PROGRAM EXPECTATIONS

PROGRAM EXPECTATIONS

Hi guys, just a few more days left before the application deadline (it will close on March 5th http://about.bestseller.com/jobs/job-search/international-business-trainee-2017-144792) and I know that ‘now’ is the last hesitation about “should I?” Yes, you should! And I am going to give you some reasons.

On Tuesday evening all of the IBT’s had a dinner and 3 hours chatting with Anders Holch Povlsen, CEO and owner of BESTSELLER. During this time we had the opportunity to tell him, one by one, what we felt were the strengths and opportunities of the business as well as providing suggestions about things we would like to change within the organization, in addition to all the questions that we had. It was a great chance to hear all of the explanations and to have all of the comments from the ultimate responsible of the company, aside from getting to know him better, and we will meet him again before summer.

Personally, I received some comments from other people in the organization expressing how lucky we were to have this occasion, which made me think about all the special treatment when being an IBT. In addition to that, I have received some questions from people applying for the program so I thought it would be a good idea to write down what can you expect from the program:

  • Work. You will work as a regular employee, with the same working hours. Besides that, expect to be challenged or take the first step and try to challenge your manager too! Everyone will listen to your ideas and support you to perform them, if there a problem you will receive constructive feedback.
  • School periods. During the two year program, there are 4 school periods (between 1-3 weeks) where you will learn about the whole value chain. Even if is it not directly related to your job, it is a great chance to learn more about the business. For example, in the first school period, right after we arrived in Denmark, we learnt about Retail and went to Germany for 10 days to work in the stores and learn their operations, including being a part of an interesting competition that took place between all the IBT’s groups. At the end of March/beginning of April we will have our second school period (stay tuned for the post), where we will learn about production and will go to China for one week to visit the Suppliers. We are really excited about that! The not (that) funny part that is related with each school period, is that we have to write an academic report and you will be evaluated and provided with feedback.
  • Manager & Coach. You will have a Manager and a Coach, ready to help you and making sure that everything is all right. I have status meetings with my manager every month to explore new challenges and to check how my tasks are being performed, but I am more than welcome to approach them any time with more suggestions. Besides that, it’s habitual to have “catch up coffees” with my lovely Coach Vicky, just to check that I am fine and that everything is ok. Her role as a Coach is to be my first contact just in case I am not happy with something or I have a new idea, although we also work together in different projects. Being experienced in working abroad for some years, do you know how good does it feel?!
  • Stationing. The second year you can go to up to two different destinations. This placement will depend on your role, your brand and the needs of the business. There could be the case where it makes more sense for you to stay or just go to one place, there are other people that even the first year travel a lot, but as I said, it depends on each person, be patient and you will eventually know where that will be. In my case, my second destination will be LONDON!!! I will have an interesting project there for some months and I could not be more excited 🙂
  • Accommodation. The IBT’s are divided in two groups and their location depends on the brand or department that they work for: Brande or Aarhus. In any case, everyone lives in the same building and shares an apartment with one of their fellows IBT. If you have ever lived in a dormitory you can recognize dinner meetings, movie nights and  endless chit-chats.
  • Salary. As my friend Anna said in a prior post (highly recommended  http://bestseller-ibt.com/2017/02/20/reality-check-dealing-with-expat-challenges/ ), Denmark is expensive and the salary is not huge so don’t expect to party like Jay-Z. You will be able to have everything that you need, eventually save some money and be able to do some trips here and there, what else can you ask for? In addition, the IBT team pays for two trips a year to your home country, pretty good, right?
  • Friends. What I call “pack of friends”. You have the opportunity to get into a place with, in my case, 21 other people who all have the same purpose. It makes things waaaaay easier. Even though we all like each other a lot, and we are always looking forward to meeting up and doing new things, it is only natural that we tend to make groups, as is human nature we get closer to some people more than others. In my case I have what we called “Little Ohana” (Ohana means family in the Hawaiian culture), and we have some traditions like eating pancakes which Hannah, my adorable flat mate, prepare for us on Fridays, before we go to Burger Shack (best burgers in the city) and watch a movie afterwards in one of our rooms. Ok, we don’t have the most healthy Fridays, but we love it and we do a lot of sport the rest of the week 🙂

So here my notes, I hope you can find it useful. Remember that you can always leave a comment if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to answer.

