Posts Tagged ‘faq bep mba recruiting

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face. (Autumn quote by Jonne Donne, picture courtesy of Paplo Arias on Flickr)

Parque Retiro, Madrid

If you are about to graduate from b-school you probably feel less romantic about this time of the year. I know that right now you are juggling two very important aspects of your MBA; revising for your finals and at the same time procuring not to miss the boat on the recruiting and job application front. I know exactly what you are going through.

Not surprisingly, I get a lot of emails these days about Bertelsmann and the Entrepreneur Program. I am delighted to help you and will try as much as I can to answer your requests. Many of you share the same questions and doubts so  I  thought it might be a good idea to answer them on this blog. I also invite you to post additional questions through the comment feature so that I can answer them in a conversational fashion.

Here are some of the FAQ’s:

  • I have an on campus interview scheduled, which aspects of my application should I focus on?
    • The BEP specifically appeals to entrepreneurial minded applicants. Recruiters will put a lot of attention on your proven ability to create, innovate, change and lead. Have your pitch about your past or present projects and ventures ready. Obviously starting something is extremely hard and chances to land a big hit are dim, but this is not the point here. Important is your spirit and the way you brought your ideas forward.
    • Also remember that Bertelsmann is a Media conglomerate. It helps if part of your entrepreneurial energy addresses some of the pressing issues a traditional media company is facing. Think digital!
  • I have no prior experience in the media sector, do I still have a chance?
    • Yes you do! I had, and I am sure others will have too. Your interest in the sector however, should be genuine and well founded. To me it was more of an advantage to be from a different background. Sometimes it helps to have a clear mind about certain things. And especially in the media sector a perfect understanding of the past does not mean that you can architect business models of the future even though old media is trying to do just that.
  • How many people get accepted?
    • I cannot tell you the exact number for the 2010 intake but in 2009 four people got hired.
  • Who determines the projects during the program?
    • You do. Well, obviously this is not a cherry picking contest. You will always have to network your way through the organisation and sell your idea or input to the divisional management. You are expected to contribute and not just be a silent bystander. But in general terms, there are no limits to where you could end up during the program.
  • What is your general perception of the program?
    • At Bertelsmann this is the top-talent program and enjoys considerable support and status. You are visible to the board and get support from corporate management development. It’s a great way to enter the firm, no doubt.
    • I would describe it as a learning and preparatory journey. Your projects usually last 4-6 month and in the majority of cases, have the character of a research project with a recommendation pitch to management in the end. Bear in mind that you always enter existing business structures and teams and that your room for innovation and change is limited. There have been exceptions in the program but in general terms I would say this is a fair judgement.
    • So don’t expect p&l responsibility and reporting lines straight away. This might be a challenge, especially if you had these responsibilities in your previous job and expected to build your post MBA career on that.
  • What can you say about pay? Is the offer competitive?
    • Yes, the package is above industry standard, about par with renowned consulting firms and round about 50% better than finance jobs these days. (yes, the latter was a joke).
  • Would you enroll again?
    • Absolutely!
  • Is there a downside?
    • If you don’t see a downside you might not have done your research properly. In joining the BEP you are joining a traditional media empire that has not yet found and defined its digital future. Make no mistake about it, there are other companies growing at a different pace with a different set of activities. Bertelsmann is still very much a physical media play. Books, Magazines, Retail, broadcast TV as well as print and services dominate our portfolio. You might argue that the distribution part of this portfolio is disrupted, and I won’t argue that, but at the same time this portfolio stands for great content for which we have to find new business models. This is a slow process and it is yet to demonstrate that turning a physical media company into a digital media company is actually going to work. So far we have no real evidence of this in the industry. But if you share my believe that it is possible and that we can do it, you have to join us!

I hope I could answer some of your questions and I wish you all the best for your finals and good luck with the job-hunt. Please post a comment if you have more questions or drop me an email if you want to discuss an issue in private.

Cheers, Tobias