Employee Story Of The Month: Meet Lilian, Dual-Study Intern

Valeriia: Hi Lily, welcome. Thank you for joining.


You’ve been with Homelike since the spring of 2021 and you’ve been doing a dual study program with the traineeship in the Global Supply Operations team. So, I think it’s a pretty cool concept. So, it would be nice to explore your experience together. So maybe let’s kick this off with your introduction.

Lilian: Yeah, sure. First, I can maybe explain what dual studies are in general because most people are not aware of it, it’s a typically German concept. So, the main idea is to do your studies and to gain some work experience at the same time. There are different concepts and every company can handle them by itself. So, for example, I have the concept that I am at university two days a week and here at Homelike three days a week, but there is also a concept when you can change between the university and your company each quarter, so your three months at university and then three months completely at your company. And yeah, so I’m here as a long-term intern, which means that there’s like no official education for me at the company.

This is also a concept that is maybe possible, but we don’t do it here. This is not a problem at all, because all of my team members are trying to coach me or see themselves as mentors, which means they are helping me a lot and also teaching me with their work experience. So, this is mainly the idea of a dual study. And yeah, so far, it’s pretty cool. Because I can also like to see all the theories at university and then come here into the company and also transfer over my wisdom and see, like, how it works in real life. Because I mean, all those theories you learn at university are pretty smart and cool, but sometimes it’s a little bit different in the real world – how to handle problems or how to solve issues. And that’s every time really interesting to see how it works out or not.

Valeriia: Yeah, for sure. And what is your major and what is the duration of the program in general?

Lilian: Oh yeah, of course. I study general management. It’s more like economic studies. And I’ve chosen a specification on marketing and yeah, it’s a normal bachelor’s degree which means it has a duration of around six semesters, which means three years. And it’s also the duration I stay here at Homelike.

Valeriia: Mmm, okay, I see. You also mentioned earlier that you could choose either to do a couple of months completely like university, so only studies, and then do a full-time internship at the company. So why did you choose the other way – to combine both at the same time? What advantages do you see for yourself?

Lilian: So first of all, my study subject is only offered in this way. So, it was not really my decision but I see many advantages in this model because just imagine you’re three months at university and then you come back to your company and I think I should need every time a new kind of onboarding just to get back into the business. Like, what are the main topics now? What are our quarterly goals? What did we achieve within the last quarter? So it’s every time like a new jump in a new onboarding and also if I want to participate in projects, which maybe take a little longer than three months or even if a project only takes three months sometimes there’s like some pre-planning or some I don’t know, maybe it takes a little longer and then probably it’s quite set to participate in a project and then you have to leave just after those three months and you cannot follow up what’s going on with this project. So yeah, it’s also quite cool for me to have this mixed-up week. So, I’m two days at university and three days at Homelike, which means I have like every day something different to do and my week are full of diversity. And yeah, that’s for me.

Valeriia:Yeah, that makes sense of course. I see your point. This program is in general really focused on getting theoretical and practical knowledge and experience. So do you have any examples of when you benefited from your work experience at the university or maybe the opposite? Did you get there a chance to implement theoretical knowledge from the university in your place?

Lilian: Hmm. So, my third semester just started, which means I’m at the beginning of my studies. So far I’ve only learned the β€œbasic” theories, which means something like SWOT analysis or PEST analysis and so far I was not able to implement new ideas to Homelike yet because most employees here already have the knowledge I have and therefore we already use those concepts, but the other way around, it is a huge advantage to work here at Homelike because every time I’m at university and we learn something new, I can immediately transfer it to our examples. Like what we do as a company to fulfill those strategies or concepts or models or whatsoever we are talking about, which is really nice because I can learn better with examples. So, every time I learn, I write down the model or the strategy we learned and then an example from Homelike which makes it extremely easy for me to keep it on my mind. And yeah, it’s also quite nice because my class is full of dual students, which means everyone works at a company. And while we are in a lesson, my lessons at university are really interactive, which means the professors not only talking, but it’s more like: β€œhey, does anyone here in this class have an example for this?” So, every time everyone in my class is giving examples and then you also like to know which advantages my company has in comparison to different companies and we can also learn from each other and give each other tips like how we can structure different processes. So, this is extremely interesting and really helpful also for me.

