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NICOLE CHAN
BEng Energy Science and Engineering
Nicole Chan, Production Graduate, from Hong Kong
First rotation: Food Safety and Quality department in Randers, Denmark

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

Being a fresh graduate, I was not sure what I want to pursue career-wise. I wanted to explore where my strength lies before planning my career path. So, I thought joining a graduate programme is the most sensible thing to do. With the different rotations, I wish to find out what I like to work with in the future, while acquiring more knowledge in different areas. In Danish Crown, you get a lot of support as a graduate, and I think that is a great way to kick-start a career!

I always wanted to work with sustainability. In the food production industry, especially for meat, it is difficult to set ambitious goals for sustainability. Hence, Danish crown is in an important position, as a leader in the industry, to show the world that it is possible to produce food sustainably. Danish Crown is heading towards the right direction, and I would be honoured to be part of the journey.

Your background: BEng Energy Science and Engineering in the City University of Hong Kong.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I always start my day with some nice podcasts on the bus ride to the office, followed by a piece of fruit from the canteen. Then I am ready to tackle whatever task coming my way! I am sitting at the Food Safety and Quality department. We work with a lot of procedures, standards, certifications, audits, complaints, declarations, and so on. For myself, I mainly work with my projects. Responsibilities of mine include project planning, arranging meetings, data analyzing, etc. There is always something to work with in this department. So, when I am not working on the projects, I work on some smaller tasks from my colleagues.

What is the best project or task you have worked with so far?

Before the new organizational change, there are 2 food safety departments, each handling similar things but for different parts of the production. Now after the change, they are working closer than ever. However, the 2 departments are still using different quality management systems (QMS), because these systems are deeply implemented from head office down to the factories. A project that I am working on is to find a new common QMS for the whole organization in the future, it is a very big project. Being a newcomer in the company, I need to learn everything that is in the systems now. It is a very good way to learn more about the company, and I get to talk to a lot of different people from different department!

What skills make a good Danish Crown graduate?

The ability to learn quick. You do not get much time in one rotation. To be able to start presenting something useful to the company, you need to learn quick. If you cannot handle a steep learning curve, you might not have as good an experience in the graduate programme. Also, it helps to be inquisitive, ask questions when you don’t understand things. I entered a department with a lot of experts, they talk in technical terms every day. It is important to be able to ask the right questions to facilitate your own learning.

What was it like being a new employee at Danish Crown?

For me, it started out a bit slow, but it was a good pace because everything was new. Nonetheless, I felt very welcomed and well taken care of. It is because of:

  1. Onboarding days with other graduates was very nice. It gave us a brief overview of the company and helped us familiarize with each other. A good foundation was created, to build a stronger bond in the future.
  2. There was a very detailed onboarding plan from my department, I get to meet every colleague in the department and visit some factories.

How do you experience the community among you fellow graduates?

I really like the community of the graduates; everyone is super helpful. It is very nice to have each other, because they understand what it is like being in the graduate programme. It also put me at a great starting point; it is great to already have some connections that are in different departments. We have catch ups regularly and we talk about everything (mainly work), I think it is very nice to know that you are not the only one experiencing certain things.

How was it to move to Denmark?

Denmark is not the easiest country to move to, I had to be very patient with things. But Danish Crown provided a lot of support and HR helped me out a lot. That made the process slightly easier. Most people in Denmark speak very good English, it is not that difficult to ask for help for internationals. However, a lot of things are written in Danish (including official documents), so be ready to translate a lot of things. I would say Denmark is very comfortable to live in. The weather can be weird sometimes, but still very mild.

What is the best thing about working/being a graduate at Danish Crown?

All the new experiences! Everything is new to me here: the industry, the culture, the language, the field of work. I love a challenge and I think I have been given the challenge I needed. It is a very stimulating experience to start my career in such a different environment from what I was used to. Although things are new and challenging, I am getting through it smoothly because I have very good support from colleagues, fellow graduates, and friends! It is truly an experience where I would look back and think “I’m glad I did it.”

Tell us something that others might not know about you?

but I used to be a competitive Scrabble player. I would practice it every day after school and participated in numerous competitions in Hong Kong. In competitions, it is always a timed, 2-player game. I recited all 107 acceptable 2-letter words in the Scrabble Dictionary; and had an average score of about 400 per game (I don’t usually tell people about it because it sounds very nerdy). Fun fact, “EUOUAE” (a type of medieval music) is a valid word for Scrabble in case you have a whole rack of vowels.

Natalia Pelaez Nieto
Master in Food Biotechnology
Natalia Pelaez Nieto, Production Graduate, from Spain.
First rotation: Danish Crown Operations in Horsens, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

I was looking for an opportunity that could fast pace my career. This graduate programme offered 3 positions in 2 years with ambitious projects and personalized follow up! Furthermore, the opportunity of learning from other cultures due to the different rotations in different countries was specially appealing to not only grow professionally, but also personally.

