The MENA Graduate Programme | Arla

The MENA Graduate Programme

Are you ready to release your full potential and develop your competencies through an international career in Arla - one of the world’s leading dairy companies with a strong base in the Middle East and North Africa? Then the MENA Graduate Programme could be the perfect opportunity for you to kick start your international career!

18 months on site in the MENA region
At Arla we have an ambitious growth agenda to create the future of dairy, which we want you as a MENA Graduate to drive and deliver in the MENA region.

During your assignments you will be involved in our daily operations and complex business challenges to ensure that you build strong business capabilities. You will be provided with trainings throughout the programme focusing on leadership skills and development, which includes a trip to our headquarters in Denmark.

The programme consists of two 9-month rotations where you will be challenged with new project assignments enabling you to build unique competencies. One rotation will be outside your home country, however within the MENA region. After finalising the programme there will be a wide range of opportunities for you to continue your growth in Arla.

Multilingual business profile
You hold a Master’s degree, e.g. within International Business or Business Administration, and you are top of your field. If you are also curious and have a passion for learning, you might just be one of our new graduates. Moreover, you are bilingual or trilingual and have outstanding communication abilities, which you unfold with the right blend of stamina. Lastly, you enjoy travelling in MENA and take responsibility for your own career.

MEET YAHIA

My name is Yahia Adel AlSharif, Commercial Manager for Milk Based Beverages at Arla, responsible for the UAE, Oman, and Qatar.

I am originally from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia – however, I have lived a significant part of my life in Cairo, Egypt where I went to school till graduation. After finishing school in Cairo, I moved to the UAE, where I completed my Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the American University of Sharjah. Having had the opportunity to live in three different countries from the MENA region, I’ve become a culturally aware individual with a global mindset.

When and how did you join Arla and what is your position now?
I come from a Marketing background, where I graduated from the American University of Sharjah. I first read about the Arla Graduate Program on LinkedIn, and the thought of working for a multinational with the goal of Creating the Future of Dairy encouraged me to apply. At that time, I was also not clear of the day-to-day operations in the corporate world, thus, having the opportunity to rotate across departments to get a holistic understanding of the organisation was key to me.

How has the MENA Graduate Programme helped you to grow your career?
Through the programme I got to build a strong foundation in Marketing, Sales, and Business Development – which eased my transition for my first permanent role in Category Management in Saudi Arabia. From there, I worked on various brands, countries, and categories until I reached my current position almost three years after.

What’s your next step?
I believe that the skills you acquire through the programme and the exposure you get through the on-hands project you work on, prepare you well to excel in your career and accelerate your development at Arla Foods. Above all, the work-life balance you’ll get and the healthy working environment you’ll be a part of, are Arla’s true qualities.

MEET KARIM

My name is Karim and I’m from Egypt. I completed my Bachelor’s at the American University in Cairo in 2008 having specialised in Integrated Marketing Communication. After working for a year after my graduation in advertising, I decided to pursue a postgraduate degree where I studied Strategic Marketing & Consulting at the University of Birmingham in the UK.

When and how did you join Arla and what is your position now?
I have a strong passion for brands and communication, which is why I stayed 2 more years as a Strategic Planner before realising that I wanted to be on the other side of the table, and have more ownership of brands as well as drive commercial growth. Having gone through a gruelling recruitment process, I was finally selected to join the MENA Graduate programme in September 2014. At the time, I wasn’t aware of Arla Foods but I knew some of the power brands the company owned, mainly Lurpak and Puck. I had 3 insightful and very exciting rotations in Sharjah, Beirut and Dubai, but what resonated most was the people I worked with and the network I built across the organisation; they are simply full of life, enthusiasm and have so much love for the company! After completing the programme, I was appointed out of our newly established joint venture office in Egypt for 1.5 years as the BSM & MYPC Category Manager where I was given the opportunity to help build a key category in a challenging and highly competitive macro-environment from scratch.


How has the MENA Graduate Programme helped you to grow your career?
Primarily, the programme helped me respect and love Arla more – appreciate what the company stands for, and what it values. One of the secret recipes of Arla is the people, who truly help define Arla’s identity, and bring it to life. When you are surrounded with a positive work environment, you are driven to excel and grow. I gained a strong understanding of the Arla business during the programme, and I was empowered as a graduate to lead on projects, make commercial decisions, and voice my opinion. I developed competencies and skills both from a professional and a personal level, which I believe helped shape a more independent, responsible and confident version of myself.

What’s your next step?
Currently, I’m located in Denmark as the Global Brand Manager on Organic working on a project-basis on the newly established Organic growth territory within the Arla brand. It is a very exciting time to be working on the Arla brand since there are many changes and at the same time big ambitions on driving the territory’s growth agenda both in Europe and across International. It has been an excellent opportunity to work in the head office, because it brought me much closer to Arla, it enriched my understanding of the company’s operating business model, it strengthened my ability to work cross-functionally and geographically in the organization, and it also built my network. I am looking forward to building on the momentum and experience I’ve acquired, and embark on a challenging journey where I can gain more knowledge and add further value.  

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