Learning, networking and much much more – the BAT Grad Academy

With slogans such as “what are you made of?” and “what is your legacy going to look like?” and hashtags such as #nextgenbat and #leadthetransformation you pretty much know what you have in store when arriving at the BAT Graduate Academy. The academy gathers global graduates from all around the world for two weeks in the English countryside, and focus is on learning, networking, personal development and establishing business acumen.

This year’s academy took place from March 4-15. And during these two weeks, my fellow graduates and I had the pleasure of experiencing presentations from pretty much all functions of our organisation; from Finance, HR, Legal and Brand to Next Generation Products, Supply Chain, and many others. Supplement to all these presentations, we engaged in a business simulation (or case competition) encouraging us to put what we just learned into practice. Not only was this a great way to incite us to be attentive during the presentations, it was also a great way for us to apply our learnings right away, while the information was still fresh in mind. Top this approach with inspirational speeches from BAT senior leaders, including our CEO Nicandro Durante, and you have two weeks that surely motivated and inspired 140 global graduates to continue their career journey in BAT to become #nextgenbat and #leadthetransformation.

In addition to all the exciting presentations, speeches and exercises, networking was also a big part of participating at the academy. And let me be frank with you, networking with over 30 different nationalities is no joke. It is indeed hard work, but at the same time a lot of fun! Hanging out with fellow global graduates from Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Russia, Iran, South Africa, Nigeria, Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia, USA, Canada, Germany, France (and I could go on) and getting to know them professionally as well as personally really opens up your eyes for cultural differences and the pronounced diversity we have in BAT. This diversity is in my opinion one of the greatest things of working in a truly global organisation, and I am proud to say that BAT indeed deliver on that promise. I sincerely hope that I will get the chance to work with and experience even more cultures in my future career in BAT. And who knows, I might be joining some fellow former Global Graduates in another part of the world.

After two amazing weeks, it is now back to work trying to apply what I have learned at the academy and to utilise my new and global network. My next foreign adventure will take place soon as I leave the Northern Europe main office on April 1 to take a rotation in Sweden. For 5 months, I will work at our factory in Malmö and be part of the HR Business Partner Operations function. I look very much forward to this new chapter ahead of me; the new challenges, new culture, to improve my Swedish language skills and keep developing on a personal and professional level.

-Frederik, Global Graduate in HR.