Being a General Business Graduate means that you have been chosen among many applicants because of your ability to learn and adapt to new surroundings – not because you possess one specific skill. You might have that one thing that you really excel at, but you are expected to jump right into any given task, no matter how far outside your comfort zone it may be. That challenge is what this post will dig deeper into.
My second rotation here at Oticon HQ was in Finance, more specifically as a Business Controller for Oticon Medical. You might expect that someone with a background from a well renowned university like Copenhagen Business School knows numbers and figures by his fingertips. However, it’s not that simple. I have had my share of finance-related courses – on some of the early semesters and through electives – but it has been a long while. It was never my number one priority during my studies. That being said, this was actually one of the main reasons I wanted to be part of William Demant’s graduate program: I wanted to explore the unknown and learn as much as possible in two years, instead of becoming a specialist so early in my career.
I have always had the belief that if you are bright and willing to work hard, you will be able to learn anything. Therefore, going through the Finance Department as part of the two-year long learning curve has always been a priority to me. In fact, to get a holistic understanding of any company, I think understanding Finance is absolutely essential. Even if this requires some extra work, or a couple of late hours in bed with books you never thought you would open after getting your university diploma. I assure you that it is worth it.
So what was it like starting from scratch, completely green to the world of finance outside the business school walls? I liked it. I like being completely in the dark, fighting my way out by learning. I think this is an important thing to consider if you are thinking about applying for a graduate program in William Demant. If you like change, if you like to challenge yourself and go outside your comfort zone, then this is definitely a great way of doing so in a professional setting. Of course, you will likely need to take some hits on the way (I know I sure did) and be humble when seeking answers from more experienced colleagues, but in the end, you will end up helping yourself as well as your team.
I must admit, when starting in Finance, I had this idea that the scope of tasks would be somewhat narrow. Boy, was I wrong. There are so many different sub-teams working on a multitude of tasks you could not even imagine. During my rotation in Finance I gained a pretty good understanding of them, but there is always more to learn. One of the things I learned is that there is a difference between being good at Excel and then being really good at Excel. After my time in Finance, I have concluded that I am okay with being good. However, I now have no problem telling everyone at every family gathering what EBITDA, Gross Profit and COGS are all about. I am sure my family thinks I am an absolute delight.
I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes the William Demant graduate program can throw you into areas you have absolutely no experience in and no control over, but I believe that is the beauty and the whole point of this program. It challenges you and makes you grow faster than you would have, if you had stayed inside your comfort zone the entire time. Even though you might feel lost at times (for example just staring at random numbers in Finance), your team will always be there to help you, and you will truly benefit from it in the end.
So go for it!
Klaus Langholz Kristensen