by Benjamin Wiggins ’24
Coming to Bremen, I wanted to find a way to both gain more professional experience and practice my German in a more formal, businesslike setting. Thus, it was great having the opportunity to intern with Mr. Drechsel, who operates both his own brand consultancy, BrandMerchand, and is the country manager of the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) for an English brand valuation consultancy named Brand Finance. The latter releases annual reports ranking the most valuable brands across different business sectors and countries. As part of my internship, I gained valuable experience translating report pages and advertisements into German, researching various business trends in the German economy affecting brands in multiple sectors, and always remembering to speak in the “Sie” case – a skill acquired both slowly and imperfectly.
As I started my internship, Brand Finance had just released an assessment of how sustainable fans and stakeholders perceive European soccer clubs to be–something German clubs are very focused upon. A project I worked on over the weeks with Mr. Drechsel was identifying different points of contact at each of the clubs in the 1. and 2. Bundesliga, Germany’s professional soccer divisions, while also noting a few of their sustainability projects and initiatives. It was interesting seeing the different aspects of Sustainability as denoted by ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) each club focused upon–some clubs were very environmentally focused while others had primarily social initiatives–while also learning about how the clubs, or Sportvereine, are structured as both professional corporations and historic sports associations. For example, one club, Borussia Dortmund, still has stocks that trade on an exchange. After collecting all the information, it was time to write email proposals to 12 teams who would likely be interested in the report. Writing business proposals was certainly not something I practiced in my previous courses, so I was pretty nervous beforehand. However, in the end, after countless rereads, corrections, and input from Mr. Drechsel, I was able to send out 15 targeted emails and even receive some responses.
Doing an internship in Bremen is something I recommend to everyone as it allows you to practice speaking and writing styles not often taught in the classroom. As I jokingly told my parents when they asked how it was going, I can talk about a poem in German, but giving Excel directions must be a C1-level skill. If you are interested in an internship, do not think that a few false conjugations while speaking or forgetting a word now and again disqualifies you from one. I certainly made many speaking errors, but I got to work with a supportive boss who gave feedback and corrections to support my language learning. Lastly, be open to everything. The research and writing I got to do for this internship were all really interesting and, as I look to pursue a Master’s in Accounting, connected well to my overall career goals.