Jacqueline Allen is part of the Unilever Future Leader’s Program. Her current role is a CD/Marketing Management Trainee on the Kroger Foods Team in Cincinnati Ohio. She is a 2015 graduate of NYU Stern where she majored in Marketing and Management and was President of the Marketing Society.
When it comes to choosing your first job out of college, there is a lot of debate over whether to start your career at a small company or a large company. There are differences and benefits to each. I just wrapped up my training for UFLP (Unilever Future Leader’s Program) so you can tell I went big. Here are 4 things to expect when working at a big company.
Big companies like Unilever have structured programs for new hires. UFLP is a three year rotational program that teaches us about our function (Marketing, Supply Chain, R&D, HR, IT or Finance) from a variety of viewpoints so that we really understand the business and can be effective managers. A structured program allows you to experience many aspects of the business while being guided through the different departments. At a smaller company you might have to request to transfer to a different role or department, but at Unilever it’s part of the job description.
Since the company has many employees, there is an extensive support system. In UFLP we have a manager for the current rotation, a manager across the 3 years, an assigned mentor and a buddy who’s in the program a year ahead of us, plus HR and the more informal network we’ll be building within the company. Large companies want to train their new hires and really see them succeed so all of the people involved in the program are championing the program and the people in it.
3. Passionate People
That brings me to the people. There are so many passionate people at Unilever. The people that succeed the most are the most passionate people who are dedicated to what they do. During training we heard from many senior employees about their paths at Unilever and why they love coming to work every day. A big part of that is the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan which is our sustainability plan that sets out to double growth while halving our environmental footprint. At a big company you’ll find passionate people working on innovations and what the next step looks like for the company. Large companies typically have the time and resources to dedicate to planning the future while smaller firms or startups are more focused on the current business and the near future.
4. Impactful Projects
2 billion people a day use Unilever products. With numbers like that any project you work on at Unilever can impact and improve the lives of so many people. It’s inspiring to work at a company where the things you do are executed on such a huge scale. It’s very cool to be working with brands that have the power to make the world a better place.
Large companies typically have large structured training programs that allow new hires to learn the business from multiple perspectives, the network to support your growth, passionate people surrounding you and impactful projects to work on. My advice to younger students: try to gain internship experience at a variety of companies so you get a chance to experience the differences firsthand to understand where you like to work.
For more information about the UFLP program or internships at Unilever, check out http://www.unileverusa.com/careers-jobs/
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