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Silke Herold and Thomas Block report on their internships at INVERTO

Silke Herold

Why did you decide to do an internship at INVERTO?

After two successful internships in the industry during and after my bachelor’s degree in International Business from Maastricht University (majoring in Supply Chain Management), I wanted to really get to know a consulting company and gain a better insight into its day-to-day operations. I had already come across INVERTO at a university event in Maastricht, where I was immediately impressed by its specialist expertise in procurement and supply chain management. Fellow students who had already completed internships at INVERTO only had positive feedback, which provided yet more motivation to submit my application.

INVERTO not only advises its clients, but also manages implementation in terms of procurement and supply chain management. This gives you a direct insight into the savings and improvements that the processes achieve for each client. This operational focus and the longer project timescales compared to other consultancies were major reasons behind my decision to apply to INVERTO.

Were your expectations met during the internship?

My expectations were more than met during my time as an intern at INVERTO. I was involved in two exciting projects and extended my internship by a month to five months in order to provide support for an important client meeting.

My first project, for a web-based social network provider, was already in its final stages, so I took part in negotiations for outstanding requirements such as telecommunications and building management. After a short induction period, the project manager gradually began to give me more and more responsibility, which enabled me to gain valuable insights.

When it came to the second project, for a leading internet company in Germany, I was there from the outset. During the potential analysis phase, the whole team worked on creating a ‘spend cube’ to assess negotiable requirements and overall savings based on the client’s procurement data.

Both projects have given me a good insight into the day-to-day operations of a consultancy and important experience.

Describe a typical day at INVERTO for you.

My daily routine at INVERTO depended on what stage of the project we were working on. Virtually no two days were the same, which is something that really appeals to me about consulting.

A typical day usually started at 8am. Each morning, the team usually had a quick discussion about the tasks for the day and the schedule, including prioritising activities. Then I set to work on my individual tasks. These included creating tender documents for individual requirements, evaluating them or even creating documentation for supplier delivery deadlines.

We often had supplier appointments or client meetings (e.g. fixed weekly appointments) in the afternoons. The project manager often brought me along to these meetings so I could get yet more insight. In addition to routine tasks, I was increasingly called upon to carry out ad hoc searches on specific topics, edit important client documents or collaborate on presentation documents.

The end of the working day was generally between 7pm and 9pm, but it could also occasionally be later, depending on how much there was to do.

What was the most fun thing about your internship?

In general, my internship was very varied and diverse. The most fun part was participating in negotiations with potential suppliers. After a preliminary decision on suppliers was made using the company’s e-contor bidding tool, negotiations took place with qualified suppliers. I found the related selection criteria (KPIs) and processes particularly interesting.

And what was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me was the rapid integration required for complex issues or subject areas, but my colleagues were always helpful and supportive.

Did you have the opportunity to show and prove your talent?

Definitely – over the course of my internship, I was gradually given more and more responsibility by the project manager, enabling me to show my skills. Feedback discussions and very open communication with my colleagues meant that I was able to develop continuously. Overall, I experienced a steep learning curve during my internship at INVERTO.

 

Thomas Block

Why did you decide to do an internship at INVERTO?

I already found the topic of procurement fascinating during my studies, but, unfortunately, it was not dealt with in detail. That is why I decided on an internship at INVERTO, to get a deeper, practical insight into the subject.

Were your expectations met during the internship?

My expectations were met completely. Right from the outset and over the course of two projects, I independently carried out a wide variety of tasks for the procurement process. Procurement tasks are becoming increasingly complex, because it is recognised that it is no longer purely about buying. However, developing procurement is often not a priority for companies, which means that implementing systematic procurement initiatives and structures has so much potential. The projects are sustainable and completely reconfigure the client’s procurement, if necessary.

Describe a typical day at INVERTO for you.

Both projects were located in the Cologne area, so I didn’t have to travel, as is usually the case, and could go home each night. From Monday to Thursday, I worked at the client site. Working closely with colleagues and the project manager, I worked independently on tasks such as supplier research, requirement analysis and preparing for negotiations. As required, I also accompanied colleagues to supplier discussions or internal meetings with the client. On Fridays, all colleagues gathered at the Cologne office to attend training, have discussions or work on the week’s issues.

What has been the most fun thing about your internship (so far)?

Developing and monitoring a complete supply chain management initiative has been the most fun. For example, this begins with requirement analysis for an initially complex component group for a specific end product. To do this, you have to become familiar with the subject matter and develop into an expert on requirements and market conditions. This can mean calling the United States, India and China all in one day to speak to potential suppliers. The next step is developing a sourcing strategy and, where appropriate, managing tenders. The final stage is negotiating with potential suppliers and concluding contracts.

And what was the biggest challenge?

At the beginning of the internship, getting involved in ongoing projects was a challenge. I had to get to know INVERTO’s procedures and my colleagues and also navigate the client’s environment, with their many different contacts. The learning curve was very steep, especially at the beginning, and it took some long days to master it. However, you get used to the workload and working rhythm, which are initially unfamiliar for students.

Did you have the opportunity to show and prove your talent?

Due to the technical training I did before my business studies, I was particularly involved in machine and plant engineering projects, enabling me to contribute my knowledge to the team. Over the course of the internship, you are constantly supported and challenged so that you are always learning something new and developing your talent.

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