An additional challenge was the sustainability in the meat industry area where Danish Crown is leader due to its constant focus. If you want to change the world, you have to do it from the inside. Danish Crown is already now, 2 months after starting, giving me the opportunity to work in the sustainability area, imagine a whole organization working with sustainability as a goal!

Your background:

I am Spanish, outgoing, curious and driven. I studied my Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Technology in the Autonomous University of Madrid. During this period, I found my passion for innovation, which led me to move to The Netherlands for my Master’s in Food Biotechnology. After 2 intense (and very fun) years in Wageningen University and Research, I decided I needed a new experience in order to keep learning. Denmark, where I am currently doing my first rotation for Danish Crown, is being an amazing experience so far and clearly surpassed my expectations.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I am currently in Horsens, Denmark, in the biggest pork meat production plant. There is no such thing as a “typical day” for me here. I am part of the management team, and I have relevant projects in the engineering, finance and lean management areas, but I also get to learn a lot about production, IT and food safety among others. There are some standard meetings that I go to everyday about the status of production, maintenance and how are the projects I am working in running. These meetings often set up the base for new actions, which are the hands-on part of the day!

What is the best project or task you have worked with so far?

We are trying to improve the quality of new robots installed in the production lines, for this, a test is being conducted. It is exciting to see how, what started being a conflict of interests between the company manufacturer, the company provider, Danish Crown Horsens and Danish Crown Group, derived into the team we are right now. Communication is key, and the role of each person within the project is clear and contributes to better results, which is the ultimate goal for us all!

What skills make a good Danish Crown graduate?

I will have to say that I like each one of this year graduates so much. I think we all have common trades that help us connect in a higher level. I see a lot of creative people in our batch, that are not afraid to share their thoughts and that enjoy different perspectives on how to solve problems. I see the skill of analyzing tasks and other people ideas in a structured and open way, that, combined with the passion they show for their respective fields of study, makes activities with them enjoyable. I strongly believe that if you are ambitious, driven, open minded and hands on, you will be a good fit in the organization.

What was it like being a new employee at Danish Crown?

AMAZING.

I am Spanish. I moved to Denmark for the job. I realized everyone I was going to work with in the production plant was Danish, so I was wondering how this experience was going to start. Lucky me, when I met all these people that are willing to help each other and work as a team! They have been taking care of me, not only helping me with the onboard in the job, but also in a lot of personal aspects! My line manager does not hesitate to change a meeting of 40 Danish people to English for me to be able to understand, and people take it as a great chance to practice their language skills!

How do you experience the community among you fellow graduates?

I already consider us a team. We have seen that we can rely on each other, and it is always fun to be together.

It is remarkable how open to other cultures and ways of thinking we all are! Even all our Danish colleagues have been or are connected to other countries and cultural ways of thinking!

How was it to move to Denmark?

Challenging. It requires the right mindset as there is a vast amount of bureaucracy apart from the adaptation period. You have to be positive and excited about the change.

Personally, I did not know anyone in Denmark when I moved here. I am a social person, so I decided to move in a house with 3 other international students. I extended my social network when I got to know the Spanish community in Horsens. However, I discovered how much I liked the Danish culture after starting to work in Horsens.

From the professional perspective, my colleagues are open to share information, and even though there is hierarchical responsibility, the system is rather horizontal. Everyone, including the boss, tries to help each other for the common good. From the personal perspective, it is always fun with the colleagues, apart from small talk, we have activities together at least once a week.

Logistics and planning can be a bit complex of course. However, in my experience, totally worth it!

What is the best thing about working/being a graduate at Danish Crown?

The work. You do not have direct influence in where your first rotation is, so you often end up in a field that differs from what you have studied. I am gaining extended knowledge in areas I did not ever touch before. All of it from a manager's perspective. I am assigned to interesting projects where I have to learn from others performing relevant tasks interdisciplinary all over the production plant. I am contributing and I have the chance to generate value.

As my line manager says: “You have to learn as much as you can in 8 months”. He even jokes with me having to be able to run the place after the rotation! I will need a bit more of experience for that, however, the exponential learning curve is something undeniable! A gorgeous experience!

Tell us something that others might not know about you?

A random fun fact I can tell about myself is how much I “admire” microorganisms. It, of course, depends on which one, but they can show amazing behavior under different conditions. My Master's thesis was about genetically modifying yeasts to create more aromatic beers and during my internship I did other bacterial fermentations to purify functional foods.

Apart from the academic setting, my hobby for a long while was to ferment different raw materials. I turned my house into a fermentation laboratory sorted by raw materials (normally fruits from endemic trees in the surroundings) and fermentation types (mainly alcoholic, lactic did not work that well). The taste was not, in any case, the best, but I would describe it as interesting. I will have to keep practicing to find the ultimate recipe!

