Specialist finance – how I use my background

Hello everyone! My name is Christian and I have been given the pleasure to write a bit about my experiences as a Global Finance Graduate at William Demant. I joined the company in September 16’ as a part of the 3rd graduate batch, which marked the introduction of the three specialist tracks; Engineering, Operations, and Finance, on top of the “General Business” programme that has been running in the past years. As such, I have chosen to include a few words on my reason for joining the specialist track as opposed to the general track. I have also written a bit about how I use my background in my daily work and what types of tasks I have been working on.  I hope you will find the following inspiring and relevant to your considerations about your future job!

Why did I choose a specialist track?

The question takes me back to university, where I had the perception that everyone on my study line (cand.merc.aef @ CBS) wanted one of two things; banking or consulting. While I have absolutely nothing against either of the two, I did not necessarily feel that those industries were right for me. In general, I found it difficult to answer the most typical question you get in the last year of your masters – “What do you want do when you are finished with school?” Normally, I would reply something like “How should I know?” Yes, I have had some student jobs that gave me perspectives on the working life but I think we can all agree that student jobs and “real” jobs are quite different! So how should I know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, when I have never been in a full time position before? Nonetheless, I really liked my study line and I knew I wanted to work with “something” that allowed me to apply financial/economic theory in a practical setting. The specialist finance track allows me to do exactly that, while at the same time helping me find a better answer than “How should I know?” Through four different rotations within finance, I get to experience multiple functions in a finance department. I believe this is an awesome opportunity to understand the mechanics of a finance department in a complex company whilst simultaneously helping me get a much clearer picture of what I want to do in the long run.

How do I use my background?

So if you sit and fear that you have to remember every single page from your Econometrics-book, or that you are going to be challenged on your understanding of Stackelberg, Cournot and Bertrand (who can ever forget those guys, right?), then do not worry – it is definitely NOT the case! In general, I would not say I use any of the theories or concepts taught in school directly, but in some way draw on all of them. What we DO learn in school however, is how to go about things when we are confronted with a new course, a new project, an upcoming exam etc. We learn how to structure our work, how to cooperate with our study buddies, how to perform during those damn 4-hour written exams, and in general how to acquire, understand, and communicate new knowledge. These are skills that I use every day in my work – it may happen unconsciously but they are all extremely valuable and important. One might claim that everything I just mentioned is general and applies to all kinds of positions – and I completely agree. Whether you are looking to apply for a specialist track in Engineering or Finance, or you want to go for the general programme, my opinion is that the core skillset of the right candidate is very similar across the tracks.

What types of tasks have I been working on?

At the time of writing, I am coming towards the end of my first rotation during which I have been part of the Business Controlling department. Looking back at the last 5 months makes me realise just how diverse and different the tasks that I have been working on have been. Primarily, my “rotation-project” has been about offshoring tasks and processes to our Shared Service Center in Poland that supports the company across functions such as Finance, IT, HR etc. The goal has been to try to map the processes within the Business Controlling unit in order to optimise the resources in the team and to take full advantage of our supporting functions. Apart from my offshoring-project, I have assisted the Business Controllers in the process of budgeting and forecasting sales and costs, which involves a lot of communication with our subsidiaries around the world. Being part of Business Controlling has also taught me a lot about our IT-systems – how we collect data from our subsidiaries and how we present these to the executive management. I have come to the realisation that data handling is crucial and that there is so much going on “behind the scenes”- all of which I have been given the opportunity to learn about. Lastly, I would like to state how accommodating my colleagues in Business Controlling (and other departments) have been. I cannot even describe how valuable it has been to be around people that are so skillful and friendly at the same time.

In March I will begin in my second rotation, which will be split between Treasury and Tax. Whilst I know very little about what is going to happen, I am extremely excited about the opportunity to see a completely different side of the finance department whilst trying to apply some of the skills I have acquired in Business Controlling.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my post and please do not hesitate to get in touch – I am more than happy to answer any questions that might have popped up while reading through this post :).

Take care!