[CultureView] A personal approach versus standard tick boxes won me over

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A first-hand account from… Carolin Helff, Strategy Manager (New Business Development Graduate)

I started at Telefónica Digital in September 2012 on the company’s graduate training scheme. Since then, I’ve had a whirlwind experience working in the new business development team, and a chance to focus intensively on strategy and planning.

Above image: Carolin (right) with a fellow graduate at a Think Big event

 

I grew up in Heidelberg, Germany but I studied for my CEMS Masters in both Lisbon and Singapore. I had already done a BA but the CEMS programme was purely focused around international management so I had lots of opportunities to travel whilst I was studying.

I went through various rounds of interviews and tests to get on the graduate programme and I immediately liked the personal approach.

I considered other options but the process with Telefonica wasn’t just about textbook answers and ticking the box – the company really wanted to get to know me…

As part of the strategy and planning team we look at all products under new business development and try to reach the best outcome for each of them by, for example, aligning their efforts and considering any potential cross promoting.

It was fascinating to me that the business was involved in developing products in areas such as  eHealth, machine-to-machine and financial services – these are all huge opportunities within the industry.

I spend around four to six weeks on each project getting into particular areas in a very focused way with the rest of the team. We do lots of research, benchmarking against what the industry is doing and analysing trends in order to assess the viability of various initiatives in the marketplace. Basically we are trying to be the leader in the digital marketplace.

In addition to research and analysis, my day is exciting…

My work day also usually consists of catch ups with colleagues, either over lunch or in meetings. It’s also really good to learn about what other colleagues around the office do as some of them have completely different roles to me.

I’m based at our London offices in Air Street and folks are great here. They are very open and helpful and I received a warm welcome when I first arrived, with many colleagues having already become friends. After work, we occasionally go for drinks, swap stories about our day and definitely take advantage of being based in Soho – getting into the vibe of London. I also try to fit in some gym and yoga time around two to three times a week.

The graduate programme takes us to other countries for workshops and training…

For example, we’re going to Prague soon! I’m really looking forward to experiencing other parts of the company.

One of the most exciting things about my new job is gaining an insight into the digital products of tomorrow and seeing what could shape the digital world in the future. And that’s just the beginning…