INTERVIEW WITH SALES TRAINEES “The traineeship has provided me with broad and valuable experiences, both operational and analytical, in addition to the ability to rapidly adjust to changes. I’m sure I will beneﬁt from that in my future career!” Anne Line Evensen whAt mADe you AppLy for the schibsteD sALes trAinee progrAmme? martina: It was a combination of my interest in the media industry and the trainee program itself. I have always been thrilled by the complexity that the MARTINA VACULIK media companies represent, and therefore I found the programme with its varied placements and educational focus very appealing. Jonatan: A friend of mine, who is a former Schibsted trainee, told me about the programme, and I thought it would be the perfect start for my career. Anne Line: Mainly its structure and focus on both professional and personal development, but also the Schibsted product portfolio and the markets that Schibsted operates in. I was looking for an opportunity to work with hands-on projects, and also contribute to the development of products that I’m really interested in, with talented people in a company culture that I could identify with. whAt positions hAve you hAD As A trAinee in schibsteD? JONATAN LINDQVIST martina: My first position was as an outside sales representative at FINN torget. For the first three months it was a very operative position; I was in customer meetings every day and had to deliver my budget. Afterwards, I got to practice sales coaching and sales management. I was responsible for a couple of commercial development projects, both in the planning and implementing phase. Jonatan: I have been the assistant to the sales manager at punkt.se (Aftonbladet), Sales Analyst at Aftonbladet, Key Account Manager and Project Manager at tasteline.com, and then Project Manager at finn.no. Anne Line: I have worked as a sales representative at Sesam, a sales developer at the Estonian printing plant Kroonpress and a project manager at VG’s HR department. ANNE LINE EVENSEN whAt is your current position? martina: I’m currently in my second placement, working with business development at aftonbladet.se. I’m responsible for the marketing activities of Viktklubb.se, the largest online weight-loss service in Sweden. I’m also leading two different projects that aim to develop new revenue streams from online content and capitalize on Aftonbladet’s huge traffic. Jonatan: I have commercial responsibility for e-commerce and brand advertising at FINN torget, which includes budget responsibility as well as responsibility for bringing new commercial products to the market. I am also a member of FINN torget’s management team. Anne Line: I am currently working as Lean Navigator at VG, being part of the Schibsted Continuous Improvement- Team. As a Lean Navigator, I am responsible for facilitating the change processes in one of VG’s departments. That involves establishing a culture for more efficient problem solving and increasing value and quality in work flows, reducing time spent on non-value adding activities and implementing a system for continuous improvement. It’s great fun! Describe A normAL working DAy As A trAinee? martina: In my current placement a normal day looks like this: A brainstorming meeting in the morning with our art director about a new campaign for viktlubb.se. After that I spend some hours following up previous campaigns. In the afternoon we have a project meeting concerning Aftonbladet’s e-commerce initiatives and the way forward. Before I go home I have a meeting with a potential sponsor for viktklubb.se who would like to give all our new members a wonderful pilates ball. Jonatan: I begin my day reading and answering emails and making a plan for the day. Then I make sure to go through my goals to make sure that the projects I am working on are running well. I also make sure to have a chat with my colleges, both to receive updates as well as for a few laughs. Usually I call a couple of customers in the morning, since my daily work is very customer focused. I often have a meeting during the day so I try going through the agenda or my preparations one last time before that in order to be fully prepared. The rest of the day is very flexible, depending on my agenda. Usually I spend an hour or so in the afternoon calling and mailing customers. At the end of the day I go through the plan for the week to make sure that I’m up to date. Anne Line: One day you’re working on pricing strategies and attending business meetings with publishers to negotiate printing contracts. The next day you might be visiting a university to talk with prospective Schibsted trainees, or facilitating problem solving workshops, or having a presentation for the management group in VG. A trainee’s workday is truly varied, which is something I appreciate. whAt hAve you founD to be most chALLenging As A schibsteD trAinee? martina: It’s challenging to change your work environment every six months, since each Schibsted company has a unique culture and atmosphere. You have to adapt quickly, while still trying to add something new to the organization. Jonatan: The most challenging part is to leave your current job and your new colleagues after six months, when the placement is over. You get very close to your colleagues and you are involved in all activities within that particular company. At the same time, that’s the great part of being a trainee; the opportunity to be part of four different organizations in the course of two years. Anne Line: The most challenging, yet most rewarding experiences have been to take on responsibilities within areas where I have had little or no previous experience. so fAr, whAt hAve you enJoyeD most in your trAineeship? martina: The variation and the program itself. With the program I refer to all the activities that we participate in, such as team gatherings, social activities and educational training. It feels like we are one big class of students, even though we normally work in different places. Jonatan: I would say the opportunity to be constantly challenged in different organizations and with varying responsibilities. The learning curve is very steep because you are constantly challenged with new and exciting tasks. As a trainee you are expected to constantly learn new things – the people in the organizations know that you’re there for a reason. Also, I truly enjoy getting to know all the fantastic people we get to work with at each company. That is a once-in a-lifetime experience and a perfect way to build a network both inside and outside of Schibsted. Anne Line: I’ve had great fun with the other trainees, and I have learned a lot from working with talented people at Schibsted and the subsidiaries. I’ve received valuable coaching from the trainee management and from local leaders, and I have enjoyed the possibility of trying out four different jobs and a variety of tasks in the course of less than two years. to whAt extent hAve your expectAtions for schibsteD sALes trAinee progrAmme been fuLfiLLeD? martina: I don’t mean to brag, but my expectations have actually been exceeded. It’s a great programme. Jonatan: Honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect from the trainee program when I started in 2008. When I was a student I thought I was going to become a consultant, but obviously, it turned out differently. I chose Schibsted. I knew that Schibsted Trainee Programme was highly ranked and that the people were very professional and nice, however, I didn’t know much about the media industry. Now, almost two years later, I’m very happy and pleased that I choose to say yes when I was offered to become a Schibsted trainee. Anne Line: I think I’ve learned more during the two years at Schibsted than I did through all my years of studies. whAt impAct Do you think your trAineeship wiLL hAve on your future cAreer? martina: The biggest advantage is the network you build up when you move from one position to another. Then it’s up to you how to make the best of it. Jonatan: Being constantly challenged through performing a great variation of tasks, while at the same time working with nice and competent people, I’m sure the trainee program has given my career a boost in the right direction. I have gained good overall knowledge of the different companies and people at Schibsted, and I have had the opportunity to try out very different things in my daily work. I’m more aware of my strengths and my improvement potential, which is useful when taking on new challenges. Furthermore, I have built up a good network inside and outside the organization, which provides a good platform for the things that I want to do in the future. Anne Line: The traineeship has provided me with broad and valuable experiences, both operational and analytical, in addition to the ability to rapidly adjust to changes. I’m sure I will benefit from that in my future career!
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