Mark H.

Application Portfilio Management Internship
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Mark H.
Language and Linguistic Science
German and Spanish (with a year abroad)
United Kingdom

My employment

Application Portfilio Management Internship
Deutsche Bank
Finance and consultancy
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Application Portfilio Management Internship in Germany

What I do

I worked in the Application Portfolio Management section of Deutsche Bank, which provides the link between the IT side and the Business side of the company. My daily duties and responsibilities ranged from taking minutes in meetings, to giving presentations about new business ideas for this section of Deutsche Bank, to collaborating a 70 page handbook which now acts as an instruction manual for both existing and new employees.

Skills I use and how I developed them

Being a language student I was obviously there to improve my German, which was something that certainly did improve. I was also asked to translate documents from German to English, meaning my vocabulary improved. I also improved day-to-day skills such as note taking, data input and conversing with others. When you are put in a different situation to that you are used to, especially in a foreign country, you have no other choice than using your languages to converse with others. For example; asking for help or explaining things. It may seem daunting at first but it definitely improves over the placement, and your confidence also develops at the same time.

What I like most

The people I worked with were extremely helpful, especially at the start of the placement when my German was not just as good, and I was new to the sector and didn't understand everything that the Application Portfolio Management team did. My colleagues were extremely helpful, and Deutsche Bank also had hundreds of interns working at the same time as me. This meant I easily made friends with other English and German interns; we all went for lunch together and each Thursday Deutsche Bank organised a social event for all of us. A lot of us still keep in contact now, and we have met up since finishing our placements.

What I like least

There was nothing I disliked about my placement. The Application Portfolio Management sector is quite technological, so sometimes that was very difficult to get my head around, as I have never studied anything like that since IT in school. It meant I had to spend the first few weeks learning new terms and how things worked which was a bit tedious, but at the end of the placement I had learnt a new skill.

What surprised me most

I would say that the thing that surprised me the most was how much I changed as a person over the year; in a good way. A placement in general makes you a lot more confident as a person, and teaches you skills you have never experienced before. A placement in a foreign country where you need to speak a different language improves your confidence and attitude even more in my experience. Since returning from abroad, I regularly think that if I have done this and that in Germany with no problem, then I can easily do this and that in England. I would also say it surprised me how much a placement on your CV improves your employment chances. A lot of people say this, and a lot of people think it isn't true, but when I started applying for jobs with a placement at Deutsche Bank in Germany on my CV, a lot of employers said how impressive that is and how they are looking for people with experience.

How I looked for work

As I studied German and Spanish, I knew I was doing a placement two years in advance. This didn't mean I started looking two years in advance, but I knew I wanted to do a work placement instead of studying or teaching, which were the other two options for my year abroad. I started looking very briefly about 7-8 months before I started. I started by writing businesses that I would be interested in on a pad of paper. I then sent a general email off to them explaining who I was and if there was any chance of a placement with them, along with my CV. This method proved to be quite difficult, as a lot of companies simply did not reply. The University also offers a lot of links to different placements. Many companies were emailing my German teacher asking for people who would be interested in their company. This was an easier process as you have a direct link to a company who is asking for interns from England. There are also other websites that offer placements. is popular in Germany, and there are forums such as that have people who recommend placements which they have done before.

How I found out about the job

The University of York German department

The recruitment process

I sent my CV off to Deutsche Bank around October 2013, a long with a cover letter explaining who I was and why I was applying for the job. I then had to have a telephone interview with the director of the Application Portfolio Management team who asked me questions about University and what interests me about this job. The interview was mostly in German, but also a bit in English. He also told me what would be involved in the job. After the interview I got an email two weeks later saying I had got the job, and after that it was mostly administration things which I had to sort out, i.e contract and University documents etc.

My advice to students considering work

I would definitely recommend doing a work placement. As I have already said, you gain a lot from it and you get to see how you enjoy the professional life. A placement makes you a lot more confident, and also provides you with fantastic connections for when you start looking for a full time job after University. Many employers want experience nowadays, so you definitely have an advantage if you have a placement already on your CV.

Other advice

If you do get the chance to do a placement abroad, I would definitely recommend it. You learn a new language and culture, and again, it looks very good on your CV.

Contacting me

I am happy to answer any questions you may have about my placement specifically, or any other placements abroad.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Mark’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Mark a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Mark to be your mentor.

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