Tashia Regina Lundvig
Master in Economics and Management
Tashia Regina Lundvig, Business Graduate, from Denmark, half Danish and half South African.
First rotation: Danish Crown Beef - Marketing and Innovation in Holsted, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

I wanted to be a part of Danish Crown because of the meaningful purpose behind working at Danish Crown; putting food on the table, but not just in any kind of way. Putting food on the table in a sustainable way with focus on the climate and on animal welfare. I want to have an impact on the future of food and help solving the many interesting challenges we are facing at Danish Crown; Which new food trends do we see? What will future food consumption look like? How will the ratio of meat-eaters vs non-meat-eaters evolve over the next decade? How will we in the best way possible transition into climate neutral meat production?  

Besides this, I wanted an opportunity to get a better understanding of the complete value chain of Danish Crown; from farm to fork and from livestock to the consumer. As a graduate I get a unique opportunity to experience three different rotations, that will help me get a deeper understanding of Danish Crown.

Your background:

Master of Science in Economics and Management (cand.oecon) from Aarhus University.
I am 25 years old, half Danish and half South African. I currently live in Aarhus.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

In Marketing & Innovation, no day looks the same and it is a fast-moving environment. In this department, we create marketing material, we come up with new product ideas, new ways of further improving a product, adding more value to the product, and finding new ways of increasing product awareness (for example on TikTok, Danish Crown has reached more than 7 million views on a concept called Burger BOOST).

My tasks usually combine both data and marketing. Analyzing data is helping us to better navigate and make fact-based decisions. Having a fact-based approach to marketing and product development, is very appealing to me. My tasks usually include data analysis, coding, meetings with stakeholders both internal and external, preparing presentations, and creating marketing content.

What is the best project or task you have worked with so far?

I am currently working on creating a price simulator for one of our factories in Beef. It helps me get a better understanding of how complex the world of pricing meat products is. A lot of factors need to be considered when calculating the price of a final product (for example water usage, types of packaging, raw materials used, labour costs, time it takes to produce and so on). The project also involves getting to know SAP, a program that is very new to me. I love learning new skills and further educating myself, I am very fortunate to soon be attending a course in SAP Analytics Cloud, a tool that helps visualize data.

What skills make a good Danish Crown graduate?

Be curious, ask questions, listen, and observe.

Be humble and show respect. There is so much to learn, and we don’t have all the answers and we cannot be the best at everything. Recognize when something is your mistake and take ownership.

Be creative and think outside the box.

What was it like being a new employee at Danish Crown?

It has been great. My coworkers are very kind and welcoming. Actually, I got to meet my coworkers some time ahead of my first day, we went golfing; a new activity for all of us, we laughed a lot at how “talented” we were.

My first week at Danish Crown was spent with my fellow graduates in Vejle, so we could get to know each other. I was also given a clear onboarding plan for my first three weeks. I couldn’t have asked for a better start.

How do you experience the community among you fellow graduates?

My fellow graduates are amazing! We all come from different backgrounds both in terms of education and in terms of places we have lived. We all bring different perspectives to the table and I love the diversity. We have a monthly graduate meeting where we all catch-up. I am always looking forward to catching-up with my fellow graduates. We support and listen to each other. We can share experiences and advice with each other.

Besides the great community we have in the 2021 batch, there is also a great community amongst all previous batches of graduates. I can always come and ask for advice amongst the other batches of graduates. Everyone is very helpful and friendly.

What is the best thing about working/being a graduate at Danish Crown?

Definitely my coworkers, my fellow graduates and the variety of tasks.

I love the office spirit and the people around me; we can laugh, ask each other for guidance and advice. That is especially very helpful when being the new employee. I also love the projects I am working on; they give me a sense of having a higher purpose. I can actually see the work and thoughts I put into a project making a difference and I can see how my role fits with Danish Crown’s goals and that is extremely motivating.

Tell us something that others might not know about you?

In elementary school I once won a pi (π) competition. The task was to recite as many digits of pi as we could from memory. We had a day to remember as many digits as possible. I managed to recite 178 digits.

Eneko Cubillas
Master in Mechanical Engineering and Management.
Eneko Cubillas, Production Graduate, from Spain.
First rotation: Sokolow, R&D, Tarnów Plant & Podlaski, Poland.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

One of the key factors that attracted me the most is the importance and relevance that sustainability has in this industry, be it by slashing CO2 emissions or methane emissions, making sure that our products are fully traceable or the like... I wanted to be part of those changes and have an impact in how the industry is perceived however challenging the tasks would be.

You also get to experience a diverse set of locations through my rotation. As an example, my first rotation has been in Sokolow, Poland and for someone who is so used to travelling, I could not ask for much more than being able to do so for work. Finally, going from one department to another during those 2 years will, for sure, enable me to gain experience in fields that I might not have even thought off before.

