Maria and Paul Polman2 Business areas

6 months down the line: Maria Snowden, Finance IP

Hi, I’m Maria. I study economics at the University of Bath and am currently an IP on the Finance scheme.

My last blog post was about my experiences in Brand Development for Homecare, which involved business partnering a marketing team and working on everything from
business cases to brand strategies. Over the past few weeks I’ve transitioned from that role to working as part of a project team with external consultants to streamline our cost recovery process. It’s been a strange feeling joining a new team and feeling totally clueless all over again! I’m still based in our Global HQ in Central London, which is a really buzzing office to work in- not to mention being in a perfect location for socializing after work.
Read more “6 months down the line: Maria Snowden, Finance IP”

Raji profile pic Business areas

6 months down the line: Raji Khaira, Marketing IP

Hi my name is Raji and I am currently an undergraduate placement candidate, in marketing at the wonderful world we call Unilever. I study Business and International relations at Aston University. I have worked in retail as a part time job for many years mostly at phone shops, so I enjoy a good sale and definitely love the evolving world of technology. Read more “6 months down the line: Raji Khaira, Marketing IP”

Clodagh profile Local Internship Programme

The Scoop on Ice Cream: Clodagh Chapman, R&D IP

Hi everyone, my name is Clodagh and I’m now almost six months into my year-long placement with Unilever, working as Process Development Technologist within the Ice Cream Category. My role involves working on a number of short-term projects both alone and in a team, with the overall aim to apply an engineering approach to develop, evaluate, and improve processes used to make ice cream across the company.

Settling In…

As for most, the thought of leaving the security of university and starting a full-time job was very daunting. However, thinking back now to what I anticipated a workplace to be like, I could not have been more wrong! I quickly learnt that the ‘real world’ wasn’t quite as intimidating as I expected it to be; not once did I get laughed at for asking a silly question or for getting lost in the offices. Instead, I was greeted with a smile from everyone I met or passed by, and quickly felt like part of the team.

My first week with Unilever was spent taking part in the Ice Cream Technology Course, a training week run annually, which is aimed at newcomers to the category. This meant I gained vital knowledge on every area within the Ice Cream category, as well as having the chance to network with many others based in Ice Cream across the globe.

One thing that surprised me most during my first week – and still surprises me up until today – is how much time and effort goes into the development and production of an ice cream!

Gelato Flavour Profiling

One of my main projects so far has been based on the flavour profiling of a premium gelato company. Seeing as gelato products are so focussed on flavour delivery, this work was important in establishing the flavour profile of current products, as well as seeing how this compares to competitor products.

This was a very technically challenging project, which involved running trials in the pilot plant here at Colworth, as well as analysing the flavour profiles of samples using Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry. This project taught me that even if the work you are given is not something you have directly learnt about at university, you have to apply the skills you have and use your initiative to research and learn about a whole new area of study.

My biggest achievement so far on placement was a result of this project – the huge improvement in my presentation skills. After only ever presenting once at University, I was always very nervous at the thought of having to stand in front of a big group and present alone, but practice makes perfect! After a number of smaller presentations, I was trusted to present my findings to Supply Chain, an important customer of the Ice Cream category, and to a Senior VP in the company.

Life in Bedford

During my placement year, I am living in Bedford – a relatively small town around 60 miles north of London. Getting used to living in a new town where you don’t know anyone is always difficult, but by joining clubs outside of work it didn’t take me long to feel at home.

One of the best things about working full-time is having weekends to yourself – with no guilty thoughts that you should be finishing that assignment for university – so I try to make the most of them! I like to spend my weekends exploring the local area and visiting friends all over the country.

hi-res_Unilever_New_Logo-Hi_tcm13-277541-328x300 Application Tips

Enactus and Unilever

In your time at Unilever as a graduate or placement student, you are set your work goals under a framework known as your “3+1’s” which are linked to the Standards of Leadership (you can find out more about here:  Typically, the “3” of the goals are on “main role” at Unilever and the “+1” is your chance to support and develop Unilever’s graduate recruitment goals. This could mean being a part of an on-campus team promoting Unilever at a university or managing the onboarding process for the next group of students and graduates to join. From now on, you’ll also have the opportunity to work in developing Unilever’s relationship with Enactus UK.

