Student ‘Spricht Deutsch’ to Land Prestigious Bank Internship

OGDEN, Utah – Imagine the stress of interviewing for a high-profile job. Now add to that the anxiety of having the entire interview conducted in a foreign language.

Weber State University senior Jake Amaral knows such anxiety. He recently sat through two interviews conducted entirely in German, but when all was said and done, he landed one of four coveted spots for a prestigious internship with Germany’s Deutsche Bank.

Amaral first traveled to Germany in April to study at Bayreuth University through WSU’s study abroad program in the Department of Foreign Language.

The Ogden native studied German for six years during his secondary education. He later served an LDS mission in West Germany from 2005-07 before pursuing his dual majors in German (commercial-emphasis) and supply chain management at WSU. Yet, when the first phone interview was conducted by a person speaking a Swiss dialect of German, Amaral was ill at ease.

“Prior to the interview I had met with native German-speaking business students at Bayreuth University and wrote pages of notes that I could use if they asked certain questions,” Amaral said. “I realized in the first 30 seconds of the interview I couldn’t read from my notes fast enough, and would just have to wing it.”

His worries proved unfounded as he received a follow-up call that evening, inviting him to Frankfurt for a face-to-face interview at the Deutsche Bank headquarters.

“Whatever I said must have worked because they were very impressed,” Amaral said.

He rode the train to Frankfurt for the second interview, which was conducted by the human resource manager along with the supervisor and trainer for the internship. Amaral said it was similar to job interviews he had in the U.S., except for the language. After the interview, they had him take some personality tests.

“I was on the train heading back to Bayreuth when the trainer called and told me I had the internship,” Amaral said. “I was very surprised they called so soon. I was jumping up and down I was so excited.”

The four-month internship, which runs from July through October, will focus on creative and innovative thinking in helping the Deutsche Bank’s retail banking sector develop improved services. The prototypes produced will eventually be turned into apps for the iPad and potentially the iPhone. Amaral will work in a group of four, assisting the IT department, gathering data, conducting interviews and making group presentations.

“The interviewers told me the internship work is on a comparable level to research conducted at Harvard or Stanford,” Amaral said.

Amaral plans to continue his studies as well, taking WSU courses online this fall while in Europe. He’s schedule to return to the states in December.

The WSU senior wants to pursue his master’s degree after he graduates in 2011. Eventually he’d like to work outside the U.S. for a while. Amaral hopes the experience in Germany will lead to more networking opportunities overseas.

“I enjoy going different places and experiencing new things,” Amaral said. “I’m open to what the future has in store for me.”

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Jake Amaral, German and supply chain management major
John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
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