Good luck to everyone!!

Best wishes,

Ana.

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11 responses to “PROGRAM EXPECTATIONS”

  1. Srishti says:

    Dear Ana,

    This is a wonderful post (and, must I add so perfectly timed before the deadline)! It is so motivating to hear about your experience with Mr Anders Holch Povlsen and the amazing opportunity to voice your opinion about the business. I particularly enjoyed the part where you spoke about the IBT accommodation. I spent my childhood in a boarding school where we lived in dormitories of 12 people. We had students from all parts of India and some also from other parts of the world. Your experience reminded me of my cherished school days and how amazing it was to live with people from so many different backgrounds & cultures!

    Like yourself, I am also interested to work in the Wholesale & Retail Sales field. In the past, I have taken several initiatives to do internships in various areas like sales, e-commerce, PR, design because I believe its the best way to explore your interests and then decide the area that works best for your interests and expertise. These days, I am writing my cover letter and finding it hard to decide if I should focus my application specifically for the requirements of a Wholesale & Retail Sales Trainee or write a more general application. I am aware that if the candidate is invited to an interview, together the team decides where the trainee fits best.

    What do you think?

    Thanks in advance,
    Srishti

    • Ana Duro says:

      Hi Srishti,

      I am happy to hear that you liked and found interesting my post! I highly agree with you regarding the diverse background, mine is quite eclectic and it gave me knowledge in different fields that now I find really useful.

      Regarding your cover letter, it depend on what do you want! If you are sure about your field, go for it! I actually applied for Retail and they selected me for Sales as a more analytic profile, something that I never imagined, but they saw my potential, bet for it and cannot be more happy now! But if you are open to other challenges write it down as well, show your interests.

      I wish you good luck!

      Ana.

      • Srishti says:

        Thank you so much Ana!!

        I think its really amazing they make an effort to understand your true potential and channelise it in the right direction.

        Glad to know you love what you’re doing. Good luck for the rest of your programme too! 🙂

  2. Olga says:

    – Does everyone get the same responsibility in their departments?
    – Has anything disappointed you with school periods and your department?
    – What is the food like at the canteen?
    – How often to you speak to your manager and coach?
    – How often do you speak to HR?
    – Can I choose where to go as a destination?
    – How do I get Danish friends?
    – How often do you meet up with the other IBTs?
    – What trips are you going on? I would like to go to Japan, would this be possible to save up for?
    – Does everyone have an “Ohana”? Do they arrange this for us?
    – What sports do you recommend? I like fishing.

    There is really not a lot of answers on the application website, so I really need you to answer these questions, otherwise I don’t feel comfortable applying.

    Thanks,
    Olga

    • Ana Duro says:

      Hi Olga,

      thanks for your questions, I will try to answer to all of them below:

      – Does everyone get the same responsibility in their departments? No, your responsibility may vary depend on your role, department, brand, prior experience…each position is different so it’s better to compare to yourself and what can you do to improve.
      – Has anything disappointed you with school periods and your department? Maybe due to my prior experience, this experience was quite better than what I was expecting. But this is just my experience. When I have felt that something was wrong, I have had the chance to say it and we will all have arranged an agreement.
      – What is the food like at the canteen? The food in the canteen is just DELICIOUS. With around 60% organic ingredients, and being a foodie, this is one of my favorite times of the day 🙂 you can read about food on Migle post http://bestseller-ibt.com/2017/01/29/lets-talk-about-food/
      – How often to you speak to your manager and coach? Everyday. But as I said before, it may be different for each person.
      – How often do you speak to HR? As much as necessary but if we are not in school period and there is no need of, maybe every two months maximum.
      – Can I choose where to go as a destination? Normally the destination must make sense for you, your role and the business. For example, my bigger customers are in UK and Germany, being in sales it wouldn’t make sense to go to China when we don’t have customers there.
      – How do I get Danish friends? Based on my experience it is always harder to make local friends than expats. Everywhere. Danes are open minded and always happy to help you but to create a friendship with them is harder and it can get some time. I was explained that they are like coconuts, hard to break but when you get it, they won’t let you out 🙂
      – How often do you meet up with the other IBTs? Well, we all live together as I wrote in the post, so basically every day. What you do out of the office is more your business so no one is going to tell you how often you have to do what.
      – What trips are you going on? I would like to go to Japan, would this be possible to save up for? Depend on your expenses, if you go out often, buy a lot of clothes and so on. Even though Japan is a really expensive country to visit, you could save enough to go, you just need to be cost conscious.
      – Does everyone have an “Ohana”? Do they arrange this for us? No, this is just something that we named to the group that we made. It doesn’t mean that I don’t go with the rest. As I said before, it is something out of the office hours so you will naturally get closer with the people more alike you.
      – What sports do you recommend? I like fishing. This is completely up to you. I go to the gym in a daily basis. Denmark is definitely a fitness country so you can find what you need. And surrounded by lakes, I am sure you can find a spot to go fishing 🙂

