Students & Graduates Blog

Responsibility and challenges in a high pace environment

"Jacob, we’re meeting the organizer for our big MENA Kick-off event, for the whole region, tomorrow morning. I have to attend another meeting; do you mind going instead of me?" Suzy, my host manager, literally threw me right into the work life at Arla, MENA. If you’re a graduate wondering if Arla will give you responsibility and if the F15 programme will expose you to challenges – this blog post is for you.

Published December 2017 by Jacob Morén

So, the day after, my third day at Arla in Dubai, I’m standing outside one of the craziest hotels I’ve ever seen and representing the cheese category at an external meeting. My name is Jacob Morén and I´m one of two F15s forming Team Dubai at the regional office. Being from Sweden it was a cultural difference just to be greeted with “Welcome, Sir” and “Mr. Morén, what is Puck’s take on this” at the meeting.

Puck?
Yes – Puck is one of Arla’s Masterbrands (do you know the other three?) and is the main brand in the Middle East and North Africa. We’re especially strong in the cheese category and market leader within a regional spreadable cheese. I’m responsible for our biggest launch of the year, introducing two new products within this space to the markets. But I can’t tell you exactly what just yet since they are going to be launched in the middle of January. If you are up for challenges, at Arla you won’t be a person in a cubicle crunching numbers or providing slides for someone else - You can be in the driving seat for big impact projects, have several agencies working for you, involving stakeholders in multiple countries and possibly changing the future direction of a whole category. You can be a part of decision making and present your own projects to the management team. For me, ownership of projects is a huge motivator, but it can be hard to contribute to discussions and meetings, with credibility, when you are with stakeholders who may have 15+ years of experience. However, at Arla MENA it feels that they put their trust in you, because you still get the ownership. At the same time you have people around you that support you a lot. They will throw you in the deep-end of the pool, but will help you to swim. The outcome is a high pace and many challenges. But you learn SO much this way, because you have to be able to stand by and to motivate your decisions.

 

Does it sound a bit scary? Good, because at Arla we..

Dream, Dare, Do.
If you’re applying for your first job I believe that these are key ingredients to look for. I’m getting parts of all three here – I get to work long term, strategically as well as conceptually, and am finding new ways of working to get several departments and people to work together and strive for a common cause and objective. I must dare and daily believe in my own ability. But I’m also out there doing it; really getting a commercial understanding and pushing new products out to a region of markets and countries. I don’t think that you can get all this, all parts, in a global environment where you’re also getting intercultural understanding and learning about yourself, at many other workplaces. As an F15 I’m experiencing all this in a company that I believe also has the right values and people.

The Regional Cheese Team at the MENA Effie Awards, where we were awarded a silver and a bronze for one of our campaigns.

The best part?
This is just the first rotation. My next rotation and one after that will for surely both provide something different and new for me. I’m an engineer working within marketing now, so we’ll see where I’ll eventually end up – but I´m certain that I’ll bring many valuable experiences and learnings with me wherever I’ll be going next and for sure have a global way of thinking, in the back of my head, for the rest of my career.

What are you waiting for? I believe that whoever you are and from whatever educational background you come from you can find both the developmental challenges that you are looking for and the ones that you didn’t know that you were looking for at Arla!

Me at the Arla Organic pop-up Farm in Dubai

Jacob Morén

Swedish

 

Name: Jacob Morén

Position: F15® Graduate

Period: 2017

Location: Dubai

Department: Regional Marketing (MENA)