29NOV2018global-graduate-blog

Justin’s experience as a Global Graduate

If you are reading this, you are hopefully considering applying to BAT’s Global Graduate Program. This is your first step in a big decision, and I’m here to tell you a little bit about my experience. My name is Justin and I’m from the great state of California. I may have traded in great weather to move to BAT Copenhagen, but what I found here has more than made up for it. Prior to BAT, I worked first in wine wholesale, before starting my own cigar company. Deciding I wanted to improve my business acumen, I completed my MBA at Copenhagen Business School, before applying to BAT.

BAT’s Global Graduate Program gave me the opportunity to have real responsibilities from day one. Well, to be honest, as daunting as your first day at BAT might seem, it really is quite pleasant – getting ready for action by setting up your computer (a true BAT rite of passage!) and getting introduced to everyone in the “house” (and by everyone, I mean you personally get to shake everyone’s hand, a nice welcoming touch). Nevertheless, the expectations my team had from me were clear, and the fast pace of work I witnessed around me was truly energizing.

I am now 3 months into my first rotation in marketing with the entrepreneurial-minded snus team, and I already have the responsibility of launching two new products in the Norwegian market, from the planning phase to getting the products into the hands of real consumers. It’s been a wild ride, and on any given day I am aligning my work with people in a handful of other departments, including supply chain, insights, and trade. The idea that my actions, planning, and input will have a real impact on people is truly empowering, and to have some of the brightest minds to learn from and bounce ideas off has been a privilege.

As serious as we are about our work, there’s also a lighter side to working here. Along the way I have made some friends, and oftentimes, at the end of the week, you’ll find staff from all levels enjoying themselves at one of our signature BAT Friday bars on our rooftop terrace. Work-wise, if you are in doubt about something, you’ll find there’s always someone willing to take time out of their day to give you their point of view, even senior staff. I think part of the camaraderie is due in no small part to the unique nature of working in tobacco.

Having worked in the handmade cigar industry a few years prior to joining, I came to BAT with a respect for tobacco’s traditions and historical importance, as well as a genuine feeling of excitement that this is a time of change in the industry. What struck me immediately when I visited BAT for the first time, as a participant in the BAT case competition, was that the people at BAT felt the same excitement as me. That is what motivated me to apply, to work with people with the same passion.

My experience here since I joined has only confirmed my suspicions, and what I see are colleagues dedicated to delivering moments of enjoyment to consumers. In that sense, Transforming Tobacco is not merely corporate slogan, it is an ideal that is shared by my colleagues, which shapes our working environment in a very special way.

Life as a global graduate, indeed for any role at BAT, is not without its challenges. Part of the challenge is inherent in working in tobacco, with its regulatory challenges and rapid market developments. This requires being flexible and thinking ahead of the curve. For marketing types, we like to call it marketing on “hard mode”. It’s these challenges which motivate us and make working at BAT interesting.

If this type of challenge intrigues you, you may just be the candidate we are looking for in a Global Graduate. If you have any questions about applying, please don’t hesitate to connect on LinkedIn!

Wishing you the best of luck on your own journey.