Alumniverhaal

Bernd Kanis - alumnus master Food Technology

During the master Food Technology Bernd Kanis did his internship at Mars. After graduation he was accepted at Mars to work here as a process engineer. In this story you can read about his experiences during his internship and job.

I really liked my study, but partly because of the travelling I found out that working can be very nice as well!

Career

During his master in Food Technology Bernd Kanis already had the ambition to work in the business world after graduation. He chose the specialisation Product and Process design, since this specialisation allowed him to prepare for the career he aspired. For instance, Bernd did a minor in Management Science and he took courses abroad for half a year. He did his internship at a research department of Mars. "I investigated the fluidity of caramel, an ingredient present in many chocolate bars. I developed a new caramel in different ways and I performed a variety of experiments. Based on that, I developed a theory which I discussed with my colleagues. Therefore my internship was a combination of lab work and talking with people. I really liked my internship and apparently Mars appreciated my work as well: After my internship different teams offered me a job. I chose to start working as a process engineer."

Job

"I worked on Snickers for the first two years. The peanuts in Snickers should have a certain taste and moisture migration should be prevented. Baked peanuts consist of 1-2% moisture and caramel consists of 11-12% moisture. So if Snickers are in a store for a long time, the moisture will migrate from the caramel into the peanut. That makes the peanut squishy, which is undesirable. Therefore I investigated how a peanut should be baked in order to keep it crunchy for as long as possible. With help of colleagues from all over the world I optimised and standardised the baking process of peanuts. To achieve this I travelled around the entire world!

I was happy that I gained a lot of experience with group work during my master Food Technology, since I immediately encountered it during my job. After I completed the project, my boss explained to me that Mars aimed to build a factory in China within a year. He asked me to participate in that project team, and I accepted this challenge. Every day I had to call and send emails to China in order to find answers to their questions. Afterwards they asked if I wanted to go to China and assist in creating the production line for baking peanuts and Snickers in general. To achieve this I spent 2,5 months in a city close to Shanghai where 800 people were working on 1 km2 to create the new factory. That was very impressive. I was responsible for the mutual communication between the Chinese project team and my European colleagues at Mars. Later on, I was primarily occupied with coordination tasks. Things often had to be done in a certain way. Thanks to my academic background I knew how to explain assignments well and substantiate my points.”

At the moment, Bernd is busy with Twix. "Every year, more than 700 million Twix are produced. Twix have to be packed as soon as they are produced. My task is to install new machines which can do that most efficiently. Consequently, I am currently occupied more with mechanical engineering than with food technology, but the transition was gradual.

Right from the beginning my area of responsibility was at the international level. At first I thought that was a bit much, but I did manage it. I really liked my study, but partly because of the travelling I found out that working can be very nice as well!”