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Manolis Psomas
Industrial Engineering and Management
Manolis Psomas, 26 years old, from Thessaloniki, Greece.
First rotation: DAT-Schaub in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

- Because I want to explore diverse areas and have a steep learning curve. And I think I will have, because of the several challenges we will encounter and the different people we will meet. You can start in one company, in one country, within a function and then go to another country to another company within an entirely new function. I hope I can learn enough and one day take a leading position in the company – maybe as a manager.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

- I start working on my tasks and then have meetings with stakeholders in order to align, evaluate the progress and decide next steps. The nature of the projects requires regular collaboration and inputs from many people in the business which gives insights from several departments.

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

- It is the analyses that I’ve been conducting around our business, the market, the value chain and the competition. It helps to understand the industry, what are the opportunities and the pain points. It also brings you into contact with various stakeholders, making it a good start before continuing with other projects.

What was it like to be a new employee at Danish Crown?

- Danish Crown is a big Group and it takes some time to understand its various activities in the beginning. It's very challenging to realize how many products there are and the factors that affect the business internationally. You might think it´s simple, because you know it´s meat and food – everybody knows about it. But it actually takes some time to figure out how everything begins and that it does not just end up on a plate but also in another million different applications.
- On a personal level, I've had a very smooth integration. People are very open, and so are the doors. I can always get an answer to my questions.

Tell us something that others might not know about you.

- There are tons of completely irrelevant things I can tell you about myself, but not many people know that I used to be a leader in a summer camp for little kids. I had my own team of kids of different ages and backgrounds and we did sports, theatre, treasure hunts and so on. I find it very interesting to work with kids, to try to make some sense of what they say and what they do, and to teach them how to take care of themselves, show respect to others, collaborate and think as a team.

Emil Ernstsen
Technology Based Business Development
Emil Ernstsen, 28 years old, from Odder, Denmark.
First rotation: Danish Crown Beef in Holsted, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

- During my studies, I saw first-hand how they make ice cream in India, and that was… Well you don't want to know. It made me start thinking that I never really questioned the food I bought. How is it produced, and what efforts are put into the safety? In Denmark we’re good at making safe food and producing something we can sell to other countries, which is how Danish Crown caught my attention. I applied to the Graduate Programme because of my aspirations to be leader, and I feel that the opportunities to work in several different business units incl. one abroad will help me get there.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

- I'm in the sales department, where I work with Master Data and Sustainable packaging. Currently, I'm collaborating closely with a colleague on the development of a Dashboard, that is supposed to make it easy to measure sales performance and get key insights about the business. At the moment there’s a lot of room for improvement, but the great thing is that people are really openminded towards listening to my ideas.

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

- It's the Dashboard project that I currently work on. The work involves the entire organization, and there’s a lot of stakeholders that must be consulted. As an engineer I love to work with the improvement of systems, so this is a perfect task for me. Furthermore, it also provides me with important insight into the business processes, which is priceless for a new employee like myself.

What was it like to be a new employee at Danish Crown?

- I've had a very good start at Danish Crown. My line manager scheduled a lot of activities for me to get familiar with the business and all the people. I met with people from marketing and procurement and so on. That has really helped me to understand all the functions of the business.

Tell us something that others might not know about you.

- The first thing I do each morning is to say good morning to my colleagues and then empty all the baskets with bananas and put the bananas on my own table. No one eats them but me. And what can I say? I really like bananas. I actually just got an email from my colleagues in Holsted with a picture of all the bananas that nobody has eaten with the text: “Your friends miss you, please come back”.

Simon Husted
International Business
Simon Husted, 27 years old, from Skive, Denmark.
First rotation: Tulip Food Company, Randers, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

- I hope the Graduate Programme can support my understanding of the business and help me to gain some tools I can use in a higher position in my career, where I will hopefully try myself as a leader. I also want to work in a multinational company and so I think it’s inspiring that we’re going abroad for at least one rotation. I can see myself working abroad for a longer period of time in the future.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

- I do a lot of analyses – the dirty work of a project. It can be market analyses or consumer analyses. But I also have meetings with the stakeholders in the different projects that I'm a part of.

