Maria Cristina Sanchez

Who are you?

Maria Cristina Sanchez, Junior, Electrical Engineering 

Who is your employer?

BMW Group
Munich, Germany

How did you learn about your internship?

From the description of the program I attended, I first heard that there was the option to intern with BMW when doing the academic year abroad in Munich. Then I was encouraged a lot by Sara Spiegler and other students at the university in Munich.

What was the application process like?

I applied both on CareerBuzz and directly on their website. Applying through CareerBuzz is the easiest way to do it and the option I recommend. I applied late in CareerBuzz, so I also applied on their website. But the application directly with BMW is long and it takes longer for them to contact you in case they wanted an interview. And it is less likely that they will not require German knowledge.
The interview was in person, both interviews I had with them. In my case one was in German and one in English. The interview I had in English was through the application in CareerBuzz. My mistake was applying late because they contacted me too late for the interview, and since they wanted a second interview, I had to say no to that one because it would have been too late for me to register the internship with Gatech. My recommendation is, APPLY EARLY!

What were your major tasks or projects at this internship?

I mainly worked with Matlab. I had to program a GUI with Matlab that would take in data from the OBD sensor in the engine and then tell the user what errors were caused and how many. During the length of the interview we kept adding more and more things to the GUI. On the side of that project I attended a lot of seminars, I helped debug errors in Matlab code. It was a very good experience.

Do you have any recommendations for Georgia Tech students looking to intern in the same company or country?

It is good if you want to work at BMW that you know a little German. Even though they don't require it most times, it's still good for the social part of the job. They like to go out after work together a lot, and it would just be very uncomfortable for you not to understand anything. It would also help you make good connections over there. Germans love speaking english though, so if you don't know anything don't worry too much. BMW as a company is a great place to work! The people are very friendly and helpful, at least in my case they never left me without anything to do. I appreciated that!

How has this internship influenced your career path?

I found out I was interested in fields of my major that I never thought I would have been interested before. Automation Engineering is a field that I now find very interesting. I think the internship helped me realize the many options I have.

Where did you live? Did you find accomodations independently or with your company's help?

I lived in an apartment. When you're not a student in Germany anymore it is a little hard to find a dorm that will take you without the registration paper to a German university. I recommend starting to look for a place as early as possible, in websites like wg-gesucht.de or something like that. BMW also offers accommodation to their interns, but they rarely have availability. In my case, they called me to say they had a place for me a month after I started working.. I guess if you apply early enough it would be fine. If you get an internship through careerbuzz with them, they will provide travel expenses and offer you a dorm, or the option to pay up to 500 euros of rent for a place you find on your own.

If paid, did the company you worked for pay you enough to live off of your salary or stipend, or did you have to supplement your income with personal funds?

In my case, since I didn't find my internship through careerbuzz, it didn't. The fixed salary for a mandatory internship in Munich is 680 euros per month. With rent in Munich being at least 500 euros a month.. it's not enough. If you find it through CareerBuzz, then they pay for up to 500 euros of your rent, which helps A LOT. Munich is a very expensive city, the most expensive in Germany, so take that into account.