Goodbye US & Chicago


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Hi peeps,

Last time I wrote a blogpost I was sitting in Copenhagen Airport waiting to board my flight to Chicago. This time I’m sitting in Chicago Airport waiting to go home. My time in the US has offered me a lot of great experiences, adventures and insights on the famous American life. I’m leaving with mixed opinions of this vast, weird and impressive country. I have learned that you cannot generalise and put Americans in a box, it would be like saying that Italians, Brits and Danes are all the same. Instead I appreciate the diversity and different personalities I have encountered, and acknowledge that in such a country you will meet all kinds of persons from all over the world.

Small countryside Dane surrounded by skyscrapers in Chicago

My daily life was in a small suburb outside Chicago called Lisle, not much happening, but I lived and worked in a small office in a nice area with kind and helpful colleagues. I got to be a part of the digital revolution that we are hoping to reach, and I have worked with exciting projects like SEO (search engine optimisation), social media marketing and launching a new website. As marketing is not my biggest strength in life, I got to challenge myself and my creative self in many ways. I had to create posts for our social media accounts, write blog posts and develop content for our new website. Despite the challenges of finding my inner artist, I have learned a whole lot during this period, and I believe that these learning will prove valuable in the future.

A goodnight picture from my last night in Chicago

On a more personal level, I was a part of the American working culture, I have met Americans from many different states, and I have been lucky enough to get to travel around various states. I got to see New Orleans and listen to all kinds of interesting music genres, I did a road trip to Niagara Falls with my family who came to visit. And finally, I was in Florida twice to see our production facility and attend workshops and meetings at our office in St. Pete outside of Tampa.

Now I’ll be in Copenhagen and Stockholm during the two last weeks before the summer holidays. The next two days all of us are gonna meet in Copenhagen to sum up the third period, see our Unibake production facility and have some fun together in the sunny capitol of Scandinavia 😉

So long,

Mikkel

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From Hindås to Chicago!


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Hi folks,

My second rotation at Aspen in Hindås (a metropol outside of Gothenburg) has ended, and it was one of the most exciting projects I have done. I was asked to develop a packaging strategy for Aspen, and quite quickly I decided to focus on a sustainable scope, as it is a great interest of mine and it seems more relevant than ever.

Aspen is a local company on a global market selling alkylate petrol for small machinery and motors, which is a product that contains less bad and hurtful chemicals and components that impact machinery, people and environment. The petrol is sold in plastic containers, and I was asked to develop a future packaging strategy for these products.

When my great instructor Magnus gave me a tour in Hindås

Within the first weeks I learned more about alkylate petrol and plastics than I ever thought I would. I was through a thorough 2-week introduction program with my colleagues at Aspen. I read any reports I could get my hands on regarding plastics, and I attended a plastic conference at the UN city in Copenhagen, Bio Plastics conferences in both Copenhagen and Gothenburg, and finally an internal packaging seminar at the Lantmannen HQ in Stockholm.

Within the first month I realised that the most common and impactful path to take with the plastic packaging was an effective return- and recycling system. I proceeded by looking at what the legislators did on local-, national- and international level, what other companies had done, and of course what could be done by us. I finished the project off by looking at a long-term solution with bio plastics instead of fossil-based plastic. After attending the bio plastics conferences I believe that a change of raw material for plastics will happen, but a major change is probably still some years ahead of us.

Life has been good in Sweden the past seven months (Stockholm & Gothenburg), but now it is time to move on to Chicago, where my next project is awaiting. I am going to work for Lantmännen Unibake, and will focus on digital marketing on the American market. I am looking forward to the challenges, as well as living the American dream for the first time in my life.

Stay updated on the blog as Lovisa is about to drop a lit blogpost within few days!

So long!

Mikkel

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Moving to Sweden


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Hi guys,

As one of two foreigners among the trainees, I want to outline how it has been to move abroad for a graduate program.

I was never in doubt whether I would move abroad if the right opportunity appeared, so after getting to know the business, values and vision of Lantmännen, the decision to move here was easy. During my studies I got increasingly interested in sustainability and agricultural development, which align with the sustainable grain value cycle at Lantmännen that focus on sustainable agriculture, green energy, responsible packaging, decreasing climate impact etc.. As a trainee we get to work with such topics, in the first period Johanna worked with a cultivation concept concerning sustainable farming that targeted reduced greenhouse gas emissions, Anton with stakeholder interest in more climate friendly commodities, and now I am doing research on sustainable packaging solutions at Aspen (a company and project that I will present in my next blogpost).

Shared values are one aspect, another one is the ability to cope with a foreign working culture. A Dane in Sweden might not seem as the biggest cultural leap, but there are of course some differences. The Swedish working culture come across as thorough and thought through in my point of view, whereas I as a Dane sometimes is very decisive and result-oriented. Too much of both abilities can turn to a weakness, but I believe that a combination creates a situation where we utilise the strenghts of each other and become better. Additionally, something that I appreciate here is the fika culture. I believe it is a good way to socialise with your colleagues, and a way to create a healthy and constructive working culture. Although Swedes eat more cake than I could ever imagine 😉

 

Life in Sweden in 1 picture

On a personal level the settling in Sweden was rather uncomplicated. As it is my fourth time living abroad, I consider myself kind of an expert in the field, and this has been way easier than dealing with German bureaucracy or South African visa requirements. I socialise a lot here with colleagues, and besides from that I do sports, which gets me friends outside of work. I see team/group activities like sports, book clubs, dance, cooking, you name it, as a great opportunity to get out and meet new people when you move abroad. Also, when you live in Sweden you get a unique opportunity to get out and enjoy some real nature – it is beautiful here!

The graduate program in itself offers an incredible transition from student to professional, as we get to work in four different roles in various geographical locations all over the world. As a trainee at Lantmännen you are trusted by leaders and colleagues, which gives you the freedom to work independently and creatively. The program makes us very versatile due to the many positions, projects and locations that we have to adapt to every 3-4 months. It also enhances our language skills, both the various Scandinavian languages, but also English, German, French etc., as we are travelling around and meeting all kinds of nationalities and cultures. Finally, I want to highlight the organisational understanding that comes with the program. Lantmännen ensures that we are aware of the entire supply chain by showing us plants, productions, farms and shops. So far we have seen several production plants like a pancake factory, multiple grain process plants, mills, energy plants, bakeries and many more.

From one of several company visits – here in the breakfast and pasta production site in Järna

That was my thoughts about moving, and as you probably recognise, I am enjoying life here in “quite alright Sweden” 🙂

So long,

Mikkel

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