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

- It's a project where we’re sharing a commercial strategy of Tulip Denmark across the fresh and the process categories. Recently I have been taking the role of project leader because the original one has gone on paternity leave. So right now, I'm heading the project, with much assistance, of course, from the project owners. It has been very exciting but also very challenging.  

What was it like to be a new employee at Danish Crown?

- It's been highly inspiring but also challenging. I've been met with great attitudes from all. I'm very satisfied with my start. I'm here to grow, and Danish Crown is a nice place to do that, and I can say that I have already grown.

Tell us something that others might not know about you.

- I like watching old TV series. I just saw Matador for the fourth time. I just started on Badehotellet. If I could be someone from that show it would definitely be Grosserer Madsen. He is a very eager entrepreneur who really wants to improve his business and innovate.

Johannes Zijlstra
Operations and Innovation Management
Johannes Zijlstra, 25 years old, from Vojens, Denmark.
First rotation: ESS-FOOD in Aalborg, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

- My parents have a small dairy farm, so I've always been into the whole agribusiness, and I've always heard a lot about Danish Crown. As an engineer, it's also very exciting to see what will happen in the food business in the future.  

What does a typical workday look like for you?

- There are no typical workdays at the moment. It's very project based. The project I'm working on now is based in South Africa, so I've been going there a lot.

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

- The biggest project so far is in South Africa. We have a subsidiary down there, a food distributer, that has some challenges with its inventory. My function is project manager, and I'm helping them to plan their purchases according to the sales to lower the inventory. I've been down there twice now for three weeks at a time. 

- It's very challenging with the different culture and people, but it's also really motivating to see the results of your work.

 

What was it like to be a new employee at Danish Crown?

- It's very pleasant. You meet people at an eye level, and you can talk to everybody. Maybe we get a bit of extra help because we are Graduates – I don't know. But everybody has been most welcoming.

- Us graduates also have a really good connection. We have a monthly Skype meeting and other social stuff. We spent the first week of the programme together and got to know each other, and we can talk and help each other because we have many of the same challenges. 

Tell us something that others might not know about you.

- I'm actually Dutch. Both my parents are from the Netherlands, and even though I was born and raised in Denmark, I don't have Danish citizenship. If I was to become a Dane, I would have to take a citizenship test.

Esben Myrup
International Business
Esben Myrup, 26 years old, from Skive, Denmark.
First rotation: Group Procurement Logistics in Randers, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

- I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated. I knew that I wanted to work in an internationally focused business and a business where I could be proud of what I'm doing. I really wanted to get an opportunity to get a sense of the working in different business units and departments. And with the rotation abroad, Danish Crown was just the perfect fit for me. 

What does a typical workday look like for you?

- I look at our logistical setup in and around Germany. At the moment, every business unit acts individually – nobody does it in cooperation with each other. So, my task is to see if there are any synergies or anything we can do differently if we work as one big group instead of several small business units. I have free room to come up with ideas for optimising our logistical setup. It has been an incredible challenge. From day one I've just tried to hold my head above the water while learning to swim. But, of course, I've had plenty of help.     

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

- My current project where I'm working on the logistical setup in Germany is a big project. It's also the only project I've worked on so far.

What was it like to be a new employee at Danish Crown?

- It's been a very supportive beginning. We have a line manager who really wants you to succeed, we have a mentor who wants you to develop and a buddy who makes sure that you’re included in all the social arrangements – a friend who takes an interest in you. It feels like there's a bunch of people who want you to succeed. Even though you feel like you're swimming in waters you can't handle, there's always a raft nearby to pull you out of the water if you’re going down.    

Tell us something that others might not know about you.

- When I was younger I played chess, and I was actually the county champion. Now I only play when someone thinks I can't.

Who did you root for? Kasparov or the computer?

- It was actually a bit tricky for me, because I've always found artificial intelligence very fascinating, but there was a part of me that wanted man to be better than machine. So I rooted for Kasparov, also because he is a very genuine and authentic guy, and I like him. But of course, it was only a matter of time before man couldn't keep up with the computers anymore.

