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Case study: How Philip Morris’ intern app enhances engagement

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Michele Zieren, director of management and organisation development for Asia at Philip Morris on engaging interns to participate in the company’s activities with a mobile app.

Interning at Philip Morris is not only about gaining real-life working experience, the fortune 500 company makes it a priority for interns to return to university with an enhanced business knowledge and practical working skills that will be useful throughout their career.

Michele Zieren, director of management and organisation development for Asia at Philip Morris, said interns who were in their first or second year of university were given the opportunity to work on business projects as well as getting guidance on personal development.

“We have put great efforts into our intern program, they work on real business projects and each of them have personalised development plans to help discover themselves and build skills” she said.

To further enhance the experience of interns, the company hosted a competition – “InChallenge” – for the first time in Hong Kong last year. The event invited the top interns of the company worldwide to work on innovative business ideas and present them to senior management.

With the app, interns were put through a series of activities such as writing tag lines, a video competition and problem-solving challenges, all of which were conducted on smartphones.

“Last year, delegates were chosen by their respective managers. This year we decided to try something new. We collaborated with Team Building Asia to create an app to enhance the experience of interns. It was also a more objective way to select delegates,” she said.

Globally, Philip Morris has more than 400 interns across 30 countries, and the app allows a fair and efficient assessment of a large number of participants. In Asia, 175 of the 217 interns participated in the race to win a ticket for Inchallenge. The group competed for 14 spots.

With the app, interns were put through a series of activities such as writing tag lines, a video competition and problem-solving challenges, all of which were conducted on smartphones.

The human resources team of the company monitored the progress and performance of participants in real-time and 14 delegates were selected after two days of screening.

“With technology, every intern has a chance to compete to be a delegate; the app is something that is fun and innovative and it fits with the way we are evolving as a company for the future.”

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