By Gabriel Matar
Challenge Accepted. Those were the first words I saw when I entered the Anheuser-Busch office in New York City last November. At the time, I had no idea how appropriate those words would become. 10 months, one pandemic, and an eight-week virtual internship later, Nina Chatrath, Adeline Lang and I had a chance to be a part of the aptly named Challenge Accepted culture at Anheuser-Busch. All three of us were part of AB’s Global Management Trainee (GMT) internship, a cross-functional program of about 35 interns from a wide range of universities and educational backgrounds. GMT interns are placed in a variety of functions, including HR, Marketing, Sales, Logistics, and IT. The 8-week intern program is designed to be a preview to the full-time GMT program, a 10-month rotation between the different functions in the business.
When Covid-19 forced many companies to cancel their internships, Anheuser-Busch pivoted all their intern programs to an online setting. With the help of some great people in the People (HR) team, our projects were tweaked so that they would be able to be completed virtually!
About a week before we began the 8-week program, we were each placed with a “beerleader”, or mentor, to help us get acclimated to AB. Right off the bat, the company made it clear that although I was by myself at home, I was not working alone. Between my managers, beerleader, and various people introduced to the interns during our onboarding sessions, I had a multitude of people willing to be a resource for me. One of the biggest challenges of remote work is the lack of access to co-workers and managers. Setting a Zoom meeting or emailing someone with a “VP” in his/her title is much more daunting than just walking up to a desk or chatting over coffee in the break room. This is especially true when you can’t even put a name to a face! Luckily, I broke through the awkwardness quickly—it was a pleasant surprise that almost everyone in the company whom I contacted for questions was more than willing to give an intern some of their valuable time.
As GMT interns, Nina, Adeline, and I were all placed in different functions in the company. Our projects spanned a wide range; we were tasked with: developing a new beverage to add to the AB portfolio (Nina), onboarding accounts to an e-commerce platform (Adeline), and presenting a digital transformation strategy for Brewery operations (Gabriel). Additionally, all the interns worked together on developing a new non-alcoholic brand that launched this year. Between project work, we got a chance to hear from some very successful people from all over the company in the form of weekly webinars. The webinar series spanned the entire summer, covering AB’s 10 Leadership Capabilities, as well as personal experience for how each speaker got to where he/she is today. One thing that struck me from these presentations is that most roles in the company draw from every educational background imaginable. AB values team members who are comfortable moving into cross-functional roles and willing to learn in a fast-paced environment.
I am very thankful for the experience AB offered me this summer. Despite the remote work setting, I was able to learn a lot and develop some great relationships with my fellow interns. I encourage current and future T&M students to find out what opportunities AB has to offer for Summer 2021 and beyond. Just remember two words – Challenge Accepted!
Gabriel is currently in T&M Class XXVI, a junior in Industrial Engineering, and interned with Anheuser-Busch this past summer as a Global Management Trainee intern.