Applied education and a Pandemic: A conversation with our internship coordinators

Applied education, such as is offered at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, presents numerous opportunities for students to interact with society and industry with a goal to apply their knowledge and skills in the real world. At International Business (IB), one such opportunity granted to our students is our international internship program. Here below an insight into this opportunity and its coordination as discussed with IB’s internship coordinators Mr. Celso Meiller and Ms. Laura Raumane

Our two experts both teach People and Organization specialization at IB. Like many of their colleagues they each present an impressive CV from their time in industry. Celso came to IB with over 20 years of experience in process improvement and as an HR consultant in concerns including IBM and PwC. Laura, following her graduation from IB in 2013, and having specialized in HRM, went on to work in recruiting before progressing to six years in learning and development at Ernst & Young. She is now back at her Alma Mater, sharing her knowledge and experience with new generations of international business professionals. It is easy to see why together, they oversee our internship program.

Lecturer profile picture
Lecturer profile picture

We asked them a few questions pertinent to our internship seeking student, industry partners, and potential new industry network.

Who benefits from the internship? 

Quite a few stakeholders. 

The student benefits by being able to apply their knowledge and skills in the real world. As an intern, students can experience the independence and responsibility the professional world requires of them, while receiving guidance and supervision in their status as students.  

As an internship program, we can help in building the talent pipelines of companies. Most of our students go on to become valuable employees between 0-3 years of graduating. This is testament to the well-known fact that internships are the best job interview mechanisms for young talents. 

By sponsoring interns, companies have a say in our curriculum. At IB we constantly request feedback from companies. This feedback, as well as the active participation of many of these concerns in our business advisory council ensures that our curriculum continues to be future proof.  

Why is this a meaningful role for you? 

Internships offer our students the best scenarios to see how well they can apply their learnings in the real world, it is wonderful to be able to facilitate this opportunity for them. It is also important to connect the academic world with the business world to both ensure that we are helping students acquire a relevant set of skills and competencies, and for industry to help us do so. Procuring companies to make internships available to our students is an essential part of the process and requires you to think parallel to the needs of both the curriculum and industry. It keeps you on your toes.

How do IB students stand out? 

By the time IB students are ready to start their internships, they have been part of a truly international student community of over 60 nationalities. They have practiced international teamwork, communication and crisis management in 6 different semester-long simulation exercises, each collaborating with industry sponsor.  

The IB curriculum offers students four specializations to choose from: Marketing, Finance, Operations and Supply Chain and People and Organization (HRM). However, and before they specialize, our students acquire a broad foundation in each of the disciplines. This allows them to perform as linchpins between two or more business functions in any internship sponsor company.  

In short, our students stand out because they are capable global citizens with a comprehensive knowledge base and problem-solving abilities. 

How does Internship at IB work? 

With almost 30 years of applied education under our belt, we have built up a comprehensive network of industry partners who sponsor internships to our students. This network regularly adapts to socio-economic and technology changes, aiming to offer students an internship experience attuned to the times, Over the last 5 years, a little over 200 IB students completed a semester long internship all over the world in various sectors.  

Throughout the duration of their internship students are in regular contact with an IB internship supervisor, who in turn also has periodic contact with the company supervisor, thus ensuring a useful internship experience for all parties involved.

International Businesss Internship partners per industry

How has COVID-19 impacted the IB internship program? 

The labour market took a hard hit worldwide as a result of the pandemic. At the time when lockdowns and social distancing measures started to be implemented here in Europe, many of our students were already settled into internship rounds that began in February 2020. For most of this cohort this meant that they had to get online and work remotely. Thanks to excellent hand holding from many of the internship sponsors, as well as the flexibility and adaptability of our students, this was accomplished well.

For some students however, the COVID-19 pandemic meant they could not continue with their internships and had to find alternative postings. We are happy to report that this batch have successfully completed their internship semester. Having seen the impact this pandemic was having on the labor market, and especially our internship program, we strategically expanded our internship portfolio for our next batch of students.  We proactively sought sponsorship in pandemic resilient sectors of the economy, such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, agriculture, and IT. Our programme is happy to note that the reception for these internships have been warm and welcoming for all stakeholders. 

What’s next? 

