Would you like to join a global FMCG company with a strong commitment to providing opportunities for our people to grow? Do you want to have an impact on the future of foods?

Then the Arla F15® Graduate Programme is the perfect way for you to kick-start your career! We sat down with Rucha Sarma – who started her career via the F15® programme – for a quick chat about her journey at Arla and who would be a good fit for the F15 Graduate program.

So Rucha, how did it all begin? And what made you interested in Arla Foods in the first place?

Before joining Arla, I had always worked in start-ups and smaller companies. I had studied Marketing and International Business. I wanted to get some experience in a bigger multinational company but a company with values that I could relate with. The cooperative structure of Arla, company culture and the unique journey they were on (from Scandinavia to the whole world) attracted me to consider them as a future employer. Also, the structure and opportunities of the F15 Graduate programme excited me as it offered holistic development across functions and geographical regions – which was exactly what I was looking for at an early stage in my career. So my journey at Arla Foods began with the F15 programme in 2015.

Can you describe your trainee journey? 

I started my journey with Arla in 2015 in the Global Milk team in our HQ in Aarhus as an Assistant Brand Manager which was my first introduction to building global brands across regions and cultures which are quite different from Arla’s “home base”.  I then wanted to challenge myself and work in an emerging market in a function that’s out of my comfort zone. So,  for my second rotation, I worked in Commercial Finance and Operations in one of our most exciting international markets – Nigeria. For my last rotation, I was based in our UK office in Leeds, working on digital and innovation projects for Castello. It was there that I realized that Marketing and Cheese are my passion so I offboarded from the programme as a Global Brand Manager for Castello. Overall, the trainee journey took me to 3 different regions and contexts, it helped me discover my passion for Marketing and the training (which is a big part of the programme) helped in my personal and professional development. The best part of this journey was also that I had 13 other trainees in the same boat as me – knowledge sharing and informal coaching in this co(w)hort were definitely a big plus!

What’s unique with working at Arla?

Firstly, I think the dairy industry is super dynamic and volatile – we constantly have to adapt our strategy and way of doing things so no 2 months, years or even days look the same! My favorite thing about Arla are definitely the people – everyone you meet, be it a farmer or a dairy technician or someone in the HQ, they are all super passionate about what they do and for me, this is not only unique but a big plus! Also, the opportunities that Arla provides (especially through the F15 programme) are diverse and unique – in my 3 years of Arla, I’ve already worked in 3 regions and moving to the 4th so it’s great if you are looking for global mobility and also breaking out of a particular function or role.

How would you describe the culture at Arla Foods?

For me, the culture seems very Scandinavian – flat hierarchy, good work-life balance, consensus-driven. Big focus on innovation and adapting to all the change around us. People are valued and prioritized. The vision of the company is very clearly communicated and feels like it resonates with everyone so everyone has a sense of purpose.

Who would be a good fit? And who wouldn’t?

The F15 programme is a great pipeline for driven, globally minded individuals who challenge the status quo and like disruption. It’s a good fit for anyone who wants to fast track their career by exploring different functions and career paths, someone who is open to being globally mobile and someone who is good with people and project management. Also, you really need to believe in Arla’s purpose and vision and enjoy our great products 😊 If you’re more keen on specialising in one role or function, then the F15 programme may seem a bit broad.

The trainee program is now open, anything else you like to share with those considering applying?

Applying for the F15 programme has been one of the best career shaping decisions of my life – it really opens up a whole world of opportunities. Be open-minded, be very sure of the “why” behind applying and be authentic when applying so Arla can see who you truly are and if you are a good fit for the programme and the company!

There you have it, a behind-the-scenes look at the F15 Programme. If you think you’d be great for the Alra F15 Graduate Programme, then make sure to apply right away!