IEU Experience

20/03/2024

The Dual Degree in Business Administration & Data and Business Analytics prepares students to understand and analyze data, extracting relevant insights that will positively impact companies and businesses. Any student taking this innovative five-year program has the opportunity to study abroad and gain valuable experience in internships with top companies.

Fourth-year Dual Degree in Business Administration & Data and Business Analytics student Mahika Vats, from Jaipur, India, seized the opportunity to explore the impact of data in the business landscape by taking up an internship at Signify, a world leader in lighting products, systems and services. She tells us how her experience enabled her to get real-world insights into customer behavior and understand how to transform data into intelligence.

Stepping into a learning adventure

Signify is the world’s leading lighting company, with 124 million connected lightpoints and a turnover of 6.7 billion euros in 2023. With its strong focus on customer care, track record in innovation and commitment to diversity and inclusion, it’s an attractive workplace for any ambitious young professional. And for Mahika, it provided the ideal opportunity to put the skills she learned in the Dual Degree in Business Administration & Data and Business Analytics into practice. We recently caught up with Mahika to hear about her experience with Signify.

What was your role in the internship?

My daily grind was all about making sense of numbers and figuring out what they mean for our business strategies. The team I was part of had the role of analyzing the performance of the campaigns deployed by Philips for their smart lighting division, Philips Hue.

During this process, I got my hands on all kinds of data—analyzing customer feedback, cleaning up sales statistics and putting together data for different markets. It was like being a data wizard: I used cool tools like natural language processing (NLP) to understand and predict what customers thought about our products and campaigns. And when the holiday shopping frenzy hit, I was in the thick of it, using my skills to see how we could make our website a magnet for shoppers.

I wasn’t thrilled about the pre-cooked methods on hand, so I also dabbled in machine learning, teaching our systems to predict trends and customer behavior. I also got to play around with Excel in ways I never thought possible, linking it up with NLP to sort through customer chatter. It’s about zooming in on what people love and what they don’t, which is helpful for leveling up future campaigns.

Tell us about your experience working at Signify.

My time at Signify was like stepping into a learning adventure. It wasn’t just about punching the clock—it was about diving deep into data and turning numbers into meaningful insights. I learned the true meaning of transforming data into intelligence. Signify wasn’t just a place to work; it was my launchpad for growth.

My experience not only allowed me to apply the theories and concepts I learned in the classroom but also introduced me to a diverse and vibrant community of individuals from all walks of life. Signify’s international environment was particularly appealing, as it provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with individuals from various countries and gain insights from diverse perspectives. Interacting with people from different backgrounds, cultures and expertise added a rich layer to my professional journey. These connections and experiences enriched my learning and growth at Signify.

Additionally, during my internship I was able to hone my knack for understanding market trends. This focused approach has helped me figure out how to stay ahead of the curve, spotting shifts before they hit and seizing fresh opportunities as they emerge in the industry. It’s been all about keeping our strategies sharp, ensuring we’re on point and ready to roll with the ever-changing market scene.

What challenges did you experience and how did you overcome them?

Although I loved every second of my internship, as it was my first internship at a big company, it was a novel experience. I primarily faced challenges in the realm of time and stress management. My responsibilities were split between two demanding roles, each with a set of deadlines that often converged, creating a high-pressure environment. Balancing these concurrent streams of work required a strategic and disciplined approach.

Juggling work stress was also new, especially when my academic duties kicked back in, making for some seriously packed days and nights. Balancing university work and internship meant staying on top of things to make sure I didn’t drop the ball on either end. But honestly, it was all worth it in the end. 

Luckily, I had amazing mentors by my side, who were super understanding and patient. They helped me see that nerves could be flipped into excitement and that imposter syndrome was just another chance to level up. Their guidance was like a lighthouse, showing me how to turn challenges into opportunities for growth, faster and further than I thought possible.

How did your internship contribute to your personal and professional growth?

My time at Signify has opened my eyes to the vast world of data analytics and its endless applications. It’s been fascinating to see how this field meshes with everything from web design to product innovation. This experience has got me excited about the possibilities out there. Along the way, I’ve figured out what I’m good at and what I enjoy most—as it turns out, I want to get hands-on with product innovation and the creative side of things!

Working with a diverse team has taught me a lot about collaboration and communication, and it’s got me thinking about leading a team of my own one day. Plus, the international vibe at Signify has been a breath of fresh air. It’s the kind of environment I see myself thriving in. 

Looking forward, I’m itching to dive into new areas and see where else my skills can take me, especially as a woman in STEM. Overall, this internship has been a game-changer, and I can’t wait to see where it leads me next.

How did studying at IE University help you during the internship?

IE University was the foundation upon which I built my internship experiences. I can confidently say that my dual degree not only gave me the knowledge but also taught me how to hustle, which is required in this profession. The rigorous curriculum, particularly in big data and AI, equipped me with the tools to navigate and excel in the data environment at Signify. Additionally, the great career guidance I received before getting the job, regarding resume creation and how to excel at interviews, helped me tremendously. 

Any advice for students who want to pursue a similar internship?

Ensure your LinkedIn profile showcases the skills mentioned in the job descriptions you’re looking at. Attend career fairs and don’t hesitate to strike up conversations with everyone you meet. Networking and expanding your social circle is key to staying informed about job openings. While maintaining good grades is important, also prioritize involvement in clubs and events related to your interests. Demonstrating your passion and personality through extracurricular activities can make you stand out as a great fit for companies. When you do land an internship interview, make sure you do a thorough overview of the company and its values and practice with a friend! 

And my advice for future interns? Embrace every task with curiosity and see obstacles as opportunities for growth. Stay informed about the latest tech trends or anything else that sparks your interest. Companies love enthusiastic and inquisitive people. Be open to every opportunity, even if it’s not at a big-name company. There’s always something valuable to learn. And don’t hold back during your internship. Take on challenging and new tasks because the more you learn now, the stronger your skill set will be when you graduate.