Student perspectives

International Internship at the Headquarters of Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg in Lower Saxony has been invaluable experience for Václav Volf

07/31/2019

Our student, Václav Volf, has already taken part in the second international internship during his studies. Which interesting projects has he participated in? Where did his last business trip bring him and what kind of invaluable experience was waiting for him upon arrival in Wolfsburg? You will find out more in the article below.

When I was enrolled in the second active Master’s course of study, I found out that it was possible to take an international internship as a part of compulsory/optional subjects at this stage of the course, and I did not hesitate a second to go for it. I had already had impressive experience from a –six-month Bachelor’s stay in Audi AG in Ingolstadt, so my choice was clear. After a three-month search for a suitable place in German-speaking companies in the Volkswagen Group and after sitting an interview in summer 2018, I finally succeeded in getting an intern position directly at the headquarters of Volkswagen AG in Lower Saxony. I was employed in the department of “Produktmarketing of Mid & Fullsize Vehicles” in the period from January until July 2019. I did not have to address issues with accommodation and extra administrative queries as compared with my previous internship in Bavaria. The company Volkswagen AG officially provides accommodation and deals with all the necessary administrative queries for all interns and employees coming from distant locations and also offers them shared accommodation at better rates. Therefore, I could fully concentrate on my work.

My main duty was administrative support of permanent team members who care for vehicles such as VW Touareg, VW Atlas and VW Teramont – the so-called family of Volkswagen full size SUVs. I was also engaged in other interesting projects such as market analysis, proposal creation and final document preparation for Marketing and Sales, focused on complexity reduction (car part variants) of the vehicle VW Touareg. Shortly after the start of my internship in the middle of February, I started the preparation work for a very important meeting. Following this, I went on a business trip with a colleague of mine to the production plant in Bratislava where VW vehicles – Touareg, Audi Q7, Q8 and Porsche Cayenne are made. At this meeting, nominated representatives coming from technical development, production, purchasing, marketing and project management participated with the board members in deciding which parts would be unified or reduced with the main target – costs saving of the total project expense frame. This step would not have an impact on the customer and his/her own authentic feeling from using the product. The next two months passed by with non-stop mutual evaluation/analysis and consultation talks with separate divisions from all over the world, finally culminating in the second largest meeting in May. The cooperation was at an excellent level with a clear and visible result: a substantial amount of money to the tune of a few million Euros was saved, and I am pleased that I could contribute to that thanks to some of my proposals.

I was also responsible for preparation of presentations, documents and protocols for various corporate meetings, support during the meetings with other organisational units and preparation and analysis of market situation based on data coming from internal corporate systems. I was also involved in the analysis of other brands and inspection of our competitions’ behaviour alongside cooperating in the optimisation of the German configurator model Touareg. I was actively involved in organisation and car test drives of competitors’ vehicles. I could test various unconventional models, especially from China. I also accompanied my colleagues to different internal workshops and events where I could get a deeper insight into future company strategy and got to know more about the latest trends in the area of electromobility, connectivity and dashboard assistant systems.

I am very happy that I could apply my knowledge from my Bachelor’s thesis during this internship, where the main topic was the technical-economic analysis of D-class vehicles – a segment based on modern information technologies and assistant systems as well as general knowledge from the subjects taught in ŠKODA AUTO University. In this case, I could use knowledge from Strategic Marketing and Management, Project Management, New Trends in the Automotive Industry, Intercultural Competencies and, most of all, Introduction to Management and Marketing itself.

During my half-year internship, I met many interesting and inspirational people, and I am very grateful for that. The most valuable was a friendly meeting with Prof. Dr. Carl Hahn, the former head of the Volkswagen Group. He was kind enough to afford me an in-depth conversation in his office about cars, the economy and the corporation itself. This has been one of the best and the most incredible moments in my life.

In my free time, I had a lot of activities spent with my colleagues, roommates or other interns, such as football in the jump park, bowling and other motorsport activities, such as Formula E races. At the weekend, I went on sightseeing trips in Wolfsburg and its beautiful surroundings, which are rich in cultural and natural attractions. I visited the historical town of Braunschweig, a beautiful museum of windmills in Gifhorn, a railway exposition in the town of Helmstedt and the old church town of Königslutter. I could not miss a visit to Berlin and Hamburg. During June, I visited the historical towns of Magdeburg and Göttingen. Best of all was the excursion to the Jägermeister plant. Regarding my culture life, I went to the theatre, cinema, different lectures, and meetings as well as a football match of a German team.

What more to add in the end? I will repeat myself. I have been enormously grateful for all experience and possibilities I gained in this six-month internship. If you are still unsure about an international internship, I would urge you to allay your worries and go for it. It is not easy every time, but, from my experience, you will gain contacts and experiences, both personal and workplace– all of which are an inseparable part of an internship and will thus provide you with a great advantage when you look for a job.

Bc. Václav Volf