Students & Graduates Blog

The importance of taking chances

If there is something I have learned during my first years of professional life is that the best opportunities, most of the times, come out of pure serendipity.

Published: March 14, 2017 by Stefano Baldani 

Almost nine months ago, my adventure at Arla began with the Summer Internship Programme. Although a graduating student in Supply Chain Management, I was offered to drive a project in Human Resources, more specifically to increase awareness on talent management and the different programs available for high-performing employees.

Although far away from my comfort zone, I decided to fully embrace the project I was offered and without too many questions I was ready to start my journey in Aarhus together with eight other wonderful interns. The Summer Internship gifted me with much more than a challenging job opportunity. You get to create a special bond with people who share with you the same willingness to make an impact at the start of their career, but open to discuss, learn and be exposed to different faces of the same world we live in. Together we spent many days and nights exploring Aarhus and celebrating birthdays (including mine!!), having summer parties and joining last-minute concerts in Copenhagen. The network we were able to build during 10 weeks is something unique I will cherish for many years to come.

At the end of last summer, I could not have been happier. First of all, I could experience the real Arla “goodness” surrounded by humble and open-minded colleagues, ready to listen to your ideas, challenge you and most importantly develop you personally and professionally. Having a sponsor throughout the internship is of vital importance, as you will encounter challenging times where a more senior advice can be extremely helpful. Furthermore, the programme helped me look at my future career from a different unexpected angle, allowing me some time to reflect on my strengths and improvement areas during planned development days with professional facilitators.

My history at Arla, however, did not end with the Summer Internship. One cold winter day, while finishing up my master thesis, I received an offer to come back to continue my work with the Arla talent agenda. And again, the job probably did not reflect what I would have expected fresh off a supply chain education, but I thought: why not?

If you feel so welcome in the working environment, if you feel accepted and respected, if you feel challenged and at the same time connected to the values of the company, then why not take the chance and use this opportunity to develop yourself a bit more? There is always time to develop specific skills as long as you feel the company you are working in is the right place for you to grow. Maybe it is not what you would have expected or planned to do, but who knows where this unexpected turn will lead you in the future.

And once again, I was probably lucky enough to experience the “goodness” of more senior colleagues who believed in me since day one. As part of my job position, I was given the opportunity to coordinate the Talent Accelerator Program, a one-year development program for internal talents, and I followed the different modules which were held at our office locations in Leeds, Dubai and Beijing. During these modules I had the chance to be part of the reflective journey of senior colleagues regarding their leadership motivations and aspirations, a very rare and unique opportunity a couple of weeks into my new role. And it is probably during one of these moments when you realize the importance of taking chances, and the beautiful – but definitely challenging – consequences of saying “yes”.

As you can see, the Summer Internship Programme has given me much more of what I could even have expected almost nine months ago and I just can’t wait for even more challenging times ahead!

Stefano Baldani

Position: Summer Intern
Period: June-August 2016
Location: Denmark
Department: Human Resources, Talent Acquisition, Aarhus, Denmark