Emilia Klocek
Animal Science, Breeding and Genetics
Emilia Klocek, 26 years old, from Pila, Poland.
First rotation: Production and Development in Sokolow, Poland.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

I saw the advertisement for the Graduate Programme online and immediately thought it was something that would benefit me, my career and my skills. The programme offers a whole world of opportunities with different jobs in different business units, and I'm not just going to be put in a box with the lid shut.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

- There is no typical day at work for me, except everyday morning meeting with all parties responsible for products that leave our plant. After that it depends on the department I’m in. In the first three months I've been working with the basics of the company – that is all the faces of the production from slaughter to cutting and processing. But it's also quality, technology and maintenance. I've got an overview of how the plant works.

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

- I just finished a project on work balance improvement on one of the production lines. It was very exciting and for me, it was something completely new. I haven't worked with projects with people like this before, and it was good for me to come out of my comfort zone. It has really pushed me and made me better.   

What was it like to be a new employee at Danish Crown?

- It's been exciting but also a little bit difficult, because I work in Poland but I'm also a Danish Crown employee, and I have to connect these two worlds, and sometimes it's challenging.

Tell us something that others might not know about you.

- I was in a band in college. It wasn't a good band or anything but we did play at some of the parties at the college. We played rock music – like Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I did some singing. It was a band consisting of not only the students but also some teachers. It was great fun, and I love to sing. Now I only sing in my car.

Jacob Kosiorek Jensen
Master in Management
Jacob Kosiorek Jensen, 25 years old and from Skjern, Denmark.
First rotation: Operations in Pork, Horsens, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

- It was the perfect match for me. I grew up on a farm, and I always wanted to become a farmer. After high school I went to the agricultural school and everything was planned so I could become a farmer, but then I had second thoughts. I like economy and accounting as well, and I think the Graduate Programme at Danish Crown can merge my two dreams and interests together.   

What does a typical workday look like for you?

- At the moment I work in the packaging department, where I'm looking into how we can optimise the procedures involving the work flow. I've actually optimised it by 5-6 percent already. It was very cool to see the result of my work and to see that I've made a difference. 

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

- It's my current project, where I'm working on optimising the procedures in the packaging department. At the start of the project I was told: “Try to observe here. We think there's room for improvement, see if you can find a solution.” It was, I won't say nerve wrecking, but it was exciting to be given that kind of responsibility.

What was it like to be a new employee at Danish Crown?

- It's been good. We had a lot of help from our team, and there's always someone making sure that we are doing okay. It's really nice to have the other Graduates and to be able to spar with them. We are a good group and we can use each other. I think it's very important with this kind of network.

Tell us something that others might not know about you.

- I read the agricultural newspapers and have done so since I was a young teenager. I also read a lot of books. I read about history and politics, management and leadership. I don't read fiction. If I want fiction, I watch a movie instead.

Jonas Olsen
Finance & International Business
Jonas Olsen, 25 years old, from Skive, Denmark.
First rotation: The Export Department, Pork, in Randers, Denmark.

Why did you apply for the Danish Crown Graduate Programme?

- Danish Crown is an important company in Denmark. It has a long history and a very big impact on the lives of many people. For me it's a great opportunity to be a part of such a big organisation.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

- A colleague and I are trying to make a planning system or tool for the sales to for example Japan for one of our factories, where we experience long waiting times. It's a planning system that can tell us when we have time in the production to produce and, after that, when we can deliver. 

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

- My next project is with the new factory in Pinghu, China, where we will build a database for everything they will need in the production. When the factory opens we will have to make sure, that they do not run out of anything. We haven't started yet, but it's going to be a big project.

What was it like to be a new employee at Danish Crown?

- The first week all the Graduates were together. It was a good opportunity to get to know the others. We still use each other a lot. We have one monthly Skype meeting, where we can exchange experiences about our work and the challenges we run in to. We help each other. It's very nice. 

Tell us something that others might not know about you.

- I played 1st division football until I found out that my body was made of glass. I've had two surgeries in my knee, both of my wrists have been broken and one of them still is – however, it is not a crucial rapture, why I have avoided a surgery. Now I just do some cycling.