Every crisis is a learning opportunity and, looking back, we are so very proud of the talent pool we recognize in our students. Together with our industry partners and many new internship sponsors we are discovering new ways to engage our students and offer new internship opportunities.  

IB internships will continue to expand its portfolio to include more sponsor companies  in most sectors of the economy. We have adapted our internship program to make blended and remote/virtual internships an important component of our internship program, thus tracking  the new ways of working that the economy is adapting to. 

NOTE: If you are interested in sponsoring students on internships in your company, or would like more information on the IB internship program at THUAS, please mail C.A.MeillerSalinas@hhs.nl.

My Career Journey in Professional Recruitment for the fields of Sales & Marketing

by Mariya Stancheva, IB alumni, Associate - Sales & Marketing Recruitment at Michael Page International.

Hand on my heart – I was not planning on becoming a professional recruiter before I started my study program. Was it a good choice to become one and stand where I am today? Oh, most definitely YES! Let me tell you why…

My name is Mariya Stancheva – born and raised in a small city close to the beautiful Black sea cost in Bulgaria. I come from a normal family and I know it was difficult for my parents to support me financially in my dream to study abroad. However, in 2012 we made it happen and I came to the Netherlands to follow a Bachelor’s degree program in International Business and Management studies in The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

I noticed I was a little bit older (21) than most of my co-students at the time and they would notice
I was a woman on a mission. The goal was clear for me – get the most out of the study in this leading educational program. I would always attend classes, I voluntarily signed up for 2 minors and I would get involved in as many extra-curriculum activities as I could handle (World Class of The Hague, organizing IB Got Talent, etc.) I also found time to go out with my friends and enjoy the student life in The Hague. Looking back on those years, I am grateful I ran that extra mile as this helped me tremendously in connecting with a lot of like-minded people during my student years and it was excellent for my network which is one of the most crucial elements of a successful career (as I happened to learn later on while working).

"I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort bubble."

Michael Page: Stock-listed A-brand Company in the Agency Recruitment world

After my exchange semester in Thailand (Bangkok), I was actively looking for an internship. To be completely transparent and honest with you – I was a bit confused which direction to pick. All I knew is I wanted to be challenged even more and I didn’t want to do the same thing day in and day out – I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort bubble.

I remember the day I stumbled upon an internship post on our university’s Blackboard about a position at Michael Page in Rotterdam at the recruitment team for Sales & Marketing jobs. I researched the company and decided to apply. 3 days later I found myself in an interview, having a great click with the hiring manager (thank you for believing in me and coaching me Stefania!) and quickly realized
this is exactly what I needed at the time. Long story short – from 6-months internship, I got extension for another 6 months to write my thesis project for Michael Page. Then I was offered to stay and work at the company which I embraced as a great opportunity. For the last 4,5 years I have grown from Intern to Trainee to Junior Consultant to Consultant to Senior consultant and now I am an Associate in the team Sales & Marketing (the associate track is recognized as an expert path in recruitment in the context of our organization).

"I like to see myself as an entrepreneur with the backbone of a big organization."

So What do I do as a Professional Recruiter?

As a professional recruiter (on the agency recruitment side) I have a 360° consultancy role. This means that I am always “ the spider-in-the-web” in between several groups of stakeholders that I need to understand, manage and advise in order to deliver superior recruitment services. On the one side, I work with my clients – these are diverse companies that have certain recruitment needs. On the other side, I search, screen, select and interview candidates – these are sales and marketing professionals that look for the next step in their career progression. I am managing recruitment projects from beginning to an end – from a recruitment need arising at our clients to placing the right professional on the job,  while constantly mediating between the two sides, connecting the dots, advising and consulting and spotting potential gaps that can make or break the whole process, advising on offer management.

How do all the assignments come in? Sometimes companies call me with the request to help, but often time I am pro-actively busy myself with business development. I continuously look at market trends, news, vacancies posts and I do commercial (warm/cold) acquisition in order to get new projects to work on. I have full freedom to build my portfolio of clients and companies I want to work with.
What I truly enjoy as a recruiter is that I am not the whole day behind a computer matching CVs with jobs I work on. Besides being often on the phone, in various meetings and interviews, I am also on the road. I visit clients, pitch for new projects, I do job intakes/briefs. This is the part I love about what I do daily – every day is different, every client has diverse needs and projects always require custom-made solution I need to come up with as a business professional. If I have to sum it up in my own words – I have a very hybrid role combining HR, sales, marketing and project management. I like to see myself as an entrepreneur with the backbone of a big organization.