Read more “Enactus and Unilever”

Gus-Kennedy Customer Management (Sales)

A not-so-typical day in the life: Gus Kennedy, Customer…

Hi! I’m Gus and I am spending the year working in Customer Management on the Industrial Placement Scheme. Customer Management or ‘CD’ as we call it internally (Customer Development) is essentially a function that focuses on working with our customers to achieve an outcome that achieves great results for us, our customers and most importantly our consumers (insider tip- this is known at Unilever as a “triple win”). I work in the Impulse/Out of Home Ice Cream business and it’s my role to lead the 2015 Visibility agenda. This basically means I am overseeing the procurement and design of all of our point-of-sale marketing materials, and ensuring they get to market quickly, efficiently and effectively to help our customers sell more ice cream. The role is massively cross-functional, and I often find myself spending more time with our marketing team than our sales team! Visibility is a massive part of the OOH Ice Cream business’ operation and to be given such a massive amount of responsibility from day one is an awesome opportunity that keeps me incredibly motivated and is testament to why the Unilever Industrial Placement is so well thought of.

As cliché as it sounds, there really isn’t a “typical day in the life of” for anyone working for Unilever. As the market and the needs/wants of our customers change we have to flex and adapt. This is true of almost every role I can think of. On almost a daily basis everything your role can change and the goalposts can move as all aspects of FMCG come with a massive degree of unpredictability and variance- this is what makes it so much fun. In my role for example, I could spend the morning in a London design studio and the afternoon in a wholesale depot. Each day all my skills are tested, and whether I’m creatively challenging our art agency to make a Magnum pavement sign look as “on brand” as possible or analytically planning the optimal route to market for 7500 Flying Banners… I am certainly never bored!

My top tip for applying to Unilever would be to really spend some time thinking about the strengths you want to communicate and whether or not these demonstrate the Unilever Standards of Leadership. When applying, you’ll have a whole bank of life experience you can draw on to show what a great candidate you are however it is the candidates who are selective about what they choose to draw on during selection who are successful. “Cherry-picking” different strengths (and evidences of strengths!) that demonstrate the Standards of Leadership is what the talent selection team are looking for. As I mentioned, from day one I was amazed (and a little scared) by what a huge chunk of our operation I was responsible for. Very quickly it becomes clear exactly how necessary the ability to lead is… There’s no one you can offload work to or expect to get ideas from- it’s all you from start to finish!

Robin Business areas

Looking back on my placement year: Robin Elley, Supply…

Hi, I’m Robin and I recently completed an Industrial Placement year at Unilever in the Supply Chain function.  I spent my twelve months at Unilever in Foods Planning working within the Dressings Category whose portfolio contains popular brands such as Hellmann’s and Colman’s. Essentially my role involved making sure the right stock is at the right place at the right time for Customers to order so that demand from Consumers can be fulfilled*. I spent the majority of my time talking to Factories and Sales Teams to make sure that we were producing exactly what was required and hitting all our key deadlines.

This year has been absolutely non-stop. Within of starting four weeks I was having to make calls over whether Salad Dressing production was to stop for the year, to ensure we were left without obsolete stock. Four months along I was solely responsible for planning around ten million jars of Colman’s condiments for Christmas. I really had to hit the ground running, considering the person who I was taking over from had around six years worth of experience within the industry.

My own learning curve throughout the year was incredibly steep; however, by having to cope with high levels of pressure early on, it meant that I was really developing my resilience as a person and gaining skills and experience that most people coming out university without a placement year can only dream of. The year has made me stronger both on paper but also as a potential employee, and I would encourage anyone to pick Unilever as the place to come to if they fancy genuinely having to cope with real responsibility from day one.

*For those who are curious, Customers are the retailers who buy our products with the intention of making it available for purchase by others. Consumers are those individuals who actually use the product once they buy it – like you and I. This is a really useful distinction to be aware of and often comes up in interviews.


Business areas

Marketing Class of 2013

Welcome to the Unilever Marketing Class of 2013; once you’ve had a read, please feel free to post any comments or questions!


Name: Rebecca Mutty

Degree: International Business

University: University of Leeds

Unilever Location: 100VE (London Blackfriars)

Function: Marketing Industrial Placement

Role: Brand Development Global Dressings (Hellmann’s and Maille)


 What Attracted Me to Unilever

  • Over 400 brands around the world in almost every home
  • Products Sold in more than 190 countries
  • Graduate opportunities and focus on personal development
  • Commitment to sustainability and ethical practice worldwide
  • Reputation – top 3 employer on LinkedIn, friendly and fun atmosphere

Why marketing at Unilever?

