a major multinational is invaluable because my background is in a start-up, project-based business environment in China, which whilst exciting and valuable did not provide me with a broader corporate and managerial perspective. Hence, the aim of my internship is to gain that broader understanding, to enhance my skills set and in turn make my profile more attractive to global companies that have business with China but also value my potential on a wider, global perspective.

For many of my classmates the internships are likewise a chance to test the newly-gained International MBA knowledge, clarify future career paths and possibly impress the company they are interning at enough to earn themselves a fast track application to a job offer.

Not forgetting my classmates back in Madrid studying hard through the Spanish summer heat for Term 3, I look forward to catching up at the end of August. In the meantime, I’ll start planning an IMBA weekend trip to Germany for you all … possibly starting in Frankfurt, a cruise up the Rhine River through the UNESCO heritage section and close out with good beer, tasty food and a massive party in Cologne … or something like that! Auf Wiedersehen for now.