Kai Bestmann

Kai Bestmann joined the Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Scholar Programme in 2011, where he had the opportunity to spend 10 weeks in California as an intern for National Semiconductor (now part of Texas Instruments)

Today, he is IT Application Manager at Encavis in Germany – a company that is now a Saltire Scholar Programme host. It’s the second time Kai has hosted a Saltire Scholar intern, having supported the programme in his role as Financial Analyst at his former employer, Quintiles IMS.

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THE OPPORTUNITY:

When Kai applied for the Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Scholar Programme, he was studying Accountancy and Business Studies at the University of Stirling.

Kai explains; “When I applied for the programme, I was keen to get work experience in the field. I always felt hands on work experience would be really valuable and I came across the

Saltire Scholar Programme and applied for the internship opportunity in California. I was attracted by the quality of the programme and the rigour of the application process

I was very lucky that I was able to go to California to do the internship there and gain such incredible experience. I definitely believe it’s helped improve my prospects and given me clear direction on which way I wanted my career to go at the time. It certainly helped me make some good decisions after my university degree.

IMPACT:

Kai believes that the combination of practical and transferable skills learnt on the Saltire Scholar Programme have given him the ability to deal with new situations, new people and pressurised environments – skills that he has adopted in many of his roles since the programme.

He says; “I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of the experience on the Saltire Scholar Programme and I would definitely recommend it to students studying in Scotland who want to broaden their horizons. Being abroad in a different country, and a new company, I had to learn to adapt quickly. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I still think back on that year so fondly – it was such a momentous time in my life and definitely helped my career prospects.”

Kai also acknowledges the network and community within the Saltire Scholar Programme and the wider Entrepreneurial Scotland team, are of huge value. He explains; “Building a network of connections within the internship programme is really helpful. Everyone has gone through a similar programme and experience, and people really connect through that. I’ve kept in touch with a number of the other Scholars – those personal connections are just as valuable as some of the skills you learn.”

Kai’s experience on the Saltire Scholar Programme prompted him to become a host company, taking on an intern as part of their programme. He first took on an intern in his role as Financial Analyst at his former employer, Quintiles IMS, and then again earlier this year in 2020, at his current employer Encavis.

Passionate about giving others opportunities, he persuaded his employers to take on interns to benefit both parties. He explains that the quality of candidates has always been high, and that selecting a Saltire Scholar Intern has been a positive process.

Kai explains; “There are many benefits to taking on Saltire Scholar interns. It gives host companies support and additional resource at a time when they might need it on projects. For us, at Encavis, it allowed us to support our teams at a time of fast growth, and to advance some bigger projects which wouldn’t have happened without the additional support of an intern. I received really positive feedback about our intern this year too, from across the company.”

“For me, it’s also a chance to give something back to the Entrepreneurial Scotland network, that I’ve always felt a strong connection to. In addition, it allowed me to give someone else the kind of opportunity I was lucky enough to have. In the past, I’ve also seen those interns return to the company after they finish studying. It’s been good to empower other people to progress their career.”

The company I work for today, Encavis, is a renewable energy start up, and we’ve gone through a lot of changes over the last four years. The experience and learning I gained on the Saltire Scholar programme definitely helped me to know how to get to grips with fast paced and changing business environments.

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If you would like to talk to Entrepreneurial Scotland about hosting a Saltire Scholar, and how this can benefit your business, please email: gillian.mcgill@entrepreneurialscotland.com