Hej Traineeprogrammet & Hej Holland!

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Finally time to post my first entry! So here it goes:

Today I got the question: what does it feels like to start working after uni?
And my answer was: it’s surprisingly easy.
But of course this is not entirely true; it can also be highly complex and has its ups and downs. So, I will share my stories and experiences with you as honestly as possible.

When finding myself at the end of my engineering studies, I spent much time reflecting upon how I wanted the journey to continue. All of a sudden it was time to get out of that marvelous bubble of student life in Lund. Being a “generalist specialist” (as I this weekend learnt that my education can be labeled, thanks for the expression!), and also curious as a person, I ended up in parallel recruiting processes. This period was interesting because one day you think you have learnt something about yourself and your aspirations, only to have a setback and doubt it the next day. I had long knew though, that a trainee program would be a interesting way of bridging the gap, while it offers a professional environment where you get introduced to several areas, presented to a broad range of challenges and start to build your network from day one. Furthermore, the focus is on learning as much as possible about the organisation and developing your own skills! So in the end, when the opportunity presented itself, I finally followed my gut feeling (facilitated by the professional but yet highly engaged and welcoming atmosphere experienced during the recruitment process) and accepted a trainee position at Scania CV AB – a choice I am very happy with.


It has now been almost 3 months (my god, that went quick!) and there’s heaps of stuff that I would like to share in this forum. But let’s start with the most recent experience; my first business trip. To the Netherlands. Alone. I have been given the responsibility for a project with rather blurry frames which I am to fill with content, with the help of a resource in Holland. This is of course challenging, and sometimes I just wish that someone would tell me what to do. But I also know that wouldn’t be as fun in the end. The project targets how we can work to better create an understanding of the flow of products all the way to our end customers. Hence, 1 1/2 week ago I was kinda nervous and did not know how to fill the agenda for the three day long visit, but then I reminded myself; if you want challenges, go grasp the opportunities! So off I went, and it was incredibly instructive.

Since I am currently employed within the industrial side, this trip was also a way for me to learn how the same flow can be interpreted from the commercial point of view. The distributor I visited is located in Breda, a two hour flight and an additional one hour train trip from Stockholm. I felt rather excited waking up at the hotel, knowing that I would get picked up and spend my day at this head office. I gladly experienced that the entire day had been dedicated to me, where a manager and I sat down to discuss the project, their market setup and challenges, and how to proceed from here. And once again it struck me how open and friendly the employees are at this company; willing to share information and experiences. This is built into the Scania culture, where one of the core values is ‘Respect for the Individual’, and we seek to capture the knowledge, experience and ambition of each individual to continuously improve and develop. I personally feel I thrive in an environment where knowledge sharing is encouraged and the standard answer (at least to my experience so far) is: “Of course, just book a meeting in my calendar!”


During my second day I got to attend pulse meetings and to further discuss the project with several employees. I also seized the opportunity to get an introduction to our pre-sales tool and to have lunch with some of the managers (sushi buffet, yay!). Moving on to Amsterdam, which was the second stop of the trip. The hotel was situated in an industrial part of town and the dealer just a 10 minute drive from there. Spent a full day at the local sales back office, where I got to experience how they work with planning activities and how complex the flow setup can be; from the chassis delivered from factory, to the point where the vehicle is ready to be picked up by the customer (I think I am growing rather fond of our products, they can be pretty cool…). The atmosphere was, again, open and the colleagues seemed to enjoy each others company – at least we laughed more or less during the entire lunch. Knowing I had learnt a lot about this market and our customers, I entered the workshop just in time to see some of them picking up their vehicles before it was time to close the business for this day.


Someone liked the Swedish handicraft.


Time for me to wrap up this day and blog post as well.


PS. Breda is a pretty little town, which seems to host a great amount of cosy restaurants, cafes and pubs. Happy to discover this part of the country as well!


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“Never stop being a trainee”

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Last week was a very interesting week for sure! Not only did I get the opportunity to have lunch with Christopher Podgorski, Senior Vice President Trucks. But I also got to meet a bodybuilder and visited a dealer and the distributor in Sweden.

Wait what, bodybuilder? What does this have to do with work?

As some of you might know, a concrete mixer on a truck as an example is not made by the truck manufacturer, it’s made by a bodybuilder. So a bodybuilder in this case is not the same definition that you can find on Wikipedia (“Bodybuilding is the use of progressive resistance exercise to control and develop one’s musculature”), it’s a company building bodies for trucks. The world of bodybuilders (haha) is a totally different thing than the modularised world we are used to at Scania. We often compare our product with Lego, and that our strength is that we are the best at combining the Lego parts together in a structured way so that the Lego box does not look like the floor of a messy children’s room. But when it comes to bodybuilding, everything is custom made. So basically, it is like putting Lego, Duplo and building blocks together and expect that it doesn’t fall apart when someone is moving.

The meeting with the bodybuilder didn’t have much to do with my current assignment. But this is one of the advantages with being a trainee – you can join in on meetings and go on study visits just to learn something new even if it is not super relevant to your current tasks. It was a really interesting meeting with a lot of technical discussions. This is definitely a priceless experience for me. You might think that this was not really a big deal, but I insure you that it was! I learned a lot!

Last Friday, all of us trainees were booked to visit the Scania dealer in Kungens Kurva and Scania-bilar Sverige AB which is the distributor in Sweden. At both the dealer and the distributor, we got really good presentations where we could ask lots of questions. And at the dealer we also got a tour of two of the three workshops. If it weren’t for the reason that my trainee colleague is working at the dealer this period and wanted to invite us, we wouldn’t have gotten this great opportunity! Definitely a positive thing with being a trainee.

These visits opened up a whole new world with ways of thinking that me and my fellow trainees will take with us and apply in our other work. For many of us, this was the first introduction to sales strategies and how the actual sales- and service organization works. It was a really educational day!

One thing that I will remember extra strongly are these sayings: “Never stop being a trainee”, “Once a trainee, always a trainee.” The title trainee will disappear, but in that sense that we are changing positions in the company, applying best practice everywhere we go, that we should never stop with. And as I have said before. This is when it starts. Once a trainee, Always a trainee.

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