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Current position: Expert Talent Management, HR, Bayer France Support Functions (Bayer Group Platform), Lyon
Joined Bayer in: 2013
"VIE international internships are good motivation boosters for recent graduates. They are an opportunity to challenge yourself, get to know yourself better and come to grips with a different culture."
How did you come to do a VIE international internship (1) at Bayer?
The final year of my Masters course at EM Lyon finished with a six-month internship in France and another six-month internship abroad. I entered Bayer more or less by chance. I was a support person for the Bayer Environmental Science HR team at the global headquarters in Lyon, on strategic, operational and administrative HR topics. And my six-month internship abroad soon turned into a one-year VIE internship at Crop Science's global headquarters in Monheim.
What's the difference between an internship and a VIE?
The VIE scheme is run by the French Ministry of Foreign Trade (2) and takes place in a French company abroad. Whereas an intern has a support role, a person on the VIE scheme has a broader role, more assignments and more responsibilities.
And what were yours?
I worked in the HR BP (HR Business Partners) team for the R&D population. I was able to see the HR processes rolling, but on a different scale: there were 4,000 people in R&D, with widely varying profiles, compared with 750 employees in my previous experience. Working at headquarters also brought me into contact with broader-based planning and strategy.
What did you get out of this experience?
My internship at Bayer Environmental Science in Lyon had already given me the experience of an international environment. And even though France and Germany are adjoining countries, the cultural differences are more significant than I thought, especially when it comes to project management and management in general. It forces you to adapt, to think about how to handle different subjects and communicate with other people, to look at things from a different angle, and to think about your own aspirations. VIE international internships are good motivation boosters for recent graduates and a way for the host company to gauge a person's potential.
What happened after your VIE?
I joined the French Talent Management team last March as an expert in career development and performance management. It's a job with a lot of responsibilities and one you would hardly dare hope for at my age.
How did the year in Germany change the way you work?
I know better how to approach my German colleagues when we manage global projects. There's a lot to be gained by promoting this mutual understanding. It doesn't necessarily change the way you act, but it helps you bear in mind the different outlooks and adjust so that everyone is pursuing the same objective.
You've made rapid progress in your career...
People believed in me right from the start! I've been with Bayer for two years now and I'm constantly learning and growing - every day, there are challenges to meet. Bayer gave me a tremendous opportunity, but also took a risk by placing its trust in me. There are over 100,000 employees in the Group. And there are constantly new projects, new assignments and new markets that entail internal and international mobility, development opportunities and job rotations. A lot of doors open when you take an active role in your own development.
(1) Volunteer for International Experience [+ lien vers page]
(2) Managed by Business France, the national public operator working to internationalize the French economy.