I wanted a placement that was fast, exciting and dynamic – keeping you on your toes all the time, and the opportunity to have a real role with real responsibility for my own projects that make a visible difference to a brand really attracted me to Unilever. The company is globally renowned for their marketing and the opportunity to work closely with the creative agencies on global campaigns and learn from senior marketers in the business really excited me. Many of the brands have won some big marketing awards and produced some really interesting campaigns.

What does my role involve?

I work in the Global Dressings team across both the Hellmann’s and Maille brands. I work on projects ranging from organising the launch party for the new Maille boutique, assisting with a new global celebrity partnership to leading a project on an exciting new digital platform for Hellmann’s in Brazil and the UK. I work daily with teams from around the world and from different business areas such as supply chain, finance, local BB, legal and communications. No two minutes are the same and I have a huge amount of autonomy and responsibility entrusted in me to lead my projects.


Name: Jordan Addison

Degree: Business & Marketing

University: Sheffield Hallam University

Unilever Location: 100VE (Blackfriars)

Function: Marketing Industrial Placement

Role: Brand Development Domestos Global Team

What Attracted Me to Unilever?

I was attracted to Unilever as the company is so well known. Being from the Wirral, not far from Port Sunlight, where Unilever began, meant that I knew a lot about it. The perception at home is that anyone who works for Unilever is in a great position, so it was my first choice of placement due to the Kudos that came with it.

Why marketing at Unilever?

Marketing is what I chose to do my degree in, so is a career path I wanted to take. Unilever as a marketing company scores extremely high in many recruitment awards such as: “Winner – ‘Marketing employer of choice’ –The Times Graduate Recruitment” and, of course, the brands and products are great.

What does my role involve?

My role is assisting the Brand Manager for Domestos Toilet Blocks. My role is working on projects which will be a mix of new innovative products, re-launches of current products and adding variants to the current range of products.


Name: Emily Dean

Degree: Business Management

University: University of Birmingham

Unilever Location: Leatherhead

Function: Marketing UFLP

Role: Brand Building Premium Personal Care

What Attracted Me to Unilever?

I was initially attracted to Unilever because I wanted to be involved with a company that has such influential marketing campaigns (such as the Dove Real Beauty Campaign). Working for an entity that owns brands which are recognisable across the globe really appealed to me, and made Unilever the ideal employer. I was also very keen to work for a company that has a sustainability focus at its core – the Unilever sustainable living plan confirmed to me Unilever was the company for me.

Why marketing at Unilever?

University helped me discover that my preferred business function was marketing, so this became my career path of choice. Unilever has been recognised as a great marketing company for many years, and I felt the experience and benefits I could gain from a company with this history and marketing expertise would be huge – this made marketing at Unilever a stand out position to me.

My Role

I’m currently working on the launch of several new ranges within the personal care category. It involves helping to organise launch activities, working with agencies and much, much more. There is a lot of responsibility within the role and the ability to work with teams all over the globe – it is a very exciting position with a lot going on!


Name: Bethany Weston

Degree: Business Studies (BSc)

University: Lancaster University

Location: Leatherhead/Blackfriars

Function: Marketing Industrial Placement

Role: Brand Development – PG tips & Lyons


What Attracted Me to Unilever?

I always wanted to work in an FMCG company due to the diversity of the brands they have to offer and for me no one stood out more than Unilever; not only due to its strong market position but also how much time they appeared to invest in the recruitment of University students.

Why marketing at Unilever?

Marketing at Unilever appealed to me due to its strong reputation for graduate opportunities and the brands that were available to work on. The fact they are the Employer of Choice for Graduate Marketing was also a huge reason as to why I applied.

What does my role involve?

My role has involved many different projects since I’ve joined. Being in Brand Development means I work on longer term and larger scale projects such as the brand strategy for the following year, the creation and production of TVC’s and also Print Executions. This has also enabled me to work closely with different agencies across the two brands I work on. Working closely on a new product development has also enabled me to see all different channels of marketing and how time and investment is needed in them before they hit the market.



Name: Abtahee Islam (Abs)

Degree: International Business Management

University: Surrey

Location: Leatherhead

Function: Marketing Industrial Placement

Role: Brand Building – Shopper Marketing for all our Health & Beauty brands in Sainsbury’s

What Attracted Me to Unilever

I applied to Unilever as my top choice as it is the best FMCG company in which you can develop, discover and make a difference.

