Our Global Graduate Yanne had the opportunity to spend six months in Brazil in the context of her second assignment. We took her out for a quick chat to find out more about this unforgettable and enriching adventure
Hi Yanne, nice to see you! To properly introduce you to the readers, let’s talk about your project in Brazil. What did it entail?
"Thank you. For my second assignment as a Global Graduate I had the opportunity to get a taste of revenue management in Brazil.
Unlike Europe, a big part of sales in Brazil comes from product promotions. To have a better view on this, they set up a Graduate assignment. More specifically, my job was to calculate the return on investment of promotions on Ontex’s baby diapers. Based on that analysis, I created a framework of recommendations for the sales teams to use. I do have to admit it was challenging at times because this was far from everything I have learned during my studies as Organizational Psychologist. But to me that is one of the great things about Ontex’s Graduate program. The company challenges you to work on projects that are out of your comfort zone, enabling you to gain a lot of knowledge and capabilities within a relatively short period."
Sounds challenging but interesting! How did you experience living abroad for 6 months?
"First, I’m a big fan of working in different cultures. I am convinced that each culture has its own way of thinking and way of working, all with their own advantages. However, when being part of the same culture for a longer time, you risk developing the preconception that this is the right or even the only way of doing things. In my opinion, it is only after you have experienced living in and working with another culture that you realize there is so much to learn. What I, for example, like a lot about the Brazilian culture is the openness of the people. Brazilians tend to interact a lot during working hours, while we (Belgians), rather like to work in silence . At the beginning, it was quite an adaptation to get used to this open and more informal corporate vibe. Yet, it didn’t take me long to realize that in this way knowledge is shared more easily amongst colleagues and departments."
You must have learned a lot… which skills did you develop there?
"Resilience! You can not underestimate the challenges that come with working abroad. You start a whole new life: you get introduced to a new culture, you work with new colleagues, you meet new people, etc. When you succeed in integrating this change, you will see that there is so much to learn on both a professional and personal level. I have learned to be flexible and to cope with change, new ways of working, and even cultural habits. In the continuously changing environment that we live and work in today, I am convinced that this skill will be key for my further development."
Would you say that working abroad is an added value to your career?
"For sure! It is a fact that the business world is becoming more and more international. In my opinion, the ability to cooperate with people from different cultures is a must-have, no matter what your role is. Look at our office in Aalst for example, there are so many nationalities and I am convinced that, if we are open to it, we can learn a lot from each other."
So far, what was the best part of the Global Graduate program for you?
"Besides my experience in Brazil of course, one of the most memorable moments was presenting the final results of my first assignment at a global Ontex conference in Spain. It was great to reach such a big audience and I felt very much empowered by my manager, who supported me on the project. I guess it’s the trust in people that I love the most about the program. Colleagues and managers believe in your capabilities and young, fresh ideas, and give you the chance to have a real impact on the business."
You look enthusiastic! Would you recommend the program to youngsters? Hit us with your tips & tricks!
"Of course, definitely! No doubt about that! ?
Ontex is a growing, international company, which makes it a very exciting and diverse business. However, the culture does not feel like the one you would expect to find in a multinational, corporate environment. People are very open towards and believe in the potential of young newcomers, which creates an incredibly empowering environment for graduates. It enables you to grow and develop yourself at a fast pace. So, yes, I am excited about what the future has in store!"
Did we spark your interest? Do you want to learn more about our Global Graduate program?
Meet us in person at our wine tasting event in Brussels on February 18, 2020. More info here.
Go the extra mile and sollicitate to the Global Graduate Program below before going to the event!