Over the summer, I chose to complete my internship with a 10-week program at Anheuser-Busch InBev here in Bremen. The internship was intense – it was kind of like being thrown into the deep end of the pool and having to figure out how to do pivot tables in Excel in order to stay afloat. It required a lot of on-the-job fast learning, quick responses, networking and I ended up taking quite a lot out of the experience.
AB InBev sells beer, and is one of the top 5 FMCG companies in the world, alongside Coca-Cola, Nestle and Proctor & Gamble. They own over 200 brands, including well known German beers like Beck’s, Frankiskaner, Löwenbräu and Haake Beck, as well as international brands like Corona, Stella Artois, Bud Light and Budweiser.
The company itself is very special; the culture is very irregular to the normal big-company-bureaucratic-hierarchy style that you would find at multinational companies – the work environment was really A+. It is a bit of a ‘Boy’s Club’ since it is a beer company, but if you’re more or less easy-going, it is a good fit. The people were all very intensely ambitious and work very, very hard. Some people work 10 or 11 hour days, and stay till 5pm on Friday, but they also all hang out afterwork, go to football games, festivals together. Most of the people are very young (20-30) and thus, it was a lot easier to talk to them and hang out. I think the most impressive thing about the entire company was the company culture, because it really fulfilled what they marketed to us in the beginning.
I was put into the department of Sales Off-Trade to work on “Discount Distribution Strategy” – so about the development of a strategy for the discounters here in Germany and how to place ABI products in these supermarkets.The first part of the internship was really about research, so I did a lot of POC Tours with sales representatives and also went to locations myself to learn about the beer market, the supermarkets and strategic advantages we could take. I also met sales reps from Fritz-Cola, Coke and Redbull, which was pretty cool.
I learned a lot in the internship, not just about my project and the industry, but also about what I could possibly do in the future. Technical knowledge – I learned a lot (a lot) about Excel, Drotax, and Nielsen. I also learned a lot about the beer industry, how it works, and all about how “Sales” works in a huge company. This internship influenced me tremendously, because as I mentioned before, I wanted to experience one end of the spectrum in a huge company. Next on the list would be to experience a small start-up or medium-sized company, because both sides have quite a bit to offer and it’s really about what you personally find more suited to you.
In conclusion, an internship is really about just being a learning experience – it’s there so you can find out more about your personal preferences, and it’s fine if you really don’t enjoy your two months of internship. It’s better to dislike two months of internship than to hate your 1 year long out-of-university internship. Really just take your time, learn a lot (learn everything), talk to the people (honestly, talk to everyone. I asked so many questions.) and make sure you make a good impression in case you want to return to the company.