Why join the William Demant Graduate Programme? ‘To pursue professional opportunities at a large, successful global company’ Technically, that answer applies to most of us graduates, but the real reason for me was the feeling of the programme. It is hard to describe, but my best explanation is that it has to do with the people who work here. I can confidently say that the team I have joined has surprised me in every way. They are smart, helpful and they challenge me every day.

From day one at William Demant, we were trained to become the unit we are now. By “training” I don’t mean reading 500 pages on company strategy. On the first day, all graduates were asked to bring a sleeping bag to work. An entire week of team-building activities followed from there. This was to be our training.

As it turned out, we were going straight on a survivor’s trip on the western part of Zealand. But first, we spent several hours getting to know each other through games and exercises. One of these was The River of Life exercise. The task: Draw out your life on an A1 piece of paper in 20 minutes.The theory behind the exercise is that when people have colorful pens in their hands, they share different things than when being asked the usual “tell us about yourself” question. This turned out to be true, but the exercise was harder than even the most difficult test we faced during graduate-application process. Because, truth be told, I am a terrible drawer. I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life. But the exercise made the team share deeply personal details about their lives. Doing that on your first day of work takes courage, and that is the team I want to work with: a team of people who dare to show who they really are.

After a full day of exercises, we left for the survivor’s trip. The trip consisted of social cooking and games at night. We crashed, exhausted but happy, after an 18 hour first day of work. The highlight of the trip was a fierce version of the gameshow Fangerne på Fortet – “Ford Boyard”.

After returning home, we faced our first “regular” work day at the office. Each of us were to present our vision of the future of William Demant in front of 10 VPs and the CFO. Coming up with suggestions for improving a company in front of people that have been there for decades was challenging. Relieved that we were still alive afterwards, we then felt like sleeping for a day straight.

.. But there was no time to relax. The very next morning we left for two days in Poland for a tour of the production facilities. We spent the seven-hour car ride with one simple game: take turns asking a question; everyone in the van answers it. Fascinated by the lives people had lived, we arrived in Poland seven hours later. An excellent dinner and some team bonding was a good warm-up for the tour of the Polish facilities the next day.

We returned home in one piece, and the fun has continued since. To name just a few of the things we have done since that first week: Foodclubs, weekly boardgame get-togethers, Friday happy hours, the wedding of a graduate, planning a Tour de Chambre (a themed tour of everyone’s apartments) to see where everybody lives, Lunch/Breakfast/Commuting together, all you can eat sushi, etc.

It is fair to say a new chapter of your life begins the day you start in the William Demant Graduate Programme. And what a chapter.

Please don’t hesitate to write me if you have any questions.

All the best,
Mads Øhlenschlæger

Mads

mdoh@dgs.com