Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev) is the leading global brewer with a portfolio of over 200 brands including beers you and your friends have tried such as Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Hoegaarden and Leffe.
The company was formed when Belgian-Brazilian brewer InBev (a merger of AmBev and Interbrew) acquired American brewer Anheuser-Busch.
According to Forbes, AB InBev is now the third largest FMCG company in the world and holds the number one or number two market position in many of the world’s top beer markets.
In this week's Inside View interview we speak to Bieke Teerlinck, Director, Global Talent Attraction and Retention at AB InBev. Bieke has over ten years experience in the company and is based in New York City.
Bieke tells us that at AB InBev, MBAs are hired straight into senior management positions: the company sounds like a dream employer for MBAs!
You've worked at AB InBev for over 10 years, what's kept you there?
First of all, the strong company culture focused on ownership, meritocracy and continuous improvement really inspires and motivates me.
Second, the rapid growth opportunities that the company offers. For example, I have been in eight different roles in four different locations (Leuven, Moscow, Toronto and now New York) since I joined the company over 10 years ago. If you deliver results, there is no limit to your growth – we are a true meritocracy.
Finally, because we are never satisfied: we are always striving to set the bar higher. As a result, we are continuously challenged to innovate and think outside of the box.
What kind of work experience do you look for in candidates, alongside an MBA?
We are not looking for specific work or industry experiences – what we are looking for is the future leaders of our company: MBAs with diverse educational and work experiences who want to be challenged and have the tenacity to make an immediate impact and grow quickly with our business. They must demonstrate a fit with our culture that values ownership, promotes excellence and rewards superior performance.
Please tell us a bit about the AB InBev MBA Internship.
Our MBA summer internship program involves strategic, creative and analytical projects across all of our functional areas and the six geographic zones in which we operate. It provides MBA students with global networking opportunities and high visibility to our senior leaders. They experience first-hand what being part of AB InBev means and it allows us to gauge their long-term fit.
Those who perform well and fit our culture are offered full-time positions. Currently, the majority of our MBA interns have roles in Marketing, Innovation, Sales, Finance, and Logistics.
Are there any business schools that you target specifically?
We focus on hiring MBAs from top business schools globally including Stanford, Harvard, Booth, Kellogg, Columbia, Wharton, London Business School, Darden and MIT Sloan. Last year, we expanded our recruiting to China’s CEIBS, a top-ranked business school in Asia, which is one of our top three priority markets.
How many MBAs do you typically convert into full-time hires after the internship?
Our goal is to hire all of our MBA interns. We extend full-time offers to all MBAs who produce great results and demonstrate that they are a cultural fit and can help grow our company for the long term. In 2012, we extended full-time offers to 85% of our MBA summer interns.
How is the Global MBA Program different from the internship?
MBAs are immediately hired into a senior management position. During their first year they also join the Global MBA program which spans four weeks over the course of the year.
It starts with a global induction where they spend time with our CEO and Executive Board of Management, followed by two week-long deep-dives in our operational Zones.
This year, our global MBAs will spend time in the U.S., Canada and Brazil looking at the strategic focus of our Supply, Logistics, Sales and Marketing functions locally.
The program concludes with a capstone week in our global office, where our MBAs present their innovation-focused projects to our Executive Board of Management and other senior leaders within the company.
What are some of the exciting projects an MBA might work on in the Program?
The projects our MBA interns work on vary each year based on the intern’s areas of interest, and our business needs. Some examples from past interns include:
- A water risk assessment and reduction project in collaboration with the global Corporate Affairs, Supply, and Procurement teams to assess short-term and long-term water risk in our supply chain as well as within our walls,
- A project working as part of our global innovation team to support the development and launch of a new beer, including everything from developing the brand concept and pack design to working with markets on logistics, supply, and sales planning, and
- Another intern worked with our marketing technology innovation team, the Bud Light team, the brand’s agency, and a Bay Area startup to create a gamified second-screen sports mobile app that is now in the iTunes and Android app stores. The app allows for interactive sports-watching that engages users in the game, rewards fans for their loyalty to sports, and encourages them to choose Bud Light because of the access and rewards they are receiving.
What's the typical starting salary for MBA new hires?
Our compensation structure is tied closely to our ownership culture and includes a very competitive base salary, as well as the opportunity to earn significant variable compensation through the achievement of annual targets.
What's your favourite AB InBev beer?
As a Belgian, I am especially proud of our Belgian beers: I prefer Hoegaarden in the summer and Leffe in the winter.