Students & Graduates Blog

Getting started at Arla: first rotation & project

And there it is: after a great introduction week you are starting in your first rotation and get your first project. Several weeks ago you have received your project description, but… What will you be working on? Who will you be working with? Will it be fun? Where to start?

Published: December 16, 2016 by Erik Eekhof

Of course everyone you speak to beforehand is very helpful; reassuring you that it will all be fine and you do not have to be concerned about not knowing everything about anything on day 1.

Chances are that you will end up in a role where everything is new. A role where you first of all will not have the functional skills, but moreover, the whole function and projects you are working on are completely different from your studies or your prior experience. But this is exactly the fun and exciting part of the F15® programme, as it allows you to gain new skills and a true understanding of the business from different perspectives.

I came to work at Arla with certain expectations. During the period of applying you read about Arla being a nice place to work at with a work-environment that is open, and where your contribution is valued. The introduction week had learned me that Arla is a great place to be, and being on the job is no different! Moreover, your ideas, questions and contribution are listened to! Personally, I surely had moments where I was not entirely certain what to do or where to go next, but you are allowed to find out where to go and how to approach something, always having the opportunity to ask support or input from people in many parts of the organisation.

When day 1 was there, I for one ended up in Supply Chain – more specifically in our Contract Manufacturing and Joint Ventures department. Besides a 6-week course in the first year of my Bachelor’s, I had no experience or understanding of this area. But this is where the fun began! An introduction schedule for the first week left me to talk to many people who introduced their role and function within Supply Chain. Each meeting left me with more questions than answers. J However, looking back now, the understanding came pretty fast, and I cannot believe it has only been 3,5 months since I started.

Working on a project that involves many stakeholders from many different departments and markets, I am exposed to new parts of the business in every meeting I go into. This is exciting, but can also easily add a lot of complexity to it and at some point seem challenging. If you ask me: it is daring, but mostly exciting to be put in this position of having to challenge yourself and deal with initially having no clue what to do. I am the one who owns my project and is to drive it forward, take lead and map out the direction and activities. A lot of responsibility, but also great flexibility and independence. This does not mean you need to know everything right away, because again: it is about challenging yourself, but also finding out who can support you best. Luckily I have my manager, colleagues, the other F15’s and anyone I can ask to support me.

Diving in from day 1 in a new environment and working on challenging projects in an interesting business is a great learning experience. This is exactly what I want from Arla and the F15® programme!

Erik Eekhof

Dutch
Position: F15® 2016 Team 
Period: 2016
Location: Denmark/Bangladesh
Department: 1st Rotation: Supply Chain, Aarhus, Denmark. 2nd Rotation: Supply Chain, Dhaka, Bangladesh