Nihan’s Career Advice: Never give up! Show your real passion! Never underestimate an opportunity!
First, tell us a little bit about yourself
I did my Bachelor’s degree in Economics at Istanbul University. After graduating I started to work at one of the “Big Four” auditing companies, Ernst & Young Istanbul, but it took me less than a year to understand that auditing was not my dream job. I realized that I should shift from auditing to marketing, and I found an opportunity at the Bridgestone Tire Company marketing department as a brand management specialist. That job taught me a lot about marketing strategies, and I made many great friends and contacts there.
I always wanted to study or work abroad but I decided to wait until I had some work experience and had saved some money. Finally, after two years at Bridgestone, I applied to Bocconi University (Italy) for a Masters in Marketing Management and was accepted. I moved to Milan in September 2011. It was a social and cultural shock during the first few months: imagine a girl who has never lived abroad moving from a city with a Turkish-speaking population of 14 million to a new city with an Italian-speaking population of only 1.4 million, with English as the only communication tool.
How did you first get interested in interning at Allianz?
For my Masters, I had to complete a mandatory internship before graduation. Thanks to Bocconi careers service, I found the Group Market Management intern position at Allianz SE in Munich. I sent in my CV and then was invited to have a Skype interview with the Senior Manager and the current intern. I found the experience very positive and I got the feeling that they were also positive about me.
What do you most enjoy about working for Allianz?
The English Garden! It is a gorgeous park right next to Allianz Schwabing, which makes the campus even more exciting. After a tiring morning in the office, taking a walk in the park helps you relax and prepare for the rest of the day. Another amazing thing about Allianz Schwabing is the canteen: I will miss the variety of food and different tastes when I go back to Milan.
What is your average day at work like?
At first I was a bit skeptical about the internship because I already had 3.5 years work experience and wanted to be fully involved in projects, but so far, I can say that it has been a great experience for me and all the concerns I had were for nothing. I am currently working on a project called “OPEX for Mobile” which mostly focuses on supporting OEs (Operating Entities) in identifying integrated mobile solutions and planning their implementation. We organize workshops in different OEs/countries to present OPEX for Mobile and brainstorm to find solutions.
The first workshop was held in Dublin, and my director gave me the chance to attend the workshop. I really benefited both by getting to know the OPEX team and by getting prepared for workshops to follow. In addition, I was also invited to the GMM Internal Workshop, where we jointly elaborated the “What? Why? and How? We Work” in April. It was at the workshop that I met the rest of the members of the Group Market Management team. I’ve always believed that networking is one of the key elements to building a career, so I work hard to meet new people and show them my ideas. Luckily, at Allianz, you are given this chance very often with all the workshops and meetings held among different departments and divisions.
I always tell myself that changing my career from auditing to marketing was turning over a new page, and now working at Allianz is like starting a new chapter. I’m not only learning about marketing here, but also learning how to be responsible and self-reliant.
What do you find most challenging about your internship?
When I look back on my 4.5 months at Allianz, the worst part was the weather. Before coming here, everyone told me that I would be in Munich for the best seasons of the year, spring and summer. Unfortunately, 2013 was the year with the fewest sunny days and was full of rain. My dream of going to the English Garden every day will have to wait a bit longer!
written by Nihan Ozturk