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The Project Engineering Internship That Created a Career

Profile: Julián Sáenz Escuder

Julián Sáenz Escuder is a true IPS success story. Recruited for an internship during his fourth year at university, he was hired full-time as a junior project engineer in Madrid after graduation. Within just four years, he had already worked his way up the company ladder to become Managing Director of IPS Spain.

“It’s not like you are making photocopies for three or six months.”

Julián has earned his success, of course: first as a standout student and then as a principal member of the IPS team. But he started out on the right foot when he took advantage of the IPS internship, which he says put him right to work. “From the first moment, you are [involved] in a real project”, Julián recalled of the program. “It’s not like you are making photocopies for three or six months.”

Global project management leader IPS delivers multidisciplinary expertise to businesses across a vast range of industries in Europe, North America, and Africa. The company’s competitive internship program allows entrepreneurial, highly skilled university students to receive hands-on working experience beginning in the summer before their final year of studies. Interns learn the company’s methodology so that they are soon fully equipped to handle multi-million- Euro projects, synthesize their insights across industries, and pursue their individual interests within the company.

“Normally, in a few years’ time, you get to see two, three, four, five different customers and ways of working,”

The unique structure and size of IPS allows interns to gain experience on multiple projects, without the fear of being constrained by one single department or task. “Normally, in a few years’ time, you get to see two, three, four, five different customers and ways of working,” Julian says.

What’s more, because employees work between national subsidiaries and with topbrand multinational companies, even young recruits quickly gain international experience. IPS’s multidisciplinary, cross-industry approach provides interns with a window onto a variety of different projects and segments. Individuals who complete the program are uniquely suited to work full-time for IPS after graduation, where they have started their own business units, opened new lines of business, and in some cases, worked their way through the company ranks.

Julián didn’t exactly plan to climb to the top of the company. Looking back, he attributes his success in large part to his own career ambition. After two years in project management, he proposed to go back to school for a master’s degree in supply chain and operations, knowing that it would add value to his work within IPS.

On top of a new position at the helm of IPS Spain, his degree led directly to an assignment to build, set up, and head an entirely new business unit. Julian was uniquely suited to take on the role of Supply Chain Operations and Industry Manager for Group-IPS, overseeing work with customers across all industries, thanks to his in-depth knowledge of the company.

Julián’s winning combination of eagerness and experience isn’t something that’s easy to hire for, which is why he says he and his colleagues look for interns with comparable initiative. “I don’t want them to one day wake up and say, ‘Oh, I’ve been doing this for three years, and maybe I want to do that other thing,’” Julián explains. “We want to stimulate their interest…from the very beginning.”

“I think that’s what makes you grow in a company—or yourself, professionally,” Julián adds: “If you are aware that you need to learn some things and that you have other fields to learn about, and you are interested in something, and you see the room for that in the company you are working for.”

“We want to stimulate their interest…from the very beginning.”