"I am still using every day a lot of things learned during my study."

How my IB Study program contributed to my success on the job

I am still using every day a lot of things learned during my study. I recruit sales and marketing professionals – having studied these subjects naturally helps when having an in-depth conversation with candidates and clients. With my knowledge I can directly build rapport and demonstrate I know what I am talking about and I am a specialist in the field.

However, a big learning curve for me came during some parts of the study program that many of us underestimate while studying. Integrated projects, team work, all the applied group assignments – those are key elements of our program that help us shine later on in the office. We all know the struggle to find the right team dynamics, to understand different cultures, to get everybody to meet, to handle a group member that is slacking and literally undergo many headaches to get a project done on time. Reflecting back – at the beginning of my study I would excel individually, but I had great challenges working in a team setting. Going through the whole forming, storming, norming team building exercise that we studied about during the Organizational Behavior module was a real-life challenge. But those integrated projects were of paramount importance to my development.
The fact that IB program continuously puts us in an environment that was challenging is very powerful for growth and development. You cannot learn this from the books – you need to be given the space and guidance to experience it and learn from it.

By the time I got my diploma, I could handle properly various real-life scenarios and business assignment. I noticed at work it came naturally to me to be very hands-on, capable of working in a newly formed team that has to resolve a business issues quickly and effectively.

"It turns out you don’t have to have it all figured out before or during your study."

Reflection moment

Looking 8 years back in time spent in studying and working in the Netherlands, I am very grateful for the opportunity to have entered the doorstep of The Hague University. The whole experience was key to the successful start of my career. This is why I am now a genuine ambassador of the program.

Looking on the way forward – I have made the decision to settle in the Netherlands and continue my life and career here. I have made a lot of friends, most of them from our university. I also bought a house 2 years ago with my fiancé. I can enjoy the stability of my permanent contract, good salary conditions and bonuses (+company car, flexible working hours).
I am feeling happy with where I stand and what I was able to achieve in this period of time.

It turns out you don’t have to have it all figured out before or during your study
– something you should explore opportunities you did not think of, take that leap of faith and try out until you find out what you enjoy doing. The International Business program gives the perfect overall view on business but it is you who needs to decide in what area you want to further develop and progress – it is a personal choice and responsibility.

And then another final thing to end with that you won’t read in the study books that I want to share with you –
follow that intuition and heart of yours. Often times you already know deep inside the answers you seek – be brave and daring to act upon new possibilities and be confident enough with your education and preparation to show up and get to the next level.

Round Table on Employability and Trends in Internationalization

Dear students,
We are eager to welcome you back to the campus shortly and already have something of interest for you on your return.

Having completed your time abroad on exchange and your semester of internships, many of you now have your eyes set on possible first roles in the work field. This would therefore be an opportune moment to explore and identify the skills and competencies that you now possess as well as understand the demands of the ever evolving international business scape and what it seeks in terms of 21st century skills from its professionals.

On the 29th of January 2020, as part of IB’s accreditation activities, we have therefore organized a round table discussion facilitated by Lector Jos Belen and panels populated by industry experts, alumni and relevant student representatives.

The themes being presented and discussed are:

  • Trends in Internationalisation
  • Trends in employability skills for the future: which two employability skills will become more prominent?
  • Examples of what the IB programme is already doing. What should be done more? What does this mean for partnerships?

Event details:
When: 29 January 2020, 15:00-16:15
Where: OV3.37

We hope that participating in this discussion would allow you to equip yourself well as you take your first steps as new professionals following your graduation from IB.

We have reserved 50 seats among the audience for you, our final year students.

To claim a spot all you have to do is register via this link: https://forms.gle/8aJF73YpWpjf1hkQ6

Registration deadline is Friday 24 January 2020.
Hope to see you at the round table.

Regards,
International Business

My road to becoming a Digital Marketer

by Andrew Overheid, 3rd year IB student, currently interning at OnLogic.

