Me and my journey from university to P&G
My time at university was one big challenge – I decided to study International Business in South Korea, where I graduated and received my Master’s degree last spring. During my studies I have experienced working in a multinational company in marketing department, but I was really curious about experiencing sales as well – for me sales was always connected with numbers and fast results. Therefore I applied for the position of Trainee in Sales in P&G, which seemed to me as an ideal opportunity to learn from the beginning as well as grow.
What I do as a Trainee in P&G?
The first four months I was part of the distributor team. The major part of my time I spent out of the office being responsible for over 150 small FMCG customers in terms of direct sales as well as developing long term relationships. During only four months I learned what sales really means and I believe that anyone who wants to work in sales department should experience this. Now I am part of the e-commerce team, being responsible for baby, laundry and dish category, covering our four major online customers. E-commerce as the most vibrant channel is another great challenge for me with unlimited learning possibilities. On daily basis I communicate with my customers and together we create strategies leading to successful business.
How would you describe what P&G means to you in 3 words?
Passion, Future, Experience
Hi, I’m Karmela and during my last semester in CEMS program (Master’s in International Management), I was still unsure what field I wanted to build my future career in. One thing I knew, I wanted to work on projects that bring value and see how I create impact on business. I was eager not only to learn, but also to actually DO. I was full of passion and ideas and while I knew that big corporations could grant me opportunities to learn fast, my greatest worry was that I would find myself doing irrelevant work that adds no value as big companies must already have it all figured out and they don’t really want inputs from young, inexperienced fresh graduates, right? Wrong! ☺ Working for P&G as a Logistics Trainee, I not only closely worked with managers and learned from them every day, but also was able to drive progress with my own projects. In customer logistics, we maintain close relationships with customers and shortly after I joined I was already participating in meetings with customers and presenting new solutions that we immediately implemented together.
I always thought that big corporations must be rigid and slow when it comes to daily processes and changes just take way too long to happen. I was happy to discover, that not only can I improve ways of doing things as a trainee, but I am also encouraged to do so. If you see a gap that you know how to fill, your supervisors are happy to support and sponsor your own projects.
If I had to briefly describe my experience with P&G, I would say that I felt trusted, appreciated and had an opportunity to learn and do.
Process engineer on making syndets granules
Despite I studied drugs production in ICT Prague, I connected my first professional steps with P&G dealing with consumer goods. I work as a process engineer in washing powders making in Rakona. I am responsible for powder admix area where I try to stabilize and improve the process every day.
What did you have to accomplish to get the current job?
During the last year at university I passed TechChallenge workshop organized by Rakona. The entering criterion was web assessment center. During the workshop I was tested by a logical test and team case study concerning with an issue in Rakona operation. Because I was very interested by the workshop, I agreed with the company on another open competition for an internship. I passed the interviews with three Rakona managers. I celebrated the acceptance to the company the same day. The whole open competition was interesting experience because I was tested more about personal features, goals and ways of deciding than academic knowledge. What I was personally interested about is that the whole process was very professional, decision about acceptance or not acceptance was not random but based on a detailed examination of candidate.
After three month of very interesting work during the internship we found common conformity with my manager for the future cooperation so as the last step of my acceptance I passed an interview with Rakona manager.
How does your typical work day look like?
Who has an experience with production knows that the work is very variable. Because of the variability is very difficult to define the typical work day. My responsibility is final mixing of the powder because I try the production to work based on the needs by all all available means. Because of constantly growing needs I try to improve the whole systém. During the work I spend most of the time on-the-floor to understand the processes in the area. If it is not sufficient, I get the informations from other colleagues in the department or I communicate with other people from different plants all over the world.
What do you consider as the best achievement during the time employed in the company?
Despite I work in the company only for 9 months, I contributed step-by-step to improve the reliability in the operation. For my future career it is very important to be able to adapt to work environment and company commitment what helps me to deliver the results every day. Except for short-term actions what I solve every day I am responsible for a long term project. In the project scope I try to reduce the minimum batch of powder produced what helps to reduce our inventory. Project is far from over but current results show significant improvement compared to current conditions.