Your background:  

Master’s in mechanical engineering and Management.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

The workday here at Tarnow, Poland (one of the Sokolow plants) usually starts at 7 am and you would finish around 3 pm. You can sometimes get in a bit earlier than that, so it is quite flexible. For the first half an hour, I usually check my emails and look up a few messages (if any) on Teams. After that, if needed be, I would do a tour on the production line. I am currently on the deboning process as this is where my task is going to take place.

I am also following a few courses on Data Science, specifically everything that concerns Machine Learning, Data Visualization and Deep Learning. I think it is a field which is already well established but that is also taking more and more relevance in any industry nowadays, so I would like to have some knowledge to contribute further down the road with those types of topics.

What is the best project or task you have worked with so far?

As I am only on my first rotation, I have, for the moment, only one project in mind which is the traceability issue that we have from the deboning section and upwards as well as another identification problem. I’ll try to be brief. Once the slaughter process has been done, the animal is divided into two half carcasses and these are then further reduced to, normally, 3 pieces which are easier to handle. From those pieces are where you obtain the sirloin, the entrecote, the ribs and so on. Each piece has a number assigned and sometimes the ones from 2 days prior and 1 day prior are on the deboning section and they have the same number, raising some conflict in the machinery (1st issue). Then, we would also like to be able to trace back the smallest pieces (sirloin, entrecote etc) to their original part as this would give an idea to the consumer where this animal is coming from as well as allow us, at the company, to make some calculations.

What skills make a good Danish Crown graduate?

One thing that you must have is patience as this is a big company, with a lot of stakeholders. You must be able to adapt quickly and learn things on the spot (I am sure that anyone can do that so no worries on this part).  You also need to be resilient meaning, that you shouldn’t hesitate to trust that you are doing the right thing and come back to your manager with feedback.

What was it like being a new employee at Danish Crown?

I really liked the first 3 days back at Vejle. We had an introduction with the other graduates, and we got to learn from the company. This allowed us to know each other and build a little community. We have each other’s back as we know that we started from the same point. Once I landed in Poland, people at Sokolow helped me out a lot.

How do you experience the community among you fellow graduates?

Personally, I think that we have a good bond. People are very kind and funny which makes our conversations flow with ease. There are a few of them who come from abroad just like me, so it makes it international, and everyone has a different experience. We generally use each other to share information and experiences and just to interact and have a good time.

If international candidate: How was it to move to Poland?

Having lived abroad my entire life, it was easy for me to move to Poland. As I always say, if someone would have told me that my first rotation would have been in Uzbekistan in the middle of nowhere, my response would have been the same: “OK”. I love discovering new cultures so it was perfect to see that I would be abroad from the get-go.

What is the best thing about working/being a graduate at Danish Crown?

The level of support that you have within the company is pretty much unlimited. HR in Denmark really care about how you are doing as well as the one in Poland. You have a network of graduates that you can reach out to if there is any question that arises. You have the ability to gain experience from a wide range of different departments which I do not think, you would be able to do in another company as you normally tend to specialize in a specific area.

Tell us something that others might not know about you?

Even though I am Spanish, I have only spent around 2 years in Spain. Poland is the 10th country that I live in.

I love sports and who knows if I could have been a professional footballer. Between 10 and 12, a recruiter from Athletic Bilbao (a professional football team) wanted me to do the tests to see if I could maybe join the academy. Without telling me anything, my parents refused.

Some years later, they told me about it, and I had the chance to do one training with one of the youth team (U15). After all, I did not get selected, but I got a taste of what training at the highest level is. I love the intensity but I also, now, understand the sacrifices to reach the highest level of football. Our coach was also one of the legends of the club so that really surprised me.

Goncalo Tavares
Master in International Business
Goncalo Tavares, Business Graduate, from Portugal.
First rotation: Commercial Finance, Financial Planning & Analysis in Randers, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

The funniest thing is that I had never heard of Danish Crown before coming across the online posting of the graduate programme. It seemed really exciting and interesting and so I started to do some digging. The opportunity to get to know different BUs and take on multiple roles and tasks throughout the two years of the programme was pivotal for me as I’m still in the process of uncovering what I would like to do for a career and in need of experiences to develop myself both personally and professionally.

The sustainability track that Danish Crown has embarked also contributed to my application, since it shows that the company truly has a commitment towards the environment and the people that inhabit it – us! Last but not least, the opportunity to move to Denmark and get to know the Danes and their culture was one that really enticed me from the beginning.

Your background:

22 years old from Porto, Portugal

BSc in Economics from the University of Porto, Portugal

MSc in International Business from the University of Liverpool, UK

What does a typical workday look like for you?