My name is Andrew Overheid, and today I want to talk about how I became a digital marketer at OnLogic. I am 24 years old, and I am a student at International Business at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. This Bachelor in Business Administration gave me the foundation I needed to pursue the career that I had always dreamed of, and in this blog I will take you through the steps I took to follow this path.

Where my passion for Digital Marketing started?

In my second year of IB, I started to grasp the meaning of Digital Marketing. In that time, companies started to invest more and more into digital marketing. For us students, this was strongly evident on social media for example. Besides that, YouTube was a big platform for me that showed how much companies started to invest in digital marketing. As a fresh business student, this got me curious about the techniques behind online advertising. Since the textbooks at that time had more information about classical advertising (TV advertisements, newspapers and magazines), I decided to explore on my own. I learned about Social Media marketing, SEO, SEA, and all the skills that digital marketers should have.

Other courses at IB helped me to explore this. For example, International Marketing Communications in my second year gave me the freedom to do research for a marketing plan, where I could involve as much digital marketing as I wanted. Then at my Integrated Project 5, which was a research project, I did research for an Ice Saloon about how to increase sales with a low-investment digital marketing plan. Here I started to see the possibilities of using digital marketing as a tool for any type of business at a relative cheaper cost than traditional marketing. 

Eventually I decided to do my minor in Branding & Marketing Trends, which is a very B2C oriented minor. But it was at my study abroad at the ESIC Business & Marketing School where I truly started to understand what digital marketing entails. After some intense digital marketing courses, I learned about Analytics, Digital Customer Journey’s, Bidding Strategies for Digital Advertising, and so much more. It was at this point of my academic career that I knew that I wanted to be a digital marketer. 

"If you truly have passion for something, you are able to learn more and more."

Digital Marketing in practice

With all my knowledge and passion for digital marketing, I decided to have digital marketing as the core element for my internship in my final year at IB THUAS. A little context: during a guest lecture at the Branding Minor, I made a very interesting context with Laurens Elderman, an ex student of IB THUAS who ended up as a digital marketer at OnLogic. When I was searching for my internship, I decided to get in touch with Laurens, since his presentation about digital marketing inspired me a lot at that time. After exchanging details and talking a lot, I had an interview at OnLogic, about a potential internship as a digital marketer there. Anyone who knows me that I passed this interview (as I like to brag a lot about my awesome internship at this unique company). 

During this internship, I reviewed all the knowledge I had about digital marketing, and discovered that I actually did not know that much about it. There was a huge difference between theory from the books and internet, and actually doing things. My advantage here is that at IB THUAS, you get to do a lot of practical assignments. My other advantage: working a company culture where learning is encouraged and helps is always around the corner when needed.

Even though Digital Marketing turned out to be a complex and essential organ of a company, I decided to soak up every bit of information I could during my internship there, so I could prove that I have what it takes to be a digital marketer. The bottom line here is that if you truly have passion for something, you are able to learn more and more. But having this very supportive Company Culture definitely helps as well.

"Don’t stop at what the courses try to teach you, and become an expert of the things that you love."

Some takeaways from a digital marketer to IB Students

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to teach a social media class to the PR Students of IB. With my experience in Digital Marketing and my general interest in Social Media for brands, I was able to carry my passion to some very enthusiastic people who were happy to learn. It got me thinking, that it is important to have some peers in your academic surroundings that help you to get motivated and help you to realize what your passions are. That person might not always be around the corner. So what I basically want to tell to anyone who is in IB right now, is to follow your passions.

At IB, you have the opportunity to get this huge foundation in your first two years where you get to know all the areas of a business. This is the time for you to find out what you like and don’t like about business. Use this time to find your passions, and what you truly want to achieve in life as a business person. Another takeaway is that you can always learn. Even if the books don’t give you the knowledge that you are seeking, you still live in a world where almost anything is accessible on the internet.

Don’t stop at what the courses try to teach you, and become an expert of the things that you love. Lastly, I want to make sure that whatever you do in life, try to find a company that is right for you. Try to find a company where you can achieve where you want to be. When you are in that part of your life to look for an internship or a job, it is okay to be picky. In the end, you have to be happy with what you do to get the most out of yourself. 

This was my take on being an IB Student and finding my true passion in business. I’m always open for any questions, so you can always find me on LinkedIn.