Who are you?
My name’s Rebecca, 23 years old, and I’m currently in the second year of my master Business Communication and Digital Media. Before this, I followed the bachelor’s program in Communication and Information Sciences at Tilburg University. I have been an active member of Flow during all of my study years.
Where did you do an internship?
I did an internship at the brand management department of Hertog Jan. The brand management consists of a marketing manager, two senior brand managers and an intern (me!). For such a big brand, there are relatively few marketers. Hertog Jan is part of the largest brewing chain in the world: AB InBev. AB InBev has a large portfolio of brands such as Jupiler, Dommelsch, Corona, Budweiser, Tripel Karmeliet and Leffe. During my internship, I was in contact with almost all departments of these brands. This makes it super fun and varied!
How long did you do an internship?
I did a full-time internship for more than 6 months, from August 2018 to February 2019. AB InBev doesn’t have a 9-to-5 mentality, this was something I had to get used to in the beginning. From a student rhythm to a civilian life with an alarm clock that wakes you up daily at 7:30h. There were periods with so many chores that I was in the office until after 19.00h, which is no exception here. Sometimes you work at home in the evening after dinner or during weekends to update your mail.
How did you end up there?
My housemate did exactly the same internship over a year ago. He always came home late, but content. I asked him what such a brand management meant. He then responded with: ‘All sorts of things! And everything is fun!’ He also often came home with samples of products he was developing for Hertog Jan, such as a Grand Prestige cheese in collaboration with a local Tilburg cheese farmer.
During the application procedure, they paid attention to your motivation letter, your study background, whether you fit in with the informal, commercial AB InBev corporate culture, and especially what kind of activities you did outside your study. They were very interested in my foreign experience and my minor in Sustainable Community Engagement that I followed in South Africa. My minor fitted in very well with the international, sustainable and entrepreneurial approach of the company. Furthermore, during the interview you mainly had to be able to demonstrate why you have an affinity with the product beer (in a professional field :)) and why you are a commercial, proactive, critical, optimistic and independent jack-of-all-trades.
Why did you want to do an internship?
I wanted to do an internship because I wanted to find out where my interests lie for the future. We get a lot of theory at university and this was a chance to translate this theory into practice. During my bachelor’s, I did an internship at the Royal Netherlands Air Force. There I found out how much I enjoy being creative and being able to put all this theory into practice. That’s why I chose to challenge myself during my master’s and to work full-time in a large commercial company. Now that I have completed two work placements, I have a better picture of different company cultures.
What did you do and learn at your internship?
I find this a difficult question. I would like to describe it as my housemate did (‘Everything is fun!’), but I’m going to try to make it a little clearer.
Brand management at Hertog Jan is probably not exactly what you expect. It’s not about writing posts on social media, about answering Facebook messages or photoshopping advertising posters together. A big brand like Hertog Jan outsources this work to external parties that are specialized in this field.
It is about managing your brand: switching between your suppliers, your customers, your partners and various internal departments. This includes creative projects, but also less exciting jobs, such as processing quotations and invoices in SAP ERP and SRM (financial software). For example, when Hertog Jan sponsors an event, all the beer must be ordered internally, picked up by a logistics partner at a distribution centre, agreed with the customer at what time and where it can be delivered and when the packaging can be picked up. Just calculate how many parties are involved in one delivery! I also arranged everything related to award entries and in my second week I organised an internal beer tasting in collaboration with our Global HQ in Leuven for new concept beers from Hertog Jan. I also managed the stock of products on our webshop and Bol.com.
I was closely involved in the launch of the new Hertog Jan Winter Beer in several ways. A product launch involves a lot, such as requesting all nutritional and brewing information from the brewers, updating UnTappd, updating BrandBank (a platform from which all retailers get their product information and packshots), in cooperation with the trade marketing department ordering sales packages for the field representatives and attending the national product launch in the Jumbo Food market in Utrecht.
One of my personal bigger projects was the development of limited edition merchandise for the annual Grand Prestige day at the brewery. Together with my manager I redeveloped a jug that the brewery put on the market decades ago. In addition, I designed an 8-sided neck label together with a graphic designer and wrote the text for it, which was hung on the vintage jug. The photo of this jug received so much attention on social media that visitors from all over the country queued two hours before opening to get one. That makes you very proud! I had wine boxes engraved in which we sold Grand Prestige bottles from the year 2012. These were sold out within three hours! Some other products in development did not come into production at the last moment. I was closely involved in this and it has been frustrating, but you can’t bring everything to the market.
I also had the opportunity to work together with consumer research for new concepts and I have been at various fairs with our master brewer Gerard, such as the Bokbierfestival in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam and the Mitra Xperience in the Euroborg in Groningen. To top it all off, this year, in collaboration with a concept development agency, I put together AB InBev Christmas gifts for over 600 employees.
I also had the opportunity to walk along with various departments. For example, I spent a day with a field representative on the road at retailers, I joined the Telesales department and a day with special events for Leffe, where I got a crewpas at the festival ADE Into The Woods.
Did you get study delay?
Yes, I had a study delay of half a year because of this. Now it is a bit more complicated for me, because I had to stop writing my master’s thesis during spring because of a cycling accident. Because of this, I could not graduate that summer and I wanted to do an internship as a kind of distraction. This was a good decision! I graduated a little later now than my friends from my first year, but I think that’s fine. I am very happy with the relevant work experience I gained during my internship periods and I think this will help me to find a nice starting position once I have graduated.
Did you receive a compensation?
Yes, I received an internship allowance of €350 per month, with an extra €125 for my travel expenses. Just enough to live from in Tilburg, especially when you consider how little time you have left to spend money during an internship of more than 40 hours a week.