My first rotation is in Commercial Finance under the new Danish Crown organization. These first few months have been extremely busy due to the integration of the former Pork and Foods business units. My project consists identifying the main business drivers and then trying to translate them into a financial model that can be used to get insights on the overall performance of the business and do some scenario-analysis. Thus, I’ve been having meetings and discussions with people from different sides of the business, from Sales and Marketing to Supply Chain and Operations.

I feel lucky to be having this amount of exposure to the overall business so early on, particularly in a company as big and diverse as Danish Crown. On top of the that I’m sometimes involved in other projects and tasks, which have also been very helpful to get an understanding of how the Commercial Finance team works on a daily basis.

What is the best project or task you have worked with so far?

So far, I’ve been mostly working on the project I’ve been assigned for this rotation. As I’ve mentioned in the previous question, this project has offered me the opportunity to interact with people from different sides of the business and build an extensive internal network which will be tremendously helpful in the future, particularly when moving to other roles, as I will always have a sense of who I should fall back on for guidance and assistance. 

What skills make a good Danish Crown graduate?

I would say that being flexible (“light on your feet”) and curious are extremely valuable skills for a graduate. When starting the graduate programme, you’ll need to be ready to adapt to the project and tasks you’re given but also asking a lot of questions while doing so. Understanding your role within the organization (or team) will greatly help you in framing everything you do and comprehending what is expected of you.

What was it like being a new employee at Danish Crown?

At first, I was a little bit worried that not speaking Danish would be a hindrance to my integration into the team and company. However, having both an international manager and team buddy has really helped me in settling into my work. Also, there’s no kind of resistance to speaking English in the office which really helps in making me feel part of the team, even though I’ve only started around two months ago. The office culture is extremely supportive, with everyone actively cooperating to achieving collective success in all projects and tasks.  

How do you experience the community among you fellow graduates?

Ever since the onboarding days in September we’ve developed very good relationships and built a strong support network. We know we can rely on each other and are open to share our experiences and different perspectives on things. The fact that our graduate batch is more diverse than in previous years (5/9 internationals) has also, in my view, contributed to this sharing as everyone is eager to get to know one another.    

How was it to move to Denmark?

Moving to Denmark was a smooth process. My family was with me for the first few weeks to help me get settled so I think that contributed to a sense of ease. In addition, I had the help of Danish Crown’s mobility consultant and also an external consultant hired to help me get my CPR and my health insurance certificate.  

What is the best thing about working/being a graduate at Danish Crown?

The transformation journey the company is on. With so much going on, as a graduate you feel that you can have an impact on how the company will look and operate in the near future.

Tell us something that others might not know about you?

It might be silly but one of the proudest achievements in my life is having won a tennis match at national-level tournament back home in Portugal. The funny part was seeing my name in the national rankings, even if at the lower end. I had played tennis when I was young but only returned to it once I got into university. I quickly realized that the learning curve was quite steep if you want to achieve a certain performance level and I must say I got absorbed in the sport for the best part of three years.

 

Laura Søndergaard Dam
Bachelor of Global Business Engineering
Laura Søndergaard Dam, Production Graduate, from Denmark.
First rotation: Danish Crown Operations in Blans, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

The Graduate Programme is a unique opportunity to get a look into the “big machine”, that is the Danish Crown Group. I saw it as an opportunity to familiarize myself with large parts of the business within a relatively small timeframe, and network across the business early on.

One of the premises for the three rotations, is that you are placed within different business functions/sites, and I saw that as a big plus.

There is no denying the many layers of the organization in Danish Crown, and I think having the broad perspective and ‘bottom-up’ view is going to be an important learning on my future journey within Danish Crown. Not having a fixed job-description from the start opens for a lot of possibilities that I might not have considered beforehand, and I see that as a luxury.

Your background:

I have a degree as Bachelor of Global Business Engineering from Aalborg University. Before attending University, I did a voluntary internship with a German production company and lived in Dortmund for 6 months.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

On my current rotation I sit with the technical department, who are in charge of factory maintenance. We start of the morning with a small meeting, catching up on both the performance from the day before and the performance of the start-up for our department.
I then also participate in the morning meeting for all factory departments, where the department managers present their numbers to the Senior Director and actions are planned if necessary.
I then proceed with working on my projects, which can require anything from meeting scheduling, follow-ups and presentation planning, to project planning, data analyses and on-the-floor activities.

What is the best project or task you have worked with so far?

I have been put in charge of the local implementation of a new OEE system, which is still in its early stages. It has given me the chance to put my project management skills to the test, including a lot of stakeholder management and planning. It allows me to work with both local co-workers but also the Optima team and colleagues from other factory sites which is very exciting.

What skills make a good Danish Crown graduate?

Openness and curiosity are very good qualities to have. Furthermore, I think it is important to be openminded and you must be able to adjust and adapt. Nothing is set in stone, so you should be able to thrive in a changing environment and take charge of your own assignments.

