Introducing our Summer MBA Intern from IESE Business School, Srilakshmi Madhu. She joined us in both our Hamburg and Bangalore offices this summer before returning to her second year of the MBA.
Thanks for the time, Lakshmi! Let's start with you telling us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Kerala, but I lived in Bangalore for pretty much my whole life, except for the 6 months that I worked in London when I was with KPMG and moving to Barcelona for the MBA at IESE. Actually, I also lived in Australia for a year when I was 5 years old because my dad was pursing his MBA, which put that idea in my mind and is perhaps where this all started.
But I did my undergraduate in Industrial Engineering and Management, and I had some exposure to supply chain topics there but never had the opportunity to really work in it full-time. After my studies, I joined KPMG Consulting in its technology risk team for about 6 years. I always had my eye on exploring the supply chain industry more and thought an MBA would be a good way to transition toward that.
Being in Barcelona, how did you come across Logward when looking for your summer internship?
A classmate of mine was networking with our alumni that work at growing tech companies. She met Tommy (Logward COO) and realized what Logward does is exactly what I was interested in. I was keen on supply chain but then started exploring tech opportunities, and Logward as a logistics technology company brought both of those interests together really well. Then, I spoke with Tommy and realized this is an even better fit than I thought since Logward has an office in Bangalore where I am from - so basically it all comes from the IESE community.
You had the opportunity to work with a few IESE alumni here at Logward. What did it mean for you to work so closely with the IESE community?
That was a huge factor because first of all, you know that when you are going into an organization that has alumni, they understand your expectations because they have been there before. Also, it adds that much more credibility. Not that the company doesn't speak for itself! But it gives you some comfort and confidence that there are people from my school that are happy and doing well here.
Beyond the IESE connection, what were you looking for in an internship?
When I was sitting in my Operations class, it reinforced that this is why I came to IESE and that this is what I wanted to do, so that really formed what I was looking for in an internship. Yet, I was still torn between tech and supply chain. I was also exploring my options of working in Europe and coming back home after the MBA, and I wasn't sure just studying in Europe was going to help me make up my mind. Logward fit in perfectly there, where I had an operations role at a logistics technology company that let me explore working both in Germany and at home in Bangalore after a year abroad. It just worked out so well.
I think that's exactly what we wanted to hear! Professionally and personally, what was it like working in Germany and also returning home to work after a year.
Professionally, I wanted to know what it would be like for me to work in Europe. I had worked in London, but that was 5-6 years ago, and I was still considering going back home because my primary focus was industry over geography. Having this opportunity helped me realize that I know more about myself now and where I want to be.
Personally, I had not seen my family in over a year. This gave me an entire month with them, and that would not have been possible otherwise. Maybe it could have happened if I had an entire remote internship, but I feel that would have been a compromised experience. In Hamburg and Bangalore, I get to go to the office and be with the team and be here in person.
You mentioned learning about yourself and what you want... what is it that you have learned?
I was interested in supply chain, but I did not know if I would enjoy working in the industry. This summer confirmed that I definitely enjoy working in supply chain management. Two other things that were absolutely new to me: working for a growing company and working for a software company. I now know that those are two things that I want for myself. Perhaps it is because Logward is just a great company to work for, and I don't know if I would have the same experience in another software company, but the experience working in "Supply Chain Management as a Service" here at Logward makes me think that I fit into this type of company.
We can definitely echo that you fit in here seamlessly. It feels like you have always been here. You have spent time in both our Hamburg and Bangalore offices - how are they similar and different?
Well I don't want to say anything that makes me look like I favor one or the other, and it's also not entirely fair because I spent more time in Hamburg... but I think that the differences can be summarized by the conversations in each office - more business focused in Hamburg and more tech oriented in Bangalore. With the Hamburg team being a little smaller and more diverse, I think there is also a really wide range of things that come up. One minute we are talking about skin care, then boxing and protein, and then music. Ivan might put on German/Turkish music and suddenly it switches to American Hip-Hop, then Tommy plays some Punjabi music. You really never know what to expect when you walk into the office in Hamburg. Bangalore is just as fun! Just less unpredictable.
Similarities, there's a core culture of transparency, approachability, and flexibility in both offices. All of this put together makes it easy to get up and go to work everyday.
Let's take a step back, what did you work on as an MBA Summer Intern?
First, I focused on improving the onboarding experience for Logward customers, which I think is quite an important project. As users of tech products, we know the importance of having a smooth onboarding process and good customer experience. I worked on a couple aspects of it that are part of a larger initiative.
The other thing that I have been working on is streamlining the processes in the tech team. Given the organizational structure, finding things that we can do to bridge the gap between tech and business.
And what have you learned this summer? Across business, logistics, and technology?
The tech aspect comes in with the rest of it. Logistics, coming into this, I knew its complexity. But I couldn't imagine the scale of the complexity. I learned the types of challenges that you face at every stage of the supply chain.
From a business standpoint, I learned how a company navigates various stages of growth and how everything from the product to the internal processes evolve with it. I also learned how we position this product in the market to differentiate ourselves, especially when there are many players and many big players.
Lastly, and I'm not just saying this because I am talking to you, but I think that I learned a lot about marketing. I had no exposure to it before, but I learned how Logward does inbound marketing in a way that provides value and makes itself unique. I told my friends about the other things like Captain Hubert's Port2Port playlists, the #mememondays, and how Logward builds its brand.
Glad that some marketing knowledge could be a side benefit of your time with us. What would you say has been your favorite part of interning with Logward?
It's definitely the people. I think that's what really makes us different. It's a team that's amazingly smart, talented, and FUN. Everyone is great in their own way, and that is something that I will take away from this internship.
Anything to else to add?
What I really feel about my time here is that, you always go into an internship with some amount of skepticism. Especially when it's in a space that you are unfamiliar with. I had some of those feelings myself. But even before I came to Logward, from the beginning of the interview process, it was great how comfortable and welcome everybody made me feel. I could just be myself and that was important to being successful this summer. The transition from Spain to Hamburg was really smooth. And these things seem small, but it makes a big difference. I never felt like "the intern". I very much felt like part of the team.
Currywurst or Hot dogs? Hot dogs
Land or Sea? Sea
Spotify or Apple Music? Spotify
Love to win or Hate to lose? Hate to lose
Teams or Zoom? Zoom
Logward is a Hamburg & Bangalore based logistics technology company.
We build software, move containers, and change mindsets.
If you have any questions or just want to say hi, reach out to email@example.com. Or you can book time with one of our logistics experts here.