How did you start at the Grundfos Graduate Programme? Where did you first hear about it?
I had worked abroad before, in Switzerland, and I was looking for an international graduate programme. I discovered the Grundfos programme online. While Grundfos is not a household name in England, the programme seemed exactly what I was looking for – international, the right length, and I could gain the right experience from it.
It lasts for two years and there are four six-month rotations. You either get to choose your own rotation, or you can get an offer as you move through the company. The third rotation usually takes place abroad.
What attracted you to Grundfos?
It seemed like a company that was living and breathing its values. I liked that it was a purpose-driven company, which holds true to my own values, as opposed to being profit-driven. Even though I wasn’t an expert in an area like sustainability, I liked the idea that Grundfos would allow me to incorporate it into my design thinking.
I also have a real interest in companies that are undergoing large transformations. At the time, Grundfos was in the middle of a big digital transformation. It’s great when a company tries to explore its capabilities past what it already knows. It widens knowledge throughout the company. This is why I was keen to jump aboard.
Why did you want to join a graduate programme?
My background was quite specific and most of the people on my course went into a specialist role. But what I found coming out of university was that I still had a really broad level of interest. I’d started to see that I was getting engaged and interested in the business and organizational side of companies – operations, sales mechanisms, and such. I brainstormed and came to the conclusion that a graduate programme would let me explore different avenues.
It seemed like a company that was living and breathing its values. I liked that it was a purpose-driven company, which holds true to my own values, as opposed to being profit-driven. Even though I wasn't an expert in an area like sustainability, I liked the idea that Grundfos would allow me to incorporate it into my design thinking.
What has surprised you the most about working at Grundfos?
The openness at Grundfos quickly surprised me. I could contribute and be who I wanted to be very quickly – no matter my background or experience, I would still be heard and respected by everyone. Even if you’re in the same room as someone who’s been at the company for 40 years and is many levels above you in terms of job hierarchy. It surprised me how easy it was to just have open conversations and state opinions.
What has been your biggest challenge as a graduate?
I was starting afresh in a new job but in a new country as well. If you let it get hold of you, then it becomes quite overwhelming. Grundfos did a really good job of making sure I was taken care of during the initial period. It was nice to know the support was there.
Another challenge (although I hope it will no longer be an issue in the coming years) was having to switch to working fully online due to COVID. A big part of the graduate program is the ability to network and get to know experienced people quickly as you have to be agile while you’re going through rotations – and that was a challenge when it was online. But you surprise yourself with how quickly you adapt to that sort of environment.
Lastly, the rotations last six months, and usually you feel you are close to your comfort zone about five months into the rotation. As soon as you feel you’ve hit the ground, it’s time to move again. It was a challenge to be able to park something you’ve done and move on to something different. What helped me to transition between different positions was to step back and understand what I’ve learned over the past six months, and apply that to the next rotation.
Was it easy to see your future with Grundfos during your graduate programme?
Over the two years, I built up a network that would enable me to take multiple conversations on different future paths within Grundfos. I could freely make the decision on where I wanted to go. I could use the graduate programme as a learning board and understand what I wanted to do. I am still not at the point of knowing this is going to be the one specialization for me, but I imagine my future is not going to look like a straight line. I think I’m going to like it like that – to be able to explore different things and my capabilities.
In the application stage, I think it’s important for an applicant to try and connect the dots on their journey so far to see where they came from and what they’ve learned along the way - but also what they haven’t been able to explore or learn yet. That way, if Grundfos is the next step for you, it is much easier to understand how it fits into your journey.
Do you have any advice for other applicants?
In the application stage, I think it’s important for an applicant to try and connect the dots on their journey so far to see where they came from and what they’ve learned along the way – but also what they haven’t been able to explore or learn yet. That way, if Grundfos is the next step for you, it is much easier to understand how it fits into your journey.
When you’re in the programmme, try to enjoy it. Two years seems a lot when you’re in the first couple of weeks, but it flies by so quickly. It’s often easy to take for granted how many learning opportunities you have, and how much experience you’re gaining during the programme.