What was it like being a new employee at Danish Crown?

Slightly scary but also very rewarding. All beginnings can be hard, but I think more than anything this beginning has been exciting and developing. There are lots of unknowns when starting in a new company, especially when you start as a graduate and don’t have a fixed job-description, but I see that as part of the charm. I feel like I belong and is part of the Danish Crown family already.

How do you experience the community among your fellow graduates?

We have a great community, and there has been a lot of focus on getting to know one another which is highly rewarding. It gives a sense of ‘togetherness’ and there’s lots of help and feedback. There’s a good balance between work-related talks and getting to know each other as individuals on a personal level.

What is the best thing about working/being a graduate at Danish Crown?

Everyone has been very friendly and curious, both locally, centrally and within the Graduate Community. It has made me feel very welcome and I’m super excited to see where this journey as a graduate will take me. I’m being challenged professionally in the best way, and I get to show what I can contribute.

Tell us something that others might not know about you?

I enjoy baking quite a lot, which my co-workers in Blans have already experienced firsthand. It allows me to take any concerns or worries off my mind and gives me a chance to disconnect and reset. I am a bit of a perfectionist so I won’t say it can’t be stressful, but when baking I really commit and engage, so it allows me to clear my mind of anything else. And usually it tastes pretty great, which is a bonus.

Christian Hald Bargholz
Master in Global Business
Christian Hald Bargholz, Business Graduate, from Denmark.
First rotation: Danish Crown Beef - Strategy & Business development in Holsted, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

First, I applied for the graduate programme because I have lived abroad for almost 20 years, and always wanted to come home and work for a global Danish company, where I could combine my international experience with my Danish roots. I think it is safe to say Danish Crown is one of the most global companies there are!

Furthermore, I wanted to start my career in the fast lane, where I would be challenged personally and professionally. The fact that you get to try three different rotations before starting your final job really spoke to me, as you get a much greater understanding of the business and can gain so much valuable experience.

Finally, I really liked the focus Danish Crown has on sustainability and being part of a business that delivers something so critical as food to people around the world.

Your background: 29 years old, Master in Global Business, from Copenhagen Denmark. First rotation in Beef, Holsted

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Generally, I start my day by grabbing a cup of coffee and checking my email. Then I usually have a meeting or some work to do at my desk. After that, honestly, no day is the same. Here in Beef, it is a very fast paced environment, and as such there is always something new going on or coming my way. Some days I am out visiting a production plant, some days we are at a workshop, and some days I am at my desk making a PowerPoint presentation. There definitely isn’t any time to be bored!

What is the best project or task you have worked with so far?

The great thing about being in the business strategy and development team, is that you are involved with a little bit of everything. Currently I am working on projects ranging from customer satisfaction, product development and alternative forms of meat.

The coolest thing I got to try so far was help prepare and attend the so called ‘Beef Forum’, where the directors meet with the owners, and tell them how we are doing as well as answer any questions or concerns they might have. This really gave me invaluable insight into who the people we work for are, and what they expect from us.

What skills make a good Danish Crown graduate?

Danish Crown is currently moving at a fast pace, and really transforming. I think one of the skills you need is the ability to adapt, think on your feet and innovate. As long as you do well under pressure, and don’t mind things moving fast around you, you will be successful as a graduate in Danish Crown.

Secondly it is important to mention that there is a big ‘Us’ culture, and as such you have to be able to be a team player who can work toward a common goal, and not just focus on your personal success. We are in this together, and we will succeed together.

What was it like being a new employee at Danish Crown?

I had a great start in Danish Crown. Of course, there were many first impressions and new things to get used to, however my manager and Danish Crown had done everything they could to make me feel welcome. On my first day I had breakfast with my team, and this was a great way to break the ice and ease into getting started. Everything seems well organized, and you can tell how highly they value the graduates here and want us to succeed. Overall, it went pretty smooth and before I knew it my first month had already passed.

How do you experience the community among you fellow graduates?

The community is great, and it is such a great part of the programme. We get along really well, and it’s priceless to have both current graduates who are experiencing the same as you are, but also previous graduates who can help answer any questions or give out tips. We have a whatsapp group to stay in touch daily, and make sure to meet at least once a month to talk and share our experiences, both professionally but also personally. Being a graduate is quite unique and it’s great to have others with you on this journey.

What is the best thing about working/being a graduate at Danish Crown?

The people and support we get. Every graduate has a graduate buddy, a buddy from your department, a line manager and a mentor who is someone at a high position in the company. There is never a question you can’t get answered, and especially having a mentor who gives you 2 years of guidance and one to one mentoring is a huge benefit. Even though there are high expectations, and a lot of pressure to do well, Danish Crown has created a support network that sets you up for success.

Tell us something that others might not know about you?

