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TU student and alum team up at BMW in Germany

On the soccer field, Severin Abt is an outstanding midfielder for the Thomas University’s Night Hawks. During the off season, Abt got real-world experience during a six-month internship at the BMW Group plant in Munich from January through July of this year.

Originally from Schwaebisien Gmuend, Germany, Abt’s father lives in Munich, so he was already familiar with the city and with BMW.

“Basically, the BMW plant in Munich is the size of a small town with all the different departments,” Abt said.

According to its website, the BMW Group location in Munich is the parent BMW Group plant. It employs about 7,800 people from more than 50 countries and has produced cars and engines since 1922.

Interning with BMW also meant reuniting with his former Night Hawks teammate Andreas Hoffer.

For the past two and a half years, Hoffer has worked at the BMW factory in Munich, Germany.

“I work in the purchasing department,” Hoffer said. “The components I am responsible for are head airbag and steering wheel. I negotiate the prices with suppliers for current and future projects. Most deals are worth more than $100 million. I source the parts from all over the world, including Mexico, the U.S., China, Europe and South Africa.”

Hoffer graduated Magna Cum Laude from Thomas University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration-Management. He also received the 2014 Outstanding Student Award for the Business Administration-Management program.

Hoffer and Abt were already friends. During his senior year at TU, Hoffer shared a house in Thomasville with Abt and two other TU soccer players.

“I had a chance to get to know him on the soccer field, at home and in school,” Hoffer said. “We stayed in touch throughout the whole time. Once Severin finished his junior year at TU, the time was right to support him in getting some work experience, which helps a lot to prepare for the time after college. I know it, because I worked at BMW as an intern after my junior year as well.”

Abt said, “Working with Andreas was great. He’s really good at his job. He loves it.”

During the internship, Abt said he learned a lot about just how complex a company can be and how important it is to understand all the processes going on.

“I learned the basic process of how purchasing works,” he said. “I learned how each step is processed through to the final step of meeting with suppliers.”

For Abt, the most interesting part of his internship was watching suppliers compete for bids.

“It was so much more complex than I realized,” he said.

Hoffer said, “BMW has half a million applications a year, but it meant something special to me to have a TU soccer teammate working with me. In the past, we fought side by side on the soccer pitch against the opponents, and now we kind of had our battles against the suppliers. He has been a great support during his time here.”

Abt will graduate from TU in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration-Management.

Education that Engages... Empowers... TRANSFORMS

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