Standing in front of Gate C34 in Copenhagen Airport, I briefly look at a few last e-mails before I close my laptop and board the plane, inbound to Newark Airport. Little did I know then, that this three-day business trip would be intellectually challenging, as well as an amazing opportunity to expand my network.
My name is Christian Borggaard, and I just started as a Global Finance Graduate in William Demant from September 2017. My first rotation is in the Retail Department in William Demant, and in October 2017, I had the privilege of visiting our US Department in Somerset, New Jersey – Oticon Inc. The main purpose of the trip was for me to be trained within a new Business Intelligence system and to gain a better understanding of the reporting system. I arrived to a Hilton Hotel near the office, where I started to prepare for the meetings in the coming days, excited about what would happen.
I entered the office Monday morning together with my travel companion, where I quickly realized that I now entered the “real world”. At the headquarters in Denmark, we attempt to control everything happening out in the wide world, but once you actually go and visit the sites personally, you quickly realize that the issues at hand are much more complex than it seems from a HQ perspective. Immediately, I started having meetings with some very high-profile colleagues in our US office, amongst other the President of Retail. I felt humbled, yet motivated by the opportunity to learn from such experienced, prominent people, and I was amazed that it was possible to have a private talk with them, which just shows how flat of an organization William Demant is.
A typical business trip consists of many meetings, and this trip to the US was no exception. Meetings usually lasted the whole day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with some short breaks and lunch in between. Staying focused was key to succeed in the meetings, especially when you are expected to set a good example among the US colleagues. While one might expect that a newly hired Graduate would not be able to contribute to any of the meetings and would just listen, this was not the case for me. I assisted some colleagues in the US with developing some of their models to a more advanced and user-friendly stage, which shows that as a Graduate you get a massive amount of responsibility and the opportunity to make an impact on a very early stage.
After some hectic days, I finally said farewell to my US colleagues, and headed back to the Danish HQ at Kongebakken. On the plane, I had some time to reflect upon my impressions from Somerset. Was it worthwhile to go across the globe to work for only a few days? Yes! It is important to remember that there was time for dinner and drinks outside of working hours as well as time for networking sessions. Conclusively, if you are the person who enjoys being exposed to a truly global organization and wish to combine your work at the HQ with occasional travels, I am sure that William Demant is something for you!