This is it. It is hard to believe we only have one week left before we wrap up our second project and give our final presentations. The nerves and stress we experienced from our initial case studies is almost laughable compared to the magnitude of the projects and responsibilities we own now. We all have grown tremendously and it is bittersweet to see the program come to an end.
I spent both of my projects working on product development within our Research & Development department. Within R&D, there is never a dull moment and a variety of products to work on. I have worked on reformulating products to use natural ingredients instead of artificial ones, responding to market trends and consumer concerns. I have learned the processes to create our foods in a test portion and on a large scale (cheese is surprisingly complicated). I have taken part in plant trials to ensure our products and packaging can be efficiently produced in our manufacturing facilities. There is always something to work on.
The CMTP program has also afforded me the opportunity to work beyond department lines. The cross-functional training we received in the classroom at the beginning of the program is completely applicable to my daily life. I, along with two other trainees, led the 2016 zero-based budgeting (ZBB) process for R&D within the Sauces and Frozen Business Unit (BU). With the three of us coming from chemical engineering backgrounds, gaining a financial perspective of the department gave us a greater understanding of how we can better collaborate with finance teams. This same cross-functional understanding also applies to when I work with my marketing and sales teams. We must work together to meet market demands, cost margin targets, and develop high quality food products.
As Thanksgiving is just around the corner and because we just celebrated our own cohort “Friendsgiving,” I’m taking the time to reflect on how incredibly thankful I am for the close friends I’ve made, the experience I’ve gained, and all that I have learned within these four short months. I will continue working as a Product Developer within our Food Service, Kraft Food Ingredients, and Global Exports R&D flex pool full time. I love the fast paced nature of R&D, the diversity in products I get to develop and eat, and the voice I have within the department. I am so excited for the opportunities yet to come and to see all the amazing things our cohort accomplishes in the future.