How did you start at the GN Graduate Program? Where did you first hear about it?
Denmark is a hub for sound technology, it has many successful international companies and a dynamic culture of startups. I first heard about the GN graduate program when I was studying my Master’s of Sound and Music Computing in Copenhagen. A friend of mine was enrolled in it a year ahead of me and it seemed really attractive. I applied and got called in for the interview process which was quite fun, different from a classic hiring process.
It was a full day at the GN headquarters with other potential candidates where we were introduced to the company and could get a feel of the overall atmosphere. In the morning, we had individual interviews, and in the afternoon we solved a case study in groups of four or five people and presented it to a bigger audience. They did a great job of putting us at ease. It was not competitive at all – it was fun to meet other people in a situation similar to mine.
The incredible amount of knowledge within GN surprised me. As a fresh engineer in audio, I knew I had a lot to learn, and there were always opportunities to gain more knowledge - working with incredibly skilled engineers and researchers, but also regular knowledge-sharing sessions where you could learn about what others are working on. This expands your field of view a lot.
How is the graduate program structured?
At GN, the graduate program is a 2-year program consisting of 3 rotations of 8 months in 3 different teams/departments across the organization. One of the rotations is taken in one of our offices abroad. In my generation of graduates, we were 9 people following 3 different program tracks – the engineering, the finance, and the marketing tracks. In my case, I was following the engineering track, in the audio and signal processing domain.
I began this journey in September 2019 and ended at the end of last year. For my first rotation, I joined GN Resound, the hearing aid side of the company, as an Audio Developer, where I was working closely with the hearing aid device, implementing and testing digital audio signal processing algorithms. For my second rotation, I moved into the research team at GN Audio, more known as Jabra, working with spatial audio and virtual reality. And for my rotation abroad, I went to the Netherlands, in Eindhoven, shifting back to GN Resound, this time as a researcher. After eight months in Eindhoven, ending my graduate program there, I had the opportunity to continue with this team, so I grabbed it and I am now a full-time Associate Research Scientist for hearing aids.
Alongside these rotations and the work performed in the different teams, the other graduates and I were occasionally meeting for activities such as professional workshops, knowledge sessions, factory visits, or simply just having lunch together to share our experiences.
What attracted you to GN?
I liked that GN was touching different industry domains under one roof. GN Resound operates on the medical side with a focus on hearing aids. Then there are the consumer and the professional sides, which is the focus of GN Audio (Jabra).
GN has a long, more than 150-year-long history in the technology domain of communication. Nowadays, the company is focusing more on audio headsets, intelligent audio technology solutions, and hearing aids and protection, which are still forms of communication: sound is a means of communication and expression, carrying information and emotions. I feel connected to this field and to the purpose of the company, which is “making life sound better”.
Why did you want to join a graduate program?
It was an excellent opportunity to set foot in the industry as a fresh university graduate without much experience. I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices ahead of me. I was open to all things – startups and smaller-sized companies starting new projects on one hand, and bigger companies with many employees and a bigger impact in the world on the other. Graduate programs seemed like a great opportunity to try out different things before signing up for something more permanent.
The rotation abroad, which could have been in the US, Asia, or Australia as well as Europe, was a very attractive point of the GN graduate program. But during the entire two years, I didn’t only learn new skills and knowledge in my domain – I could also connect with people. The networking opportunity is priceless as you connect with many different teams in the company, and not only with the people in your field of work.
A big point for me was also the fact I would not be alone in a graduate program. In my generation, we are nine in total, and we’re like a family. We started together, shared experiences, and met on a regular basis, also outside of work. It created a bond within and between generations of the graduate program.
After spending two years within GN, staying in the company became a natural choice for me. I felt connected to GN, its people, and the work we do. The professional experience and network accumulated over those two years greatly eased the passage to a permanent position within the company. It helped me realize what I really liked and cleared up the vision of my future career.
What has surprised you the most about working at GN?
Firstly, it was the very warm welcome I received when I first started at GN, and in all the following teams I joined. I felt at ease from day one, and people were always ready to share some of their time to guide me or help me with my tasks. The Copenhagen headquarters, with a flat hierarchy, also has a nice international atmosphere with people of all ages and backgrounds.
The second thing that surprised me was the incredible amount of knowledge in the company. As a fresh engineer in audio, I knew I had a lot to learn, and there were always opportunities to gain more knowledge within GN – working with incredibly skilled engineers and researchers, but also regular knowledge-sharing sessions where you could learn about what others are working on. This expands your field of view a lot.
What has been your biggest challenge as a graduate?
To get out of my comfort zone. It was daunting for me to work on some aspects of the role – as a GN graduate, we represent the younger generation of the company, and there are opportunities like representing the company at a career fair or being part of an interview like this. As an engineer on the introvert side, I’m not the most comfortable with these situations – but these activities, by no means mandatory, were great opportunities for me to work on my personal development. In the end, connecting with people is something that I love.
Was it easy for you to see your future with GN?
After spending two years within GN, staying in the company became a natural choice for me. I felt connected to GN, its people, and the work we do. The professional experience and network accumulated over those two years greatly eased the passage to a permanent position within the company. It helped me realize what I really liked and cleared up the vision of my future career. Currently, I am grateful to be working as a researcher in our research department of Eindhoven.
Do you have any advice for other applicants?
Stay curious and open-minded. And be yourself – within the company, you are first and foremost a colleague, engineer second.