Interview: Trainee at REM Consult
During the past ten-plus years, more than 40 trainees from Europe and around the world have joined our office. With this new interview series we would like to introduce our trainees, give them a voice and allow interested applicants to get first-hand insights into our work and office life.
Miriam Green has been a trainee at REM Consult since February 2019. She is currently doing her Master’s in Urban Studies at Malmö University in Sweden. Miriam, let’s start with an ice breaker – how much ice did you have to break at the beginning of your internship?
Since the REM team is relatively small and not all colleagues are at the office every day due to many project-related trips, it was quite easy to integrate myself and connect with my colleagues rather quickly. Especially the joint lunches gave me lots of opportunities to get to know the team more personally and talk to them about topics beyond REM. Overall, the atmosphere at REM is very relaxed, cooperative and welcoming, so even though the office felt like a cooling house during some of the frostiest winter days, there wasn’t much ice to break.
How did you come across REM Consult and why did you apply for an internship?
Throughout my studies (MA Urban Studies), I have mainly dealt with planning issues, a field where project management has always been present in the background, especially when working in international and interdisciplinary teams. Furthermore, international cooperation projects such as Interreg were frequently discussed. However, for a long time I was more concerned with (urban) development in the Global South, especially in Latin America, and didn’t pay much attention to what was happening at my doorstep. Eventually, a previous internship in Lima gave me insights into the field of project management and how cooperation with European partners works. Against this background I found the idea of looking at such projects from a different angle very interesting. I came across the job advertisement on the REM web page, applied and went home with a good feeling right after the interview. Fortunately, the fact that I was offered an exchange spot in Brussels and couldn’t start as planned, was not a problem and ultimately set the course for the internship at REM even more, due to further insights I gained into inter-regional planning and cooperation projects in the EU.
How would you describe your tasks at REM Consult? Which ones did you like the most, which ones surprised you?
As a consultancy, REM accompanies projects from beginning to end. Their tasks include, to name only a few, ideas and project development, formulating and submitting proposals, developing plans for a successful and smooth collaboration, preparing and conducting meetings, activities and conferences, and keeping an eye on reporting and budgeting. What I particularly liked is the structured and therefore efficient work ethos due to time and management plans, making it very clear who must deliver what at which moment. According to my experiences with international and interdisciplinary teams, a strong framework is key in order to avoid or tackle unexpected problems. Another aspect I appreciated a lot at REM were the insights into a variety of international projects. Whereas consultancy towards the outside might seem very dry and one-sided, the abundancy of projects presented me with different (and sometimes new) topics and an array of stakeholders as well as study trips to different cities – something especially interesting for an urban planner. However, I was surprised by how much REM is actually involved in the projects’ content. My colleagues therefore are constantly expanding their horizons as their work is not merely limited to project management. Yet, what I probably liked the most during my stay with REM was the opportunity of developing my very own small project idea towards the end of the internship.
What career aspiration did you have at the age of seven? How does it relate to your job at REM Consult?
Growing up I never really had clear career aspirations, which is why after high school I decided to take a gap year and eventually started with a degree in cultural studies. However, what always sparked my interest were other places, cultures and languages, probably fueled by the many trips I was taken on. Simultaneously, values such as structuredness and efficiency have also been part of my upbringing. This is probably how I developed a strong interest for international cooperation well as an efficient and well-structured work ethos, something up until this day also deeply rooted in my personal and academic life. This is definitely something I could use, and I recognized during my time at REM. However, if I had been told a few years ago that I would do an internship at a consulting company and even enjoy it, I probably would not have believed it for a second …
Can you imagine to continue with project development and management in the EU context in the long run?
For me the time at REM has opened the door towards a field I probably would not have considered before. In combination with my exchange semester in Brussels, giving me further insights into EU planning policies, including Interreg projects, the EU context has emerged as an exciting potential field of work. Therefore, I will try to look into further job opportunities, maybe even in Brussels, to gain more experience in this area.
Last but not least: How to you like Hamburg and will you stay here after your internship ends?
Hamburg is my hometown, which I have neglected a bit throughout the past years. First, I went on exchange from Lüneburg to Lima as part of my bachelor’s degree, then I moved to Sweden for my master’s degree, from where I went to Brussels for yet another semester. Although I am very grateful for all these opportunities and wouldn’t want it any other way, being in Hamburg for a longer period now, made me realize, that I really missed my hometown. I love travelling, which is something that probably won’t change, but Hamburg is and will remain my hometown, a place I will always gladly return to!
Thank you for the interview, Miriam!
If you are enrolled at a University and would like to join as as trainee, please find our current vacancies here.