  • Develop – great reputation for employee development, particularly through placements and Unilever Future Leaders Programme
  • Discover – a truly worldwide company with hundreds of amazing brands presented a chance to work on different things and get a broad experience in business
  • Difference – having being part of a social entrepreneurship charity that Unilever sponsor when I was at Uni the Sustainable Living Plan was of great interest to me. The combination of business, environmental and social challenges  is different to anything other companies are doing and made Unilever stand out to me above its competitors

Why marketing at Unilever?

Brilliant brands. And not just a few, but hundreds of them! To work on one great brand and build that is a marketer’s dream but to be able to work amongst many of them was a really exciting opportunity. Unilever is very much a marketing-led organisation, no wonder it is ranked #1 in marketing for graduate employment. Marketing is what I love doing and what better place to start then the leading marketing employer!

What does my role involve?

Shopper Marketing involves the execution of brands in store, in my case this is for our Health & Beauty brands in Sainsbury’s. This involves working with numerous agencies to design and book in store media as well as working on scale events (such as Sports Relief) and loyalty plans. For example, I recently worked on a Nectar competition event covering 9 of our brands and was responsible for the execution of that in Sainsbury’s. The nature of the role means it is very fast paced but the upside is I can see the results of my work in store on a regular basis!



Name: Francesca Howarth

Degree: International Management with American Business Studies.

 University: University of Manchester

 Unilever Location: Leatherhead

 Function: Marketing UFLP

 Role: Brand Building Dressings (Hellmann’s, Colman’s & Maille)

What Attracted Me to Unilever
Unilever is a fantastic company to work for. Their range of brands and global reach is truly astonishing. Furthermore I knew what a great programme the UFLP was, so it promised a great career opportunity, with great projects and experiences. Also I love the way that Unilever really differentiates themselves in the market with their sustainable living plan, and it is something that I firmly believe in. Once working here, it becomes clear how integral it really is to them, and I think that it’s really fantastic.

Why marketing at Unilever?

My degree was heavily marketing focused, and I had some past work experience in the area so I knew it was something that I was interested in. However where better than Unilever to embark on a career in marketing, after all, they were the winners of ‘marketing employer of choice’ in The Times Graduate recruitment. The tasks and brands that I have been given certainly haven’t disappointed – I’m loving it so far!

 What does my role involve?

My role is the Assistant Brand Manger for Colman’s and Maille, so I am looking after three new product launches next year. Additionally I am the shopper marketer across Hellmann’s, Colman’s and Maille so I’m involved with some really cool in-store promotions and marketing executions. Finally I am also the digital, social media and PR champion across all three of my brands, so amongst other things, I will be looking after the upcoming Facebook launches for Hellmann’s and Colman’s…it’s going to be a busy year, but I can’t wait!



 Name: Amy Longhurst

Degree: Sport Management

University: Loughborough University

Location: 100VE

Function: Marketing Industrial Placement

Role: Brand Development Sunlight Global Team

 What Attracted Me to Unilever

Unilever offers great opportunities for undergraduate and graduates being a globally established and an exciting company with a diverse range of products and a never ending target audience, Unilever was hard to ignore. Unilever sustainability plan also attracted me with the positive impact Unilever has through the brands and voluntary contributions.

Why marketing at Unilever?

The company is globally well-known for marketing being a leading global FMCG manufacture with a wide range of products and strong brands including Lynx, Dove, PG Tips, Pot Noodle and Ben and Jerry’s. The programme also offered valuable experience and an opportunity to work on some of the great Unilever brands!

What does my role involve?

I work in the Global Sunlight Marketing team which is a hand dishwashing brand; however it is not present in the UK. Therefore, on day to day basis I work with teams from all around the world. My projects include working on innovations and the roll out of products in global markets and assisting in the Sunlight brand social mission to set up a Water Centre in Africa to supply safe domestic water to rural communities. My role is so diverse and exciting it allows me to have a true insight on global marketing.



Name: Kirsty Chalmers

Degree: Marketing & Management Honours

University: University of Strathclyde

Location: Leatherhead

Function: Marketing UFLP

Role: Assistant Brand Manager for Hellman’s, BB Dressings Team

What Attracted Me to Unilever

I was attracted to Unilever because I knew I wanted to work in FMCG and on researching lots of companies in the sector Unilever’s charity link ups, sustainability beliefs and way of working really appealed to me.

What does my role involve?

