‘What do you want to do after school?’ This is a question they start asking you when you are very little. The answer used to be something like a firefighter, princess, professional football player, astronaut etc. But the older you get, the more serious they expect your answer to be. I have found that this is one of the most difficult questions to answer. To help solve the problem of not knowing what to do (and I’ll admit, to postpone my decision for a year), I decided to do an internship.
After going through the application process, which is less daunting than one might think, I eventually ended up at Philips. Doing a study in Economics, you can end up almost anywhere. This is great, but when you do not know what you want it does not really limit your options. For me, Philips gave me the opportunity to do something that might not be the most typical economic job there is, which is exactly what I was looking for.
So what did I do? I had two supervisors, which meant I got to see two teams within Philips and also that I had two different jobs. For one of my supervisors I started to work on a project in September, and the project is still going strong. It is fun to see your work and responsibilities evolve and grow. You really get to see the impact of the project, and this project made quite a big one. It has even been internally and externally recognized by the Executive Board of Philips! Because it was a relatively new project within Philips, and actually everywhere, my opinions where valued and taken into account. They would have been anyway, but now I could influence the project a bit more than when it had already been going on for a while.
The work I did for my other supervisor was very different. A lot of research based, short projects with tight deadlines. Most of these projects were/are classified, but I can say that some of the projects have gone to Frans van Houten himself, the CEO of Philips!
One of the absolute benefits of working at Philips is that I am completely free to work when I want and where I want, as long as I make my hours and get the work done. Of course, I go to the office every week, although my supervisor and I have most of our meetings in the little pub in front of the office. However, having to travel for over two hours (one way) really makes me appreciate the fact that I can also work from home or on the train.
Furthermore, I like the international environment at Philips. There are few days where you do not speak English. You can have the most interesting conversations with colleagues from all over the world. I have met people not only from somewhere else in Europe, but also people from the US or somewhere in Asia. They all bring something different to the table with their different cultural backgrounds and that makes every day exciting.
The only downside to this is that you also sometimes have calls at hours you would not prefer. This is because of the differences in time zones. Being in Europe, however, you are still quite lucky compared to people living in the US or Asia and you can always balance it out on other days.
At Philips it is not always work though. Already in my second week there was this big activity for all the employees. I got to do some games at the Olympic stadium! And for those of you who worry that you will miss out on all the drinks you have as a student, don’t. Yes, you might not go for a drink as often but there are still times where you and the team go and have a beer and just relax after work.
I have learned a lot from my time at Philips and I will continue to learn in the time I have left. A few examples of things I’ve learned are how to present (both information and myself) to colleagues and people higher up in the hierarchy, doing different kinds of research and the more practical side of it, how to speak up for myself and my ideas and how to navigate such a big multinational company.
Working for a multinational company is very different from working for a small company, but it either suits you or it doesn’t. Even though I am still not certain what I want to do after my masters, the internship has made my choice a bit easier and I know Philips will definitely be an option for me.
If you, like me, have trouble figuring out what you want, just be bold enough to do an internship since this might help you find the right direction. And if you want to know something more about Philips you can always contact me!
Good luck to everyone having to make one of the toughest decisions in life!