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Trainee program Start up! A sneak peek into the wonders

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My name is Naveen, and I would like to share my experience which, I hope, will help you to get a sense of what the program is all about. I am writing this for all the graduates who scourge through different resources to learn what DT’s Start up! has to offer.

To be honest: It is impossible to share everything, I have tried to cluster my journey based on different milestones as part of the program. If you want to get more details, don’t hesitate to contact me via LinkedIn.

Prelude – My onboarding experience

group picture in the foyer of Telekom Zentrale

Together with me, twenty other graduates started theie career at Telekom within Start up! trainee program.

While Covid-19 has pushed everything digital now, I am happy to recall that my batch was lucky to get a week of onboarding in person at different DT campus in Bonn doing various sort of onboarding exercises.

The great excitement in twenty pair of eyes is still something I can’t forget. From team building exercises to presentation about the company strategy, the overall structure of the program, potential assignments, IT-tools for virtual collaboration work within Deutsche Telekom. There was a lot shared as part of the onboarding week.  

My first assignment – Customer Digitization Europe

My first assignment was in a multi-cultural Customer Digitization Europe team where I got to work with OneApp and OneShop team experiencing the digital revolution. It was an amazing experience evaluating the need for an Identity Access Management solution to shortlisting the right vendor at the end.

I also got the exposure to managing and monitoring e-commerce performance marketing targets and budget for the European NatCos. Working on the OneApp content management system, I had the chance to work with the Gurgaon Digital Labs team in India.

During my assignment, once I had the chance to go to Amsterdam for an off-site to collaborate with teams spread across Europe. Moreover, during the same time I got to be a part of a few day workshop called Search Inside Yourself (SIY). SIY is designed to teach emotional intelligence through meditation. This program helps you discover yourself; I really took a lot out of the workshop. 

My second assignment – Group Brand Management

My second assignment was in Group Brand Management. Perception is reality. And I understood Brand management as creation of perception in the minds of people. A strong brand is highly valued in the market. Deutsche Telekom being among top 3 brand it was a great learning on what we stand for as a company, or what we represent.

Therefore, it was super exciting to work on We Care (Sustainability label) with Group Corporate Responsibility. I had the opportunity to work with great agencies and develop the We Care label and guidelines from scratch. I also got the chance to be in a trade fair in Berlin to represent the We Care project.

A group of young NGT participants sits on the podium and discusses

NGT is an event where the best talents from across the world come together to experience what Telekom is all about with amazing keynotes, workshops, fun exercises, and a networking event at the end. The Start up! community has the end-to-end responsibility to organize this event. It is heck of an experience to be a part of the organizing team and to see the event live.

My third assignment – Cloud Adoption Services (T-Systems UK)

After a very good onboarding (from explaining the structure of T-Systems UK Public Cloud unit to Cloud Service Models) I got to work on exciting topics such as Go-to-market strategy for Cloud Readiness Assessment tool, Lead Generation Campaign, and in the role of Partner Manager for Microsoft. The assignment gave me a good impression about the wide presence of T-Systems, its business, and the diverse colleagues. 

I loved the vibe in London, its competitiveness, great institutions, and people from across the globe. Because London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) being close to the office location and also Cambridge and Oxford were not far away. I have taken great impressions and benefits for myself (e. g. joining the LSE festival or attending some open sessions on business topics) 

My fourth assignment – Commercial Management

There I focused on working in the Hello Magenta team building Voicification Strategy. Even though I wanted to do product management, but after I started, I realized it is more of Commercial Management for Voicification business as the product Hallo Magenta was in a mature phase of its development on which I wanted to work earlier. I was also glad to be a part of Hallo Magenta Mini smart speaker launch which have a lot of insights on what goes behind the screen during and after product launches. 

My fifth assignment – Contact and Complaint Management

Working in service is one of the best experiences, I’ve ever had. Getting an opportunity to listen or interact with the customers firsthand is the best way to know about the product and services we offer. While being in this team, I had a chance to do an International Benchmarking for Contact and Complaint Management at Telekom level. From finding the right contacts/team to presenting the concept for such benchmarking was a tough exercise but it was great to have seen everyone coming together to share the ideas and actions which they took on their level. It doesn’t help to reinvent the wheel again and again. It really helps to listen to everyone, and exchange knowledge so that we don’t repeat the same thing or put a lot of exercise in discovering the same things.

Naveen is standing in the Telekom-Shop

As part of customer service days, I chose to be at Telekom Shop, Alexanderplatz in Berlin for a week for my shop visit where we have received a mix of national and International customers learning about Telekom product and services. Read more about my experiences there.

On my way to my target position after finishing the Start up! Trainee program

By now I had the experience of five assignments in hand and I was ready to take a big responsibility. As I wanted to combine my tech, marketing, commercial, sale and service expereince together it was the right time to do product management. I got the chance to become Product Manager for IoT solutions on an interim basis before I found my new role withing the company. I took it by heart because I wanted to experience the responsibility, to learn from it and grow. 
I had an amazing time creating Proof of Concepts (POC) for a localization solution which we intended to offer. Within a few months we got the platform ready, procured devices, shortlisted customers and ran the POCs with a great result. 

Are you interested in applying for Start up! Trainee program? Here are my hints for you:

  • Be aware you have to learn a lot about the company, always looking for the next assignment. Apply for work visa (applicable to expats). Options may bring confusion as well, so, in a company where there are hundreds of interesting teams it is quite some effort to think which one to pick next.
  • Since you change assignments every 3-6 months, you are always taken out of the team as soon as you have been familiarized. On the other hand, this is an opportunity to learn as much as possible from the global group within 15-18 months.
  • Every Start up! trainee has a different approach and hence for the same program one can derive different value out of it. 
  • In a huge company like Telekom with seven board areas, and thousands of departments it may not an easy choice to decide where to work after finishing the trainee program. Build up a diverse internal network, select as most as different assignments to be prepared.