Valeriia: Yeah, super interesting. I mean, it sounds way more productive, to be honest. Because I even remember back in my university days, I used to like Google real company examples or watch YouTube videos to really understand certain concepts or theories. It was really like I felt the lack of experience in certain areas and when I started working, I was like: β€œOkay, now I understand this even better”, so I can imagine how this could be helpful. I honestly don’t know why not everyone is doing this program because yeah, I really like the concept honestly, but you are doing a management degree and specializing in marketing. So, what are your professional goals in general? What direction do you want to go?

Lilian: Hmm, so I don’t have a fixed plan yet. I like certain ideas and like Plan A, B, and C and see how it works out. So, my priority is to finish my studies and have my bachelor’s degree afterwards, I want to take something like a gap year because when I graduated from school, it was in 2020, which means I wasn’t able to take a gap year and travel because of covid restrictions. So, I want to do something like an internship abroad for maybe half a year or something. And after that, I want to continue my studies and do a master’s degree because so far my studies are super fun and I love to go to university I can definitely imagine doing dual study again. So, let’s see how it works out in about two or three years but then I’m definitely applying again to Homelike for a dual study. And so far my favorite subjects are marketing and also microeconomics, these are super interesting for me so I can imagine doing my master’s degree also in this direction. But this is not a completely fixed idea for me. It’s just a direction which is possible for me. And also, here at Homelike, I switch departments sometimes, which means most of the time I spend in Global Supply, but here and there whenever I ask, I can also switch teams. So, for example, this year, I’ve already visited our marketing department and the finance department. And next year, I will also join talents and culture, so your department. So during my studies, I will also like to visit many different departments just to get an idea of which work is the most fun for me and where can I see myself in the future. So, everything is super open. And yeah that’s also a huge advantage of the dual study just to get all those impressions out of different departments and to see what you can do.

Valeriia: Yeah yeah, many options. Let’s see where your journey takes you in the end. Quite interesting. But also I personally do not know many people doing such a program. So, when I heard about it from you, I was interested. So, I did some research and I saw that many people doing the program, sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed with both: workload from university and work. So, exams or maybe some challenging projects at work. So, I can imagine that could be true. How do you manage your time? Do you get enough free time as well? Does it get overwhelming? What is your situation?

Lilian: Yeah, so my workload changes between the weeks. So, for example, I wrote my last exam for this year, which means for the rest of this, like now we have the middle of December, but the rest of December, I don’t have any stress regarding university, which is like pretty relaxing and cool, but especially during my exam periods it can get stressful sometimes. But then I can use my weekends to prepare myself or to learn for university also a huge advantage at Homelike is that we have flexible working hours which means I can schedule my days as I want to and how it suits me the best. And it’s also really nice that my team is quite young, so the age average is quite young. And everyone is feeling super much sympathy for my situation because they are like: β€œyeah, I remember university from just a few years ago”. So, whenever during lunch breaks or after work, I talk to them, they can also give me some tips sometimes or some examples, which is also super nice and helpful. And yeah, so it’s sometimes a little overwhelming, but in the end, I can manage it really well. So, I don’t really feel overwhelmed all the time, not at all.

Valeriia: Yeah, very nice. It’s good you have support and I think in general even if you’re just a student, there are overwhelming days and weeks, especially exam periods or projects at the university. It just cannot be just fully relaxed all the time. So I think it’s quite normal and it’s all about time management and organizing yourself, as you said. So yeah, sounds good. And I think from my side that is all. I mean, I would say I have more questions, maybe we can do like part two, once you experienced the talents and culture department. So, for now, thank you, Lily, so much for sharing your journey so far. As you said, you recently finished your exams, so I hope you get great results on all of them. I’m sure you did great.

Lilian: Thank you so much.

Valeriia: Alright. Thank you. Take care. Bye-Bye.

Lilian: Bye.

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