Graduates Blog

It is about the journey!

“The Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”- Lao Tzu. This is not only true for a long journey, but also for a short one. In my blog, I am not referring to actual journeys or trips, but to goals, tasks and actions. I am referring to everything that encourage you to take the first step. Before diving into further details, let me introduce myself.

Hi readers! I am Mona, a MENA Graduate and currently on my second rotation in glorious Dubai. Although with an Arab background, I was born and brought up in Denmark. Ever since I was young, I had this insatiable desire to explore the world and was determined to study International Business and experience diverse cultures and languages, and during my last semester at university, I came across Arla’s MENA Graduate Programme, which seemed as the perfect spot for me.

Since the beginning, I was clear about the qualities I was looking for in my prospective employer and job role. I was looking for a position which would give me the opportunity to experience life in different countries and to meet people from diverse backgrounds. Moreover, I was looking for a company which would allow me freedom and accountability to maximize my full potential. This graduate programme presented me with the ideal opportunity to gain experience from different business functions while adopting a holistic approach.

I have often heard people say that they would like to work for a good cause, but in my case, I wanted more. I wanted to work for a company where I could add value to the life of others which is why Arla, with its farmer-owned mindset, was the best match for me. One look at Arla’s Annual reports was enough to convince me of its dedication to developing the MENA region. Without a second thought I seized the opportunity and applied for the programme, and today, I am here in the regional office writing my very first blog.

I initiated my journey from Arla’s local UAE office in Sharjah. Even though I had an Arab background, this was a massive transition for me as I was immediately exposed to a diverse work environment. Here I had the privilege of working side by side with highly capable individuals from all parts of the world. I spent the first half of my rotation as a project manager for the Commercial Excellence department.

During this period, I got to broaden my business acumen and develop my strategic management skills. While on one hand I was documenting standard operating procedures (SOP’s), I also got the opportunity to work with channel, price and promotion strategies to bring about positive change in the recognized areas. This remarkable degree of responsibility and autonomy is the real beauty of this programme.

One of the most extraordinary things about Arla is our conducive and friendly environment. As a fresh graduate, I was unaware of several things, yet I always found my colleagues to be extremely cooperative and encouraging. I was most surprised to see people who were not even working in my division offering their help whenever I needed it.  At university, we are encouraged to learn from our mistakes and failures. However, several work settings have an imposed culture where failure is looked down upon. This not only instils a fear of failure, but it stifles creativity and falters motivation levels. At Arla, the environment is the exact opposite.  Not only are fresh graduates endowed with critical responsibilities, but the managers also show confidence and trust in their skills and abilities.

To sum up, if you are looking for a position which allows you to work in a dynamic and refreshing environment while building an invaluable skill set, Arla is the place for you!



Name: Mona 
Position: MENA Graduate
Period: 2016 
Location: Dubai 
Department: MYPC