Claudia Stoecker first heard about Arla Foods during her CEMS Master’s in International Management degree at the University of Sydney in Australia. Arla Foods is a CEMS corporate partner, so Claudia was instantly aware of the company’s strong international focus. At the same time, it awakened her interest in the Arla F15® Graduate Programme.
“I really liked the idea. Arla picks 15 candidates a year for a two-year programme, comprising three eight-month rotations in different departments. It means you try a lot of things and don’t have to decide your career direction from the start,” she says.
The F15 application process turned out to be a positive experience. Claudia enjoyed the open, friendly and well-organised approach. She joined the programme in 2012.
Out of the comfort zone
After the first eight-month rotation for Arla in Germany, she found herself heading for the permeate and lactose business area at Arla Foods Ingredients in Denmark.
“Working with permeate and lactose took me out of my comfort zone. But it’s an exciting business to be in with much growth, change and innovation,” she says.
The open, down-to-earth culture at Arla Foods Ingredients was an extra bonus.
“It was just very welcoming. People were always making sure I was OK living in a foreign country,” says Claudia, who comes from Germany but has spent most of her life overseas – a background that has given her strong language skills in German, English, Italian, French and Japanese.
Strong new network
The third rotation period was in Arla’s global procurement department. But, before that ended, Claudia’s new Arla Foods Ingredients network came up trumps and offered her a permanent position as business development manager, which is where she works now.
As part of the business development team, her role is to develop and plan projects that can bring the company towards its strategic goals. It’s a fast-paced job where each new project involves a steep learning curve.
At the age of 26, Claudia can see a world of potential career paths before her.
“I would really like to continue working internationally,” she says. “Eventually, I would like to narrow my working area down and become more of an expert. There are opportunities for that here.”