How do you like the environment where you work? Would you improve or change something?
Work environment was practically the main reason why I have chosen P&G. The company is very dynamic and offers the possibility of career and personal growth to me. It uses highly-developed education system when the goal is to develop not only technical but manager skills as well. It is usual that some of the trainings are situated out of the boundaries of Czech republic. Then you can directly compare yourself with other people on the same work positions all over the world. I am so lucky that Rakona is one of the absolute top in P&G. Thanks this I have an opportunity to cooperate with a real professionals.
Do you see the space for your career growth in the company?
Company strategy is to hire the people who have a potential to became top managers. So when you prove your qualities you can reach really big things. P&G offers the employees to try various positions from logistics to production and development from the first time that is why every person can during the time choose his own right way. Process engineer is ideal starting positions for me and I already look forward my next roles and growth in P&G.
HR capability and governmental relations manager
Work in P&G enables me to get new experiences from broad spectrum of skills from very different branches every day. During my work for the company I obtained knowledge from mechanical engineering and I learned also manual mechanical skills. Compared to that the same company enabled me to fully develop my English language knowledge and I also get a knowledge from human resources (HR) branch and leadership experience. This work diversity constantly offers the possibilities for personal growth to me and set my future career goals.
How did you find Procter & Gamble?
I heard about Procter & Gamble during my studies in ICT Prague for the first time. With regard to my studying in Department of Dairy, Fat and Cosmetics the Procter & Gamble company with its Rakona production plant (producing as well cosmetics products) was one of the main possibilities where to start the career after study finishing. First „live“ contact with the company I get during my last year of studies during the excursion to this company. Decisive moment for application to process engineer role in the company was Women Engineering Day, where I had a possibility to find out detailed information about the employment in the company.
How do you remember your career start here?
I like to remember my start in the company. I started as a summer intern in department producing the washing powders. Until now I keep in vivid memory as I (as a very fresh engineer – I started work in the company just one day after the graduation) stood with my manager in front of 3-floor cooler of washing powder what I was expected to optimise. Regarding to my only experience with 50cm laboratory cooler the project was a big challenge for me. Thanks the great leadership and cooperation with the whole department I was successful.
Much more bigger challenge was the first full-time work in the company for me as a process engineer in Dish packing department. From the first day in the role I was sure I will not succeed without the knowledge of mechanical engineering. The company training program focused on detailed study of machine components helped me very much in a theoretical sphere. But irreplaceable was practical experience when I participated the machines mechanical maintenance with line operators. Thanks their patience I fully understand the base of all line machines function and in case of need I was able to change myself in able repairman. All of this in approximately 6 months in the role (what is remarkable when I take into account that I did not know what is the allen imbus key who are all the people around me talking about).
Where do you work now? How your professional life developed?
This June it will be 3 years from my boarding to Procter & Gamble. My first role was the mentioned internship what took 3 months and finished by presentation of the project. It helped me to be accepted to full-time employment.
The process engineer role followed for next less than 2 years. This role brought the biggest change to my entire life. In professional area I learnt so many new things from areas what I absolutely did not know yet. Thanks a foreign colleague I significantly improved my english in the role and after short while I was able to fluently communicate and practise it during my business trips abroad. Last but not least I made a huge progress in my communication skills and people management. But this role was connected as well with changes in my personal life. Just after boarding the company I used the accommodation employee benefit and I moved to Rakovnik. I found many new friends within other employees and I place some of them to the best ones. The most important is I met here my current husband and this month we will celebrate half a year from the wedding day.
My third (current) role was again a big change. I moved from production to human resources (HR) department. This role is diametrically different from the previous roles. I fully use my organization skills during our company event organization daily. The biggest development happened with my communication skills in theoretical and practical sphere because I am responsible for communication with external subjects here. Thanks the personal approach of my manager I was enabled to get all the knowledge from HR area so I can show off my development as well in this area.