Once the studies are complete and the thesis is in, receiving that diploma marks the start of a new journey for many graduates. Yet once the celebration subsides, many graduates face the challenge of finding the right job after University.
For Gülnur Durak and Dieter Van Isterdael, this was a familiar feeling, until they found Daikin Europe’s International Young Graduate Programme. Now current employees at Daikin Europe, we spoke with Gülnur and Dieter to learn about their experience and how the programme helped launch their careers.
What made you want to apply to the Daikin Europe International Young Graduate Programme?
GD: I saw this programme as an opportunity to start building my international career. For a recent graduate, the chance to work in different departments was a big advantage as it was a chance to understand what it meant to work in Marketing, Production Planning or the Supply Chain.
DVI: The variation and the challenge. As a fresh graduate, I had no idea where my life or career was heading. I had no clue what I wanted to become, and during my search I found I wanted something that would challenge me to grow and learn even more.
During the programme, what departments of Daikin Europe did you work in?
GD: During my traineeship, I worked in Supply, Strategic Marketing and Sales Planning at Daikin Europe, and then Production Planning at an affiliate factory in Italy. After this experience I went to the Affiliate Sales Department at DENV Brussels, and since January 2016 I’ve been working with their International Key Account Sales Department.
DVI: In the beginning I started in Production Improvement then moved to Consulting Sales, followed by Manufacturing Planning. I currently work at the Quality Assurance Center in the Czech Republic.
Is there a special project that you worked on that you’re most proud of?
GD: In my module for Sales Planning, I took on the task to create an Access database to help an affiliate office improve their budget process. When I started the project, I didn’t know anything about Access. But my Manager at the time, Tom Demeire, had full confidence in me and my abilities. I may have started at 0, but by the end of the project I was invited to go to Dubai to train the Sales Planning team about the tool I created. It was a great experience!
DVI: The most exciting and rewarding challenge was in consulting sales. At the time, we attracted a distributor in Morocco, and my job was to teach them how to work with our sales programme and help them sell our products. The training process and first customer visits were not easy and it took several sessions, but when the first projects finished, it gave me and others the energy we needed to fight so much harder for the next one.
How did this programme help launch your career?
GD: The best part of the programme is the opportunity to work in very different areas of Daikin. This helped me discover what I’d really like to do with my career at the company, and as result I started in Sales.
DVI: Because of the programme I am now working abroad in our factory in the Czech Republic. In my current position, I work with various departments, which requires me to have a basic understanding of how the company works. Because of this programme, I know many of the people working in these departments, and can not only learn from them but still depend on their expertise.
What advice would you give to recent graduates that are thinking about applying to the programme?
GD: Go into the programme with an open mind and be willing to work in different departments. Even if you think a certain profession does not align with your interests or something you want to do in the future, the experience will be useful. Plus, you can get an idea about life from the “other side of the table.”
DVI: It is an opportunity and challenge to learn things you didn’t know you wanted to learn. It is also a great opportunity to become specialised in more than one area or field. The question is: will you take the challenge?