Quite a lot has changed since I last blogged about my experiences in the EMEA Graduate Programme!
- I graduated from the programme
- I became a fully qualified account manager
- I moved 400km away from my hometown of Cologne
- I gave a presentation to the C-suite of our company…in a tracksuit
OK, I am joking about the last one!
However, I did lose my luggage when flying to the Automation Fair in Philadelphia, leaving me only with my jogging pants and sweatshirt. Thanks to the huge American malls I was able to buy a new suit in no time, because believe me, I really didn’t want to be standing out as the guy in a tracksuit amongst my very well-dressed colleagues and the executives!
Our presentation focused on the results of our graduate programme task - a tool to help explain The Connected Enterprise in the process industry.
We developed a playbook and discussed the value of our solutions for our customers. This was the high point of our programme – like the final exams in school, however, the atmosphere in the room was great and relaxed. Our company leaders were extremely supportive of us.
After ‘the final exam’ in Philadelphia our programme officially ended. We all turned a new page of our careers. We were offered roles that were best suited to our skill sets and became official employees of Rockwell Automation.
At the beginning of the programme I started as a commercial engineer. But my manager saw that my open and energetic personality was better suited to sales.
Moving into the sales role gave me the chance to take over some accounts and deepen the relationships with those customers. It wasn’t an easy transition, but my colleagues have made this as smooth as possible.
My team is incredibly supportive of my learning and is helping me in every way to develop my skills. We work together on strategies for customers and discuss ideas to come to the best solution for our clients.
One of the things that I appreciate and enjoy most about Rockwell Automation is the open discussions and feedback culture that allows us to achieve great results. Moreover, every colleague wants to help you progress and achieve, taking time out of their day to help you.
Of course, it also helps that I have practised the job during the programme. We spent three months in Brussels undergoing training. There were lectures and workshops, but most importantly we got hands-on experience with products.
During this time, we worked with Rockwell Automation software to learn how to program and get training on the actual devices, giving us the tools to understand the intricacies of the products and the ability to explain them to the customers. We also got the opportunity to visit the customers along with experienced account managers.
If you are thinking of applying, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so! You will get to work with dedicated, hard-working people from all over the world, which will lead to a successful career, but also friends for life.
To make the most out of the programme, I have some tips:
- Be open-minded. You will meet people from different cultures and work with colleagues who have different working styles and approaches.
- Connect with people and ask, ask, ask! There will be a lot of professionals with a great deal of experience. Don’t be proud. Ask for help!
- During the training in Brussels, be aware that you are sitting in the EMEA headquarters! Therefore, you might not know who you’re running into in the canteen – a director or a vice president … It’s a great opportunity to be noticed and network!