My Internship

Introduction I clinched an internship position as a Sales/Marketing Intern at Daimler South East Asia Pte Ltd from 9th June 2008 to 8th August 2008. The company is located at 3 Temasek Avenue, #29-01 Centennial Tower, Singapore 039190. I was attached to the Bus & Coach department of the organization. Daimler South East Asia Pte Ltd

The company Daimler is a wholly foreign owned by the main office in Germany. The office here in Singapore is a regional headquarters for South East Asia, which includes countries like Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. The organization umbrellas the renowned German car superpower, Mercedes Benz, and the brand comprises of both passenger and commercial vehicles. The office will gather market information from the various countries in the region, and then report to the headquarters in Germany. Work at Daimler SEA

Before I started work at Daimler, I was informed of the work responsibilities I will face. It includes supporting the monthly planning and reporting process, doing market analysis, supporting parts business process with the various markets, support daily sales and marketing work, as well as helping out in the various marketing activities. Initially, I did not really have a clear idea as to what my job scope will be like since I was attached to the Bus & Coach department, and I personally do not have an excellent idea as to what the Bus & Coach industry entails or require. However, I was eager to learn from my colleagues in all the various aspects.

When I first started at Daimler, my senior manager, Mr Thomas Bauer, was very patient with me. He gave me a detailed and enriching briefing session about the background of the company, as well as the things the department do, and things I can do to help them during my internship period. After substantial interaction, I learnt that Mr Bauer has been in the business for over 20 years, and have been located at various offices around the world, including his home country Germany, as well as Beijing and Singapore.

He also travels extensively around the region for meetings with the various managers to discuss on the strategic planning for the coming years for the Bus & Coach department of Daimler. My department comprises of 6 people, out of which 2 are senior managers in Parts and Sales, 3 are managers in After Sales and Sales, and 1 is the secretary of the department. They were very patient with me, and taught me important skills I can carry with me for life. During the span of my internship, I drafted out various Powerpoint Presentations for them, as they need to present performance statistics as well as strategic plans to the various stakeholders of the company.

I learnt that presentations have to be really professional, and every single detail counts. I could not afford to make any mistake in the various calculations as figures are very vital in these presentations. Initially, I tend to overlook the minute details such as color coordination and image alignments. However, after various advices from the rest of my colleagues, I have learnt to be more detailed and have higher expectations of my presentations. I also helped them with coming up with forms using Excel, as well as the monthly and yearly planning reports using Excel sheets and linking them together.

I learnt that Computer as an Analysis Tool, a module I took the term before, was really useful as I needed to use functions I learnt such as vlookup and running macros to make the forms viable and useful. However, I learnt that I should always double check my work before sending them out to the department. There was once I sent out the form to the others, only to find out that a function within the sheet did not work. I had to redo the sheet before sending it out again.

That caused some confusion among my colleagues and through this I have learnt that checking my work is really important. I also attended one of the meetings with Mr Kurt Zimmer, a representative from the After Sales Parts from Germany, in which Mr Bauer presented figures and statistics on a powerpoint presentation which I was in charge of drafting out. It was really heartening to see my hard work being put to good use and I felt really accomplished when Mr Zimmer praised our department for the wonderful presentation. I think that the bus & coach industry in SEA is generally undermined by many who do not know the industry well.

However, after being attached to the department for 2 months, I feel that this industry has so much potential that is yet to be tapped on. I also learnt the distinctive features of the industry, which tends to use more of basic marketing skills such as pricing, product development, rather than advanced marketing skills like branding, advertising. This means that the industry tends to be less dynamic.

Also, given that each bus or coach will last for 20 years on average, aftersales is very important as training and after sales maintenance is vital to set Daimler apart from the other brands if they want to generate higher profits. I feel that not only have I learnt technical skills from this internship, I have learnt soft skills which I cannot learn from the classroom alone. I have learnt to deal with my managers’ expectations and advice professionally and take them as important lessons to be remembered. I also learnt to take failures in my stride and instead of falling back on them; I should use them to motivate me to do better next time.