We have recently spoken with KMD graduate Hoziar Isabella Engstrøm, who shared some insights from the company and gave advice for future applicants. Hear what she had to say about her time in the graduate program of the Danish IT giant KMD.
How did you end up at KMD?
I graduated in April of 2020 with a master’s degree from Copenhagen Business School in E-business – hence, it was right when the first wave of the Covid-19 epidemic was on its top. I remember everyone was saying “we can’t get any jobs, people are getting let go, there isn’t anything available”, which was a bit stressful. However, right before, I had actually applied for the KMD graduate programme. I knew I wanted to work in the intersection of IT and business and had therefore been following some companies I found interesting, including KMD, which was a perfect fit both for my background and preferences. The entire recruitment process was very intuitive and went rather smoothly. From sending them my application to the case days, and then finally to the last interview and acceptance.
I was invited for a case day at the KMD office in Ballerup, which was a super fun experience. Other companies had only sent me these millions of online tests you have to complete, so I even thought to myself, that if I don’t make the cut, I still appreciate that I had this experience. On the case day, you first get introduced to the programme and hear about what type of company KMD is and their different tracks. Afterward, you are divided into groups and receive three cases you need to solve together. While you’re doing so, the recruiters and managers observe you solve the cases and also how you work in a team. Based on all the case day activities and your performance, they select applicants that are invited to participate in a final interview.
KMD is picking which kind of position and department you will have in the graduate programme based on the best match with your competencies and what they have learned about you in general. I applied for a project management position, but instead, I was positioned in sales and market.
It was a surprise to me, but KMD is picking which kind of position and department you will have in the graduate programme based on the best match with your competencies and what they have learned about you in general. I applied for a project management position, but instead, I was positioned in sales and market, although I did not have prior experience within sales. My only similar experience within this field came from a student position in marketing and communications. I did not know what the position was, like, a salesperson, how do I do that? But now when I have started I really do understand why they picked me for the role.
I was very honest with them at the beginning and shared my concerns about the position I was heading into, but I remember that my manager was very confident about his decision to put me in the sales department. My other worry was concerning my future co-workers. I was unsure how to work with all of these people who already had plenty of experience and that I would be a “newbie” with all my questions. However, my manager and fellow colleagues were really good at telling me that there is no such thing as stupid questions and the only way you are going to learn is to ask millions of them. They have always encouraged me to ask and address any concerns that I have or when I was insecure about something. As they put it, “it is okay to ask one question at least 10 times”.
The other thing that I really like about the program is that we do not have rotations per se which does not bother me at all. I prefer to be specialised in one particular area as I come from a rather broad education. Here, I get the opportunity to properly dig into a new subject and have the chance to be really good at it.
It was quite challenging to start the program during the pandemic. As a new graduate, I would love to go to the office, meet all of the colleagues in person and get to know the business but it was simply not possible with the restrictions.
After my first day at the office, on my way home I received an email from KMD stating that all work will be done remotely. It was worrying because both the company and the job were very new for me and I was wondering how it was going to work out. Fortunately, the company has been putting a lot of effort into making it work the best way they can, and all my colleagues have been extra supportive and helpful, especially my work buddy and fellow graduate from my team.
What are you looking forward to?
In the rest of my graduate programme, I am excited to learn more within sales and market and the courses that are prepared for us. I signed up for a contract management course since I would love to acquire some knowledge regarding this topic as it is a big part of the position. The graduate events are the other part that I am very excited about, with the next one taking place in April. In my group of graduates, we made a small community where we communicate in these difficult times and help each other out when someone needs it. It gives a mental boost for all of us, that we know we have each other to count on and get support from. It is important for me to have these social interactions now more than ever due to the pandemic.
As a piece of advice, I can say that you should not be too formal because KMD is very casual and they focus on the personalities along with your competencies and skills.
In the future, I definitely want to stay in the field where I am because it is very interesting and exciting. Perhaps, I would be interested to move into the consultant side of it to try it out. It is caused by my interest in software and IT architecture and the configurations of it. But I would like to emphasise that I really enjoy what I am doing at the moment. And I do feel that I will enjoy it a lot more once I get the hang of everything and stop asking for help all the time 😀
However, it is difficult to say where I could end up. There are different possibilities to develop. For instance, I sit with the specific software and within that team, we are over 100 people, therefore there are many opportunities and positions within this particular software department to move around.
Who should apply for the programme?
There are so many areas that you can work with, hence I think it is for many types of educational backgrounds and personalities. I feel like I am an introvert but in certain situations, I am an extrovert but only if I feel safe and comfortable, which I do at KMD. Therefore, I can perform at my best here and that is truly motivating for me. KMD is also confident at accepting any personality type and people with diverse educational backgrounds. As I have noticed from my intake, we are all very different.
Tips and tricks
My greatest tip of advice is “Be yourself and be honest”, those two can get you far. KMD does not search for one particular kind of graduate, it is clear that they search for graduates with different competencies who are simply eager to learn.
During my first interview on case day, my manager asked me: “What is one thing that you find important at work?” I answered “cake” and he laughed but I really do love cake. I, of course, also listed several other things but he remembered me for answering cake. As a piece of advice, I can say that you should not be too formal because KMD is very casual and they focus on the personalities along with your competencies and skills, they evaluate all you all around so it is not just about having the “prettiest” CV. My current manager also told me that “you can learn almost everything, while personality is something that you cannot” and I really liked that.