      I hope it helps you.

      Have a nice weekend,

      Ana

  3. Paulina Martina K says:

    Dear Ana,

    I also had a few questions 🙂

    -About the accommodation; you mentioned that this dormitory like. Does this mean that the rooms will have basic equipment ex. a desk and a bed or will it be possible to bring/buy your own ?
    -I have seen that you have written about seeing the other IBTs everyday , but do you also collaborate during work hours or are the projects more department separate?
    – You also mentioned that you applied for a specialty but was recommended another, did this happen at beginning or further on?
    – Are you also able to learn from the other departments or take place during alternate workshops?

    Thank you in advance,

    Paulina Martina K

    • Ana Duro says:

      Hi Paulina Martina,

      Let me answer your questions below 🙂

      – You don’t have to worry for the equipment. All the apartments are fully and nicely furnished and decorated as well (you can feel that this is a fashion company 🙂 ) The kitchen in Aarhus is a bit small but in Brande is huge so everything depend on your destination. The same for second and, if there is one, third destination, where they will look for an apartment for you and equip it completely.
      – Some IBT’s have to collaborate in their daily job because their brand/department is the same. This is not my case as my brand is small. However, one of the ideas of the IBT is to create this networking where you will know someone almost everywhere in the company just in case 🙂
      – This happened in my second interview. The first interview is just with HR to see if you could be a candidate for the program. After you pass this, your application is sent to the different managers looking for an IBT to do the “match”, and it is in the second interview where you already know how it would be the job and in which area.
      – During the school periods you will be trained in all different areas of the organization. Beside that, it is up to your manager and always if it makes sense where you can work with other departments. For example, even though I work in Sales, I was interested in a LEAN Program in an IT department, which I did and which allowed me to implement a project in my department.

      I hope I answered all your doubts 🙂

      BR,

      Ana

  4. Patricia Jensen says:

    Hi Ana,

    Just came across Bestseller’s IBT programme, so I missed this year’s deadline.

    Your post has been great in order to clarify some important things but is there an age limit to enter the programme? I can’t seem to find it anywhere. This may condition my application for next year.

    Thank you!
    Patricia

    • Ana Duro says:

      Hi Patricia,

      I am sorry that you missed it, but be aware for next year!

      Regarding your question, there is no age limit. In my team there is a girl who started when she was 22 and a guy with 32. If you are the right candidate, this kind of conditions won’t be a problem at all.

      Br,

      Ana

  5. Victoria says:

    Hey Ana!
    I have a BA and MA in History. I also have a retail and customer service experience, I really love the Danish lifestyle as well as their fashion. I was to be taken seriously as a retail and wholesale applicant. I know my degrees might not match retail and wholesale but it has given me other skills I think might be beneficial to the program. My question is: what was your educational/ experience background before applying to the program?

    • Ana Duro says:

      Hi Victoria!

      I studied a double Degree in Business Management & Administration and Law, and I did a Master in Sales Management and Marketing. My experience was as Process Expert and Finance Controller in completely different industries. Although your studies are important, the IBT team will see each applicant as a whole, and definitely, the most important part is your ATTITUDE! For example, one of my fellow IBT was a school teacher for many years before she got the IBT position within SALES. And you even have experience! If you really like the program do not hesitate to apply just because your studies doesn’t match the position, as you said, they have given you other skills which might be beneficial!

      Let me know if you have any question.

      Ana.

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