My role involves planning 2014 campaigns, working with many different agencies to deliver our media, PR and digital strategies, following NPDs from start to finish, working very closely with brand building in informing them what is going on in the UK and implementing BD plans in the local market and keeping on top of budgets and spend.

 Anything else you think would be useful to someone interested in Marketing at Unilever?

When Unilever say that they give you real responsibility from the start, they really do. You will be solely responsible for many projects and you will have a very steep learning curve but everyone is very supportive and helpful in taking time to explain processes and systems to you that will help you along the way. There is also a great work life balance at Unilever, showing that you can deliver performance without having to work 15 hour days!


Name: Kirsty Macdonald

Degree: BA Economics and Management, MSc Global Politics

University: Oxford for BA, London School of Economics for MSc

 Placement Location: Leatherhead

 Function: Marketing UFLP

Role: Marketing, Brand Building, Shopper Marketing Executive for Personal Care 

What Attracted Me to Unilever

I wanted to find a company that has strong ethical standards and Unilever ticks that box exactly with its sustainable living plan. By committing to double the size of its business whilst significantly reducing its environmental impact it also showed itself to be ambitious, driven and brave. For marketing specifically, having studied economics and politics I wanted a career that focused on micro consumer behaviour but where large global trends also have an impact.

What does my role involve?

I look at how to bring brands to life in retailers across the country through in-store marketing. For this you’ve got to be pretty on top of current shopper and consumer trends, work closely with each customer and understand the brands you’re working on inside out. Currently, I am working for Lynx on a new fragrance and helping to land it in each major retailer in the UK – very exciting!

Anything else you think would be useful to tell people interested in marketing at Unilever?

Beware about eating too much Ben&Jerry’s!


Name: Ed Latham

 Degree: Business Management BA

 University: University of Exeter

 Location: Leatherhead

 Function: Marketing UFLP

 Role: Brand Building PG Tips

  What attracted me to Unilever and Marketing

Firstly, I did a summer placement which I really enjoyed. It was very challenging but an incredible introduction to the company so I was very confident about where I wanted to work. Also, as a company Unilever stood out because of the clear set of environmental ambitions directing the business and the incredible scope of the company. Also, Unilever’s profile of world famous brands was a huge draw. The opportunity to work on brands that everyone knows and loves is really inspiring. Finally, the career development that the UFLP offers is an amazing start to a career in marketing.

 My Role

I’m working on PG Tips as Assistant Brand Manager which is a really exciting team to work on. In my role I work with agencies, to help develop our plans to achieve our brand’s aims and objectives, liaise with the Customer Development teams, manage budgets for my projects and perform data analysis to keep track of the market. A lot of my job is project management: I have ownership of a few projects which I lead. It means that there are challenges presenting themselves all the time but that’s all part of the fun.

Human Resources

The HR Effect

HR at Unilever – an Industrial Placement.

First of all I’d like to quell the myth around what HR is all about – often it is seen as ‘hiring and firing’ and I can quite honestly say that this is not the case at Unilever! I have been on an industrial placement for the past eight months and have found the journey to be a whirlwind of exiting projects and fascinating learning opportunities, surrounded by a constant buzz caused by meeting and working alongside the most diverse range of people!

Similarly the industrial placement can often be descriped as a year of becoming the ‘chief tea-maker’! If your aspiration is to perfect your tea making skills then you can visit our site in Colworth where I had the opportunity to create my own Jubilee themed tea – however be warned that if this is your only goal then perhaps Unilever is not the place for you. On the other hand if you love a challenge and being given the opportunity to get involved in things that will challenge and excite you then look no further!

 My journey along HR Highway.

So what can you get involved with? The better question is probably what you can’t get involved in! HR covers a whole range of areas from talent and team-building to performance and reward. I have had the opportunity to: project manage a new employee discounts scheme across the UK and Ireland; dive in to absence management and how we can support employees when the economy is in such a bad state; research in to the world of apprenticeships and write a proposal on how we can bring more in to the business; and look at youth employability and how we can really drive some change in this area by creating opportunities for young people. And this is only the project work I have been involved with! Day-to-day I also learn about HR basics by engaging with things such as performance workshops and employee relations cases, as well as shadowing meetings within other areas of the business, such as finance, to learn about how other business areas interact.

HR is the machine that drives the business.

HR at Unilever touches all aspects of the business – helping people to be the best they can be. So if you are passionate about people and driving the business forward then this could well be the right journey for you!