Corporate Management Trainee Program Week 18

It’s all about that big dream. Day to-day in this company, it is hard to think small. Between the amount of things that need to get done, the level of talent, and the huge amount of responsibilities and ownership expected of us, every day is a stretch to get better. These elements don’t breed anything but the best in class. Of course, it does not happen overnight. It takes time and effort, but nothing feels better than each little step forward towards your dream.

Since my first placement, I’ve been at the Kraft Heinz offices in Northfield, IL, immersed in the integration of Heinz and Kraft’s businesses, particularly in the Commercial Finance team for Snack Nuts. I was impressed by the structure and the efficiencies of the management, but surely there was a lot that we needed to build together in other to align the way we run the business together. The first big change was to start tracking monthly financial results, allowing the business unit (BU) visibility over the numbers, and to course-correct (if needed) more quickly. My team played a big role in this process, implementing financial rituals & routines that help us better understand results, forecast upcoming months, and take action on the gaps that we have to achieve our targets.

It was challenging to start out in the company through this period of change, but I had a great team to support me. Starting with our Business Units and CFO, the level of talent in this company has been so impressive. The Planters team is definitely one of the best in the company, with a great story of turning-around the brand and leading the category (Planters is currently driving category growth). Also, I was lucky to be placed under a very knowledgeable manager, and I’m pushing to learn as much as I can, and as fast as I can, from him.

It is much easier to learn by doing. In the first month of the program we had a series of trainings, which was great to build a strong foundation. But, since my placement, work has been at full throttle. People don’t care whether I am a trainee or not, and it feels great to be able to make decisions and create processes the way I think is best for the business.

This freedom does not come without responsibilities, though. Everything that I build and develop is mine to own, and I live with the consequences (good or bad). Many times I must explain the methods I used for an analysis, my thought process, and the business impacts. To be prepared and on top of your numbers is very challenging, and demands a lot of effort. What a year so far! Looking back to July, I can’t believe how many things I learned about this business. As the trainee program comes to an end (only a month to go!), it is hard not to think about the next steps. . I can’t wait to see what next year has in store, but I am sure that there will be a lot of challenges .

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