When I lived in South Korea, I featured on several TV shows and YouTube channels. One time I was on one of the biggest shows in South Korea, on national television, where my friends from home got to visit South Korea and experience it for the first time. So now we are on (Korean) Netflix!

Anne Grete Uldal Krejberg
Master in Business Economics and Spanish
Anne Grete Uldal Krejberg, Business Graduate, Denmark.
First rotation: Business Development, Group Procurement in Randers, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

I applied for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme because of the international outlook as well as the big ambition of driving change and striving for improvement every day. Having lived abroad several times and studied a combination of economics and Spanish I’ve always wanted to work in an international environment with the possibility of going abroad. Furthermore, my studies have had a very broad perspective and I wasn’t exactly sure what area I wanted to work within thus making the rotation setup of this programme very relevant for me.

The 3 rotations allow me to get insight in very different aspect of the business and conducting a lot of different tasks while creating a professional network. Another key aspect is that the programme is providing a lot of training and hands-on ensuring a steep learning curve. As I like to challenge and develop myself, I figured that this approach was a big opportunity for both professional and personal development.

Lastly, the size of the company makes it a very big player on the global market which allows us to have a huge impact within the food sector but also more in general considering how we produce and consume as well as within the sustainability agenda.

Your background:

I’m 28 years old (29 coming up soon) and I grew up at an organic cattle farm placed just outside of a small town called Mejlby in Himmerland. I’ve done my master’s in business economics and Spanish at Aarhus University which to many seems like a funny combination. My interest in Spanish was founded when living in South America at 16 years old and I’ve been there several times since then e.g., during my internship while doing my master’s. In my opinion, by studying these two topics, I’ve created an international business profile with a great toolbox consisting of methodologies from two very different areas which I find a huge advantage.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

My first rotation is within the Business Development Team in Group Procurement. It’s a rather new department since it’s only been here for 4 years making it an interesting place to be. The environment is fast-paced and filled with good energy and high ambitions. I’m involved in a vide variety of projects and tasks which means that I never have two days that look alike. I’m grateful that my team is comfortable enough to include me in a lot of different activities and I just try to keep up learning a lot while doing it.

I normally begin my day at 7. I like waking up early and prefer to have my mornings longer than my afternoons. The flexibility in my office is a huge advantage that lets us choose working hours, location (office or home) and now even free choice of desk with our flexible seating in the office.

What is the best project or task you have worked with so far?

I’m currently involved in a project regarding our number of vendors. It started out as a small project where I was the only one involved from our part and now it has evolved to a project that works across different functions and departments in the organization. It’s really challenging, and the learning curve is steep, but it provides me with a lot of learnings both within procurement but also within project management.

What skills make a good Danish Crown graduate?

As a graduate in Danish Crown, I believe you need to be rather agile and prepared for change. You can prepare for the rotations, but I also believe that you need to be agile in your day-to-day work to provide the best solution possible. The culture here is, in my opinion, very focused on “doing” and moving forward so I think it’s important not to be afraid to try. In relation with that I would advise to just keep an open-mind and say yes to whatever goes in your direction – it’s all an opportunity to learn and develop your skills. Lastly, I think it’s important to be aware of the significance of network so be active and take advantage of the possibility to get to know a lot of people across the organization during the programme.

What was it like being a new employee at Danish Crown?

I still consider myself being a new employee. That being said, I’ve felt welcome and very well received at all times. Everyone has been so friendly and what really amazes me is that everyone is so eager to always help which has been helpful being new and having 100 new questions each day.

We had a good graduate introduction for 3 days where I got to meet the other graduates for the first time allowing us to get to know each other better. Afterwards, my department had planned an introduction program for me where I got to meet all my colleagues individually hearing about what they worked with which gave me good insight to the business and the specific work in the department.

How do you experience the community among you fellow graduates?

I feel like we have a very good and beneficial community. We started communicating in a WhatsApp group several months before we started our first rotations which was nice since none of us had the chance to meet in person during the hiring process. We keep that group going and communicate internally several times a week. Furthermore, we’re having monthly catch-up meetings where we spend a couple of hours talking about how everything is going in our rotations, if we experience any challenges and just a lot of small talk and good laughs. It’s nice to have a community with other people on the same journey and we are having so much fun in the process. It’s a great supportive network to be part of.

What is the best thing about working/being a graduate at Danish Crown?

I really appreciate the focus on empowering, challenging and developing the employees in the company. I like that there’s big opportunities for evolving and improving your own skills both professionally and personally. Furthermore, I like the eagerness to move forward, the willingness to make a change and always improve and do better. I think there comes great responsibility with being a big company and Danish Crown doesn’t seem afraid at all to embrace that and try to influence the world of tomorrow.

