Summer MBA Intern at Bayer: A beautiful mosaic of people, culture, and impactful projects
Halfway through my internship, if I were to describe my experience to a friend, I would astonish myself because here is how it might sound like: “Hey Brandon, have you ever felt warmth from a firm during an interview itself? A firm that lets you work on impactful projects with diverse teams and offer you coffee chats with the most senior leadership, including the Chief Procurement Officer?!”
1. Coffee chat with the Chief Procurement Officer
My name is Ashish Jain, I’m a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Procurement Intern at Bayer this summer, and this is my story.
Getting Recruited at Bayer
Both my parents worked in healthcare, so I somewhat knew the way Bayer is changing people’s lives. Post my MBA, I wanted to switch to healthcare and found an excellent opportunity in Bayer’s Procurement Masters Intern (PMI) 2021 program.
Having gotten a chance to interview, I started reading about Bayer’s culture. I also spoke with some Bayer employees to understand the pulse of the organization. I was particularly intrigued by how people-centric this firm was but again thought that no company would write on its website that “we are not people-centric”.
Little did I know how accurate Bayer’s description and reality were. My 60-min interaction with the interview panel had taken me by surprise. They were humble, energetic, and most importantly, wanted to “really” get to know me. I was not directly tested on my hard skills, but rather on my LIFE skills. Well, Bayer’s values are perfectly captured in their famous acronym called LIFE- Leadership, Integrity, Flexibility, and Efficiency. And people here live by it!
People & Culture
Interning at Bayer was a great opportunity to get a glimpse of real professional life at Bayer. At the cost of sounding
larger than life, Bayer truly has people at its heart. It could look like corporate jargon, but I have felt it on a daily basis.
Take for example, how well-structured the Internship program was. The program ensured that all the procurement Interns felt supported. Not only impactful projects were sourced, but we were also given a choice to select which ones we would like to work on. Not to mention, the “buddy” ecosystem of a highly experienced mentor and a recent full-time MBA procurement trainee helped me sail through the roughest tides. There was not a single week that my buddies did not take the time to speak with me. The relationship often went beyond the professional framework, with my buddy coaching me on my overall career trek, navigating the cultural nuances, and networking with the right people.
Projects that matter
Like I mentioned, we got to work on real-world problems through our projects. In my case, I worked with Trey Maresca, who was both my project sponsor and a mentor in many ways. We worked to develop a tool that combined complex data sources to present a simplified version of spend mapping that will help Category Managers not only drive their strategies but also help in successful contract negotiations. The tool was published as beta version to take buy-ins from our key users. In the project, I not only worked with my sponsor but used my work as a stepping stone to connect with so many other category managers and analytics SMEs. This project went further when my learnings got picked by a Senior Program Manager who envisions combining this work with his to make what he calls “the ultimate tool” for all Procurement Managers.
Likewise, for my second project, I worked on a “first-time-ever” at Bayer North America. With the help of my project sponsor, Christine Tinker, and the Global Process Owner (luckily, also my buddy), Ryan Whitmore, we created a tool SAP Ariba to automate the end-to-end process of creating a purchase requisition.
Sounds fun, right? It was amazing to work with such capable people on projects that mattered.
The Bayer Procurement Internship is not just about projects. The experience is a package filled with challenging projects, networking opportunities, fun activities, and professional development.
Even as an Intern, I got the chance to be part of the SWIRL Team that is leading the I&D initiatives for Bayer procurement. We were also given a platform called “Young Professionals at Procurement” to share our activities, project progress, and just any thoughts with the wider procurement community.
Lastly, professional development was a blessing. Bayer’s Toastmasters chapter offered to cover our costs to complete level 01. Toastmasters is an excellent, community-driven platform to improve your public speaking skill. Similarly, there were many opportunities offered such as resume improvement sessions hosted by the emerging talent team and improving your LinkedIn profile by professionals from LinkedIn.
Coffee in my blood
There is coffee in my blood, thanks to the endless opportunities to have a 1:1 coffee chat with just about anyone in this organization. Personally, this has been my biggest takeaway. I am unable to think of a scenario where the head of a large enterprise offers to give me 3 coaching sessions from his unbelievably tight schedule. I met over 40 leaders in Procurement along with my wonderful Intern peers- Ling, Tina, Jared, and Caitlin, and some just one on one. We were in no way restricted to meeting people in Procurement. I met leaders and managers across functions and geographies- from VP Marketing Procurement to the Head of Global Supply. That’s how open people are to speaking with you! It is rare.
2. Coaching Sessions with the Head of Governance and Enabling for Crop Science
#TeamBayer is special.
Contact me on LinkedIn if you are curious to learn more.