MY BEP EXPERIENCE

5 month into the BEP program: some reflections

Posted on: March 12, 2009

The popular saying “time flies when you are having fun” is probably the best to description how I feel these days. It has been
5 month since I joined Bertelsmann and so far I have enjoyed every single day. Since a couple of weeks this blog is linked to the official career portal of Bertelsmann and I get some traffic from applicants who are interested in the BEP program. So this post aims to give people a better understanding of what to expect if admitted to the program.

Being a Bertelsmann Entrepreneur is a privilege. It’s true and here is why: You get almost total independence on what experience during 18 month you would like to have. It is up to you to explore the different areas of Bertelsmann and learn as much as you can. You can join projects in publishing, kick-start new projects in services or be part of strategic and more corporate function. As long as you can convince the people involved in these project that you can add some value, you’ll be on board. I yet have to find another company offering matching opportunities. Let’s face it – I am getting paid to do what I want! Fortunately, Bertelsmann does a lot of stuff I like and it is fascinating to become a part of it. Imagine you like jelly beans but especially the red ones. Well, Bertelsmann is a whole bag of all color beans and being a BEP participant they let you eat only the red ones. For me the red ones are all activities that are related to the digital distribution and consumption of media content. Currently, I focus on books and if you followed this blog you kind of know my state of mind on this topic. As I said it is a privilege and I am well aware that the expectations on me are high. Very soon I will have to make up for the trust invested in me.

My program started in Gütersloh (Germany) at the company’s corporate center where I was involved in a couple of M&A transactions withing the Direct Group business of Bertelsmann. Quite honestly, Gütersloh is not the sexiest place around and might not have much appeal to you, but just consider it as a good launching pad for your program. At the moment I quite enjoy living in NY . Check out some pictures of my office views and Broadway where I am located. The work I am doing here is much more operational than my previous project. Currently, I am helping to launch a start up company in the digital marketing space and at the same time I am involved in the formulation of a digital strategy for our publishing business.

The point I want to make is that one of the advantages of the BEP program is that you can mix all kind of projects and define your personal learning experience. This is great, especially if you have to learn “media” the hard way like myself.

There are however some things you might want to consider before you make your decision on whether the program is right for you or not. During 18 month you will not have direct P&L responsibility. If you come straight out of b-school or your own venture this might frustrate you here and then. For me it is fine as I am aware that I needed to learn the media business and that I would not be in the position to take on this responsibility from a start. But if you know the industry and feel you know exactly what you want to do, the program might not be so valuable for you. Also consider that Bertelsmann is an international company with operations all over the world. You will have to be very flexible in order to take the full advantage of the program. Bear that in mind and talk it through with your partner or family.

Ok, I hope this helps and summarizes my thoughts on the program. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Tobias


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1 Response to "5 month into the BEP program: some reflections"

Thanks a lot for the great post!

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