What is interesting is to get to know all the different people, groups, departments and systems that are involved in large projects at Allianz.
First, tell us a little bit about yourself:
My name is Greg Wiseman and I am currently interning with Group Project Management at Allianz in Munich. I am Australian, and grew up on a farm in country South Australia. To put things into perspective, the nearest cinema to where I grew up was 150km away, and the nearest town was 8km away and only had 100 inhabitants. After attending the local school (which was all ages with only 100 kids) I was lucky enough to go to the state capital Adelaide for my last 3 years of high school and my university studies. Adelaide is about the same size as Munich, and after growing up in such a remote area, the first thing that strikes you is the number of opportunities that are available: so many different types of food, sports, people and culture to experience.
I studied at the University of Adelaide, completing a Bachelor of Commerce, with a double major in Corporate Finance and International Business, and a Diploma in Language (German). During my studies I undertook a student exchange, traveling to Mannheim, in the southwest of Germany. This was my first time traveling overseas. This is probably still the greatest experience I have had so far in my life. The exchange provided me with similar new opportunities as the move to Adelaide did, and I was lucky enough to make a great group of friends from all over the world, many of whom I still keep in touch with.
How did you first get interested in interning at Allianz? Describe your experience applying for your internship.
Following my graduation, I jumped on a plane to Munich with a one-way ticket. As an Australian I had a few months to get myself sorted before I needed a visa, and I had friends from my exchange with whom I could stay. Upon arrival I started scouting the internet for internships and other similar positions. I know it may seem a little weird to be undertaking an internship AFTER graduating, but between university semesters I was generally back on the farm helping my family, completing summer school to finish my degree faster, or working to support myself away from home. As such it was an experience that I felt was necessary before launching into a graduate position.
I was lucky enough to get a reply from Allianz, and when you get an offer of an interview from one of the 25 largest companies in the world, you don’t say no. At this point that I had finished my language diploma nearly two years before arriving in Munich, and as such my German was fairly rusty. However, the HR team was very patient with my recovering German, and they all spoke exceptional English. The interview process was conducted in a mixture of both languages, and was a little bit different to what I was used to in Australia, requiring a good understanding of your own abilities and the aptitude to prove it. I was lucky enough to be offered a 6 month internship with Group Project Management.
What is your average day at work like?
Once I began work, I discovered I was working as part of a project team devoted to the development and implementation of a new computer system. As someone quite familiar with computers, this was really interesting, and gave me the opportunity to be involved in the development of a system that is going to be used all around the world. I was transferred into the Quality Control team, and the biggest part of my job is testing to make sure that the products that we produce are defect-free, as well as looking for ways to improve our testing methods and accuracy. Within my team I work with a Columbian, an Ecuadorian, a Moldovan and an Indian. We just need someone from Africa and North America, and then we’ll have every inhabitable continent on the planet covered. With such a variety of nationalities, English is the norm, however I speak German when I can: always good to practice!
What do you most enjoy about working for Allianz?
Allianz looks after their interns really well. Our lunch is heavily discounted, allowing us to get large meals for no more than 3 or 4 euros and there are always events organized for us to meet other interns and work students, such as bowling or work drinks.
What do you find most challenging about your internship?
The biggest challenge for me at work at the moment is the technological aspect, coming from a Finance/Management background, with only informal studies of IT; I struggled early to grasp some of the concepts involved in the project. However, everyone in the team was super patient and I quickly got my knowledge to where it needed to be. What is interesting is get to know all the different people, groups, departments and systems that are involved in such a large project. Not only do we interact daily with many other business segments here in Munich, part of our test team is as far away as India.
written by Greg Wiseman