Imagine a world where everyone has access to affordable, personal hygiene. That’s the kind of world that we, at Ontex have been building for the last 40 years. We’ve grown by creating new brands around the world, developing new solutions and have been expanding geographically. As we believe people are an elementary key factor for an innovative and successful organization, we’re constantly looking for new talents and various profiles. In order to invest in young talents and their personal and professional capabilities, we’ve set up a Global Graduate Program.
The Global Graduate program is a program of 18 months, split up in four rotations. During one of these rotations, you get the opportunity to work on a project in one of our Ontex locations around the world. Did you know that Ontex has offices and manufacturing plants in Europe, North Africa, China, Australia, the Middle East and Americas? Which also means guys: more than 30 countries you can go and explore! What are you waiting for?? ?
Arnaud had the opportunity to spend his six months abroad in Mexico. Emma, one of our Generation 2 Global Graduates took him out for a quick chat.
Emma: “What interests you about this graduate program and in particular the assignment abroad?”
Arnaud: “Ontex was a good fit for me in the sense that the program they were offering was by far the most complete one (within 18 months 3 assignments to broaden your business understanding and 6 months in one of our foreign subsidiaries). Compared to other programs I have been selected for, this attracted me the most. Moreover, working for a Belgian company with the headquarter in Belgium was for me a big plus because I knew I would be close to the decision center.”
Emma: “Was it an issue for you to work for a diaper company and why?”
Arnaud: “Initially it was something that was quite hard for me, to work in a Hygienic disposable company. Honestly, it doesn’t sounds as sexy as working for a Beer Company or a Beauty Care Company. But when I look at the working experience and the responsibilities I have had for the last months I realize how fast I have been able to grow.
Emma: “Why is working abroad an added value for your career in your opinion?”
Arnaud: “I think it depends on you. For me, it’s in my DNA. I love connecting to a new culture and being exposed to something I have never been exposed to before. That explains my interest in working abroad. On top of that, Ontex is a strong international player and going abroad is necessary to understand the company’s DNA. These 6 months help you understand the nitty gritty of the business and how to manage and to meet expectations from all different parties.”
Emma: “Which skills did you develop in daily life in Mexico?”
Arnaud: “Definitely the skill to adapt! Entering a new country, a new culture, with different ways of working and above all, a language you do not master. This requires a strong willingness to adapt really fast as you are not there on holiday… You are required to quickly face challenges in order to be an added value to the company and its local team.”
Emma: “What about the work-life balance in Mexico?”
Arnaud: “Colleagues became friends! During the week I worked long hours, but honestly that didn’t bother me as I was surrounded by a warm crew. However during the weekend, I enjoyed my free time to the fullest! I discovered the whole country, hiked, enjoyed its nature, did scuba diving,… fantastic! The most difficult thing, I have to say, was to leave Mexico after 6 months… I’ll go back, for sure!”
Emma: “Thank you Arnaud! To end off: Any tips for future graduates or interns on doing a graduate program / internship abroad?”
Arnaud: “Do not take the time to stand still, your international experience will be too short to not be taken to the fullest !”