Life as a Graduate at Scandinavian Tobacco Group: See your actions translate into real impact

Scandinavian Tobacco Group graduate

We have recently spoken with Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) graduate Paulina, who shared some insights from the company with us and gave advice for future applicants. Hear what she had to say about her time in the graduate program of the Danish tobacco giant. 

From student assistent to graduate at STG

When talking with Paulina, it doesn’t take long to realize that she is an adventurous and ambitious person, who, on numerous occasions, has made the whole world a place for both her studies and work. She had stayed in Spain as well as in the US for her studies and has been working as a travel guide around the world. Therefore it is no surprise, that after completing her bachelor’s in international business at the University of Tübingen, Germany, Paulina decided to continue the adventure and move to Denmark for her master’s degree. In the summer of 2020, she graduated with a degree in International Marketing and Management from Copenhagen Business School. Like many other students, she stayed busy during her studies and worked as a student assistant at first for Kellogg’s and later at her current employer, STG. Concurrently with her work at the latter, she got introduced to the opportunity to apply for their graduate program. Therefore, shortly before she graduated from CBS, she decided to put in an application for the graduate program at STG as the next step in her career. Making it all the way through the application process, she got hired and in September 2020 she, therefore, began her time as an International Sales and Marketing Graduate at Scandinavian Tobacco Group.  

The STG Graduate Programme

The International Sales and Marketing graduate program offered by STG is divided into four rotations within Brand Marketing, Commercial Excellence, Local Marketing, and Supply Chain. From all of the rotations, two of them take place in the headquarters in Denmark, while one rotation is in a subsidy abroad. Furthermore, the rotation of Supply Chain takes place in Denmark for a short period of time, while the remaining time is spent in the factories in Belgium and The Netherlands. For instance, Paulina will go to the Netherlands for her last rotation next year and she highlights the international rotation as one of the reasons why she decided to apply for the STG program.

Usually, there are two spots available in the program for graduates, but if there are more applicants who are a great fit, the company is open to take in even three or more applicants. The graduates are often offered permanent positions within the company after the program – one example of a graduate earning a permanent position is the current International Brand Manager, Ditlev, whose journey you can read more about in our interview with him right here.

Day-to-day work

Although few days are alike in the program, Paulina mentions that usual work is a combination of daily business, emails, follow up and making sure that everything is going as planned. Every day she is involved with various projects, hence the daily routine is rarely the same. In STG each of the projects is assigned to a graduate in a way that it covers the learning objects of that rotation. Therefore, managers prioritize projects for you as a graduate, that can equip you with skills for your next rotation and future projects. 

Unfortunately, due to inconvenience caused by Covid-19, Paulina could not fully experience the work in the office as a graduate yet. Currently, most work has to be done from home due to the company policy, which closely follows the guidelines from the Danish state. Currently, that is to work from home to the greatest possible extent. Besides this obstacle in her graduate program, she is very much enjoying working at STG, which offers a palette of opportunities and challenges. 

What have been the most exciting and challenging moments?

When asked about the most challenging tasks Paulina had to face so far, the answer is not about actual projects – instead she highlights the beginning of her program.

The transition from a student assistant to being a graduate was a huge change that I had to internalize
Paulina, Scandinavian Tobacco Group Graduate

Back then, she also used to work in a different product category as a student worker, however, she emphasizes that the change was, by all means, a positive switch due to increased responsibility, tasks, and the like. “You can say it was as challenging as it was exciting”, she continues. Nevertheless, her point is that it is important to prepare for a new reality and adapt to it, when you begin your full-time career. 

Regardless of a demanding transition, life as a graduate has come with many other exciting moments – Paulina mentions how projects she is involved in now create a chance to see the results of her work directly translate into real impact. She mentions that one of the projects was focused on a very innovative direction, which led to the creation of a unique product for the Danish market.

The projects I am working on translate into real impact on our business around the world - I had not imagined that would be the case for a graduate
Paulina, Scandinavian Tobacco Group Graduate

The working environment at STG

“The working environment is amazing, everyone is super nice – we have a very collaborative office here”, Paulina emphasizes. Besides the hard work, there is always space for chit-chats with your colleagues. STG is a very sociable workplace where everyone is helpful and supportive. Especially during Corona and home office, Paulina states that she was very lucky to work in two teams that have been very mindful of making sure everyone was alright. Hence, due to her familiarity with the company, she did not have trouble in terms of not getting to know her colleagues properly, which has been a challenge mentioned by other graduates that Graduateships has interviewed.

What is different as a graduate?

Changing the student assistant hat for one of a graduate comes with plenty of changes in the work-life. “You are getting so much more responsibility”, Paulina states. As she experienced working as a student assistant in STG, she can clearly see the differences. What is clear from the change of position is the ability to see the impact that you have on projects and cases. Everyone in the company is very open-minded about the new ideas that graduates bring up, which is partly due to the high trust there is in young people at STG in general, as well as current and former graduates performing well in the company. Hence, you get more easily to see the results of the projects that you have been part of introducing into the real world, which is an exciting part of the job. 

Who is the program for?

At Scandinavian Tobacco Group the most important thing is to be yourself first and foremost. There is no such thing as a structured personality type that will fit perfectly. Paulina notes that the employees at STG are very diverse regarding their background and experience – however, the numerous skillsets create an advantageous set of abilities when performing in teams. Therefore, it can be an advantage if your background or university degree stands out.

Secondly, the tobacco industry is not an “easy” industry to work in due to the many restrictions regarding advertisements and more, so you should consider before applying, that it might be challenging work from time to time. On the other hand, the most exciting jobs go along with the most challenging ones.

In the end, we would like to thank Paulina for having a moment for an interview with us and we wish her good luck in the future at Scandinavian Tobacco Group.