Amanda from Carlsberg: “Probably the most fun and challenging graduate programme in the world”

13/01/2022 Graduateships Min.

As a Commercial Graduate on the Carlsberg Graduate Programme, Amanda got to experience the entire value chain that challenged her with a steep learning curve. Read on to learn how the commercial and supply chain tracks are interwoven at Carlsberg, one of the leading brewery groups in the world today, what is the culture at the DNA of the company like, and what’s her best advice for other applicants!

Amanda Lunding Smith

  • Bachelor’s degree in English & Organizational Communication from Copenhagen Business School (CBS)
  • Summer school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Exchange at the McCombs School of Business in the United States
  • Master’s degree in Business Administration & E-business from CBS
  • Commercial Graduate at Carlsberg since January

What rotation of the graduate programme at Carlsberg are you currently on?

There are three rotations. My first rotation was in the brands marketing team in our commercial department working with the Tuborg brand. Right now, I’m at my second rotation working in our Product Change Management team which is part of our supply chain located in Fredericia. Here, we are the link between the commercial and supply chain business focusing on implementing new products into our breweries and into the market. In my third rotation, I will move on to our sales department where I will finish the graduate programme.

It’s quite unique that you get to follow the entire cycle from end to end. When we want to launch new products in the marketing department, we need to have our supply chain with us. When I started the marketing rotation, it was about wanting to develop and launch a new product. In my second rotation, it was about how we can implement it and which suppliers to use. I will end the programme in the sales rotation, asking how we should sell the product to our customers.  

Even though Carlsberg is an old company and has a lot of history, it always strives to do better, working with many innovations and having sustainability high on the agenda.
Amanda

How did you start at the Carlsberg Graduate Programme? Where did you first hear about it?

I actually started working at Carlsberg as a student assistant two and a half years prior, during my studies. Besides Carlsberg visiting career events at CBS, I’d always worked closely with the other graduates, and they had spoken very highly of the programme. Since I was already super satisfied with my job as a student, I wanted to continue my journey within Carlsberg. So I applied on the same terms as anyone else and was fortunate enough to get a spot.

 

What else attracted you to Carlsberg?

Carlsberg is a very interesting, but also a complex company with many different business areas. You get to work with beers and soft drinks, products all can relate to and grow up with. But even though Carlsberg is an old company and has a lot of history, it always strives to do better, working with many innovations and having sustainability high on the agenda. All the different facets of the company are summed up into Carlsberg being a social company that wants to bring people closer together.

Why did you want to join a graduate programme?

During my studies, I always heard a lot of great things about graduate programmes. It’s a unique opportunity to experience multiple areas of the business and build your network within it. And at the end of the programme, you get a much more holistic understanding of the entire company, and you will have built quite a solid foundation you can use to accelerate your growth within that company. 

 

What has surprised you the most about working at Carlsberg?

First of all, the level of responsibility is very different from being a student assistant. From the start, I was thrown into new tasks and responsibilities. The tasks are exciting and challenging, but you always have the support and people to help you. You receive continuous feedback on projects and are being challenged to become better every day. At Carlsberg, you are really valued as a graduate, and your input is always appreciated. 

In terms of the employees and the culture, I feel Carlsberg is special. We collaborate across departments and teams and everyone is always willing to help, chat or give advice. Since we are a social company producing and selling social products, the social aspect has always been in the DNA of the company, and we prioritize socializing, also outside of business hours. This is not only the graduates, it goes for all levels of the company, and you can have the senior management joining you at the Friday bar.

In terms of the employees and the culture, I feel Carlsberg is special. We collaborate across departments and teams and everyone is always willing to help, chat or give advice. Since we are a social company producing and selling social products, the social aspect has always been in the DNA of the company, and we prioritize socializing.
Amanda

What has been the biggest challenge as a graduate?

The first thing would be COVID – having to start a full-time job during a pandemic is not the best way to begin. I was fortunate to know a lot of my colleagues beforehand, but since Carlsberg is such a social and fun environment, it is quite challenging to work from home and be new to your tasks, not always knowing who to go to for help. For young business professionals in general, I don’t think starting a new job while working from home is the best, but Carlsberg was very fast in getting all the teams digitized, and now it’s working very well. 

Another thing that’s been challenging is of course to change rotations. You can get very attached to the team you’re working with and very involved in the project, especially because you have such a high level of responsibility. All of a sudden, you have to let it go and start from scratch in a new rotation. But while it can be difficult, you try different areas of the business and suddenly start to see the link between all departments.

How do you see your future with Carlsberg?

Throughout my entire graduate programme, I’ve been in close contact with my manager, my mentor, and HR business partner where we continuously talk about competencies, goals, and next steps. This has not only put my mind at ease but also helped me reflect on my future career. I definitely see myself working in Carlsberg for many years to come.

But some graduates prefer to wait until they are done with the programme – you never know, the supply chain may be the best department for you.  There’s always room for discussions and talks with different people involved, and you will together try to find the best fit for the company and for you. 

 

Do you have any advice for other applicants?

If you’re eager to learn and willing to challenge yourself there are endless opportunities to grow within the company and explore things you have not before. The learning curve is steep, but there are always people to back you up. 

People are so talented within Carlsberg and you can really learn a lot from them, so I really believe in being humble and taking in as much knowledge as you can is the best advice I can give. But you should also enjoy it – the graduate programme is so much fun. You get to try out things and build a great network.