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.