Additionally, I grew up in a family of farmers. My father is currently a farmer as well as my uncle and both my grandparents were farmers before that. I find it quite extraordinary working for a company owned by the farmers – the setup is so different compared to many other companies – and I take big pride in representing this community which has had such a great impact on the danish society and economy during so many years.

Tell us something that others might not know about you?

I’m highly competitive and I’m awkwardly aware of it meaning that I’ll always apologize to the people around me before entering something remotely related to what could be a competition. That being said, competition is really motivating to me and I’ve always done a lot of sports to emphasize this e.g., football, handball, gymnastics and CrossFit. Sport is my favorite go to in my spare time and I try to do some kind each day.

On a side note, I dream about travelling around the world one day – let’s see if it’ll come true.

Bator Patonai
Master in International Business and Politics
Bator Patonai, Business Graduate, from Hungary.
First rotation: Danish Crown Categories, Marketing in Randers, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

First and foremost, the composition of the program. A leadership and management development program, with exposure to all levels of the organisation, built with the intention to give you a holistic view of the business. Your 3 rotations will be in different functions, areas, and you will have the opportunity to clarify what are the areas that interest you, but also the areas that might not be engaging for your career.

Second, the challenge. This is both true from the industry and personal perspective. The industry and consequently Danish Crown face a lot of scrutiny on many issues, but the fact is, the company is making big steps to challenge these preconceptions and the naysayers. This strong intention to make a difference in food production, let it be animal welfare concerns, carbon emissions, or any other issue makes it highly interesting to work here. Also, with the rotations, the almost certain exposure to areas that you are not familiar with elevates the degree of complexity and challenge around the program, so one has to prepare to handle this.

Your background:

I started my education in ‘classic’ economics, but quickly realised that I wanted to build a comprehensive profile and cater to my interests in a broader range of social sciences. So, after finishing my BA at Corvinus University of Budapest, I went on to pursue a master’s degree at Copenhagen Business School, where I studied MSc in International Business and Politics. I also used the great network of the Business School to spend a semester in the USA majoring in Marketing and Strategy subjects at the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

My typical workday is not significantly different from what you would expect. As a business graduate, I spend most of my time in the office working with a set of projects. It can include coordination of tasks, talking and meeting with colleagues and external stakeholders, and a certain amount of desk research. There is a relatively formal meeting culture at Danish Crown, so expect to spend some time on MS Teams and in meeting rooms.

What is the best project or task you have worked with so far?

The most interesting project I participated in is the production of an upcoming TVC (television commercial). Due to the confidential nature of the project, I cannot share details, but it was fascinating to see how business strategy and artistic creation come together. Apart from that and among others, I am working with innovation ideas and creating the basis for a quite substantial idea screening test, a first step in market research process for new products.

What skills make a good Danish Crown graduate?

It is difficult to answer in a way that is uniform, as every rotation, every business function, and every line-manager is different in some ways. However, I find it particularly relevant if you have a specialised skillset in a particular area. The Graduate Program is about measuring up your possibilities and interests, but it is valuable if you have a sense of direction before entering the program. Besides that, I found the following particularly relevant: adaptability, timeliness, conflict-resolution, stress-management, planning skills, and the ability to speak up.

What was it like being a new employee at Danish Crown?

Every start has its difficulties. Me being an international, and starting my employment in Denmark was not easy, despite completing my full master’s Programme in Copenhagen. A big shift towards being more international is happening at Danish Crown, but even though it is a process and a big change, everybody is really welcoming without exception, so you will feel accepted in the team rather quickly.

How do you experience the community among your fellow graduates?

It is a great community that is in the making at Danish Crown, the network of Graduates is growing, and you can really feel being connected with all of them since you share similar experiences, let it be difficulty, or success. A group of likeminded individuals from different backgrounds, it is a really interesting and engaging combination of being similar to, yet very different from the others. One thing to keep in mind, the Graduate Network might be your single best source of information when starting your career as a Graduate at Danish Crown, so do not hesitate to reach out to them.

How was it to move to Denmark?

It’s always difficult to move to another country. I recommend familiarising yourself with the must have official documents, the way to obtain them, and research the housing market and the transportation options that you would prefer. A good idea to consider can be to arrive 1-2 months earlier than the start of the program, so that you can frontload your personal dealings and you do not have to tackle both bureaucracy and your start at a new (and challenging) job at the same time.

What is the best thing about working/being a graduate at Danish Crown?

One of the best things about being a graduate is that you have some sort of a special status in the company that creates a very interesting work environment. The Graduate Programme is central to Danish Crown, as such it is highly motivating to feel and see that Senior Management is interested in your performance, and professional advancement.

Tell us something that others might not know about you?

I play Folk Music as a semi-professional; I have travelled around Europe and outside of it to play with my brothers, I have been on national television, I have produced my own recording album, and at one point, I shared the stage with Csík Zenekar, a famous Hungarian folk-pop crossover ensemble, in front of 5000 people.