Tom 1 Business & Technology Management (BTM)

My First 6 Weeks in BTM: Tom Heywood, SP

Hi everyone, I’m Tom and I am currently doing a summer placement in BTM.

It was only on my induction day that I found out just how broad the roles within BTM actually were. I was going to be working in Consumer IT, the worry about my ineptitude at coding set in! What had I done? I haven’t done IT since GCSE!

My first day however quickly alleviated my fears with my line manager explaining what the role of IT within BTM actually is. Consumer IT requires you to be a problem solver, partnering with brands globally to manage projects and develop solutions to allow the business to grow in a changing marketplace (not the coding and software development I had feared!!!).

My role is within the global sustainability and traceability team under the wide reaching umbrella of Consumer IT.  Partnering with technology providers like Vodafone to deliver IT innovation to the business and the brands.

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Networking was one of the most important tasks of my first weeks, meeting the team and other employees from across from the business helped me quickly learn about the company’s culture. The friendly ‘Unilever people’ speed the settling in process but it was the wave of immediate responsibility that makes you feel part of the business. One of the truly unique aspects of working within BTM is how cross functional your work is. Project management is a huge part of your role as you deliver projects for all areas of the business whether it be the digital team developing websites, or traceability projects for supply chain and brands. You are given huge exposure to all areas of the business.

I thought I’d talk about one of my projects at this point, the one I have chosen is not the one I spend the most time on, but it is one that I feel completely sums up Unilever as a business and has allowed me to truly live the USLP. This was a key project in my first couple of weeks and was my first experience of responsibility. The project is working with foodbanks in the UK partnering with external strategic business partners to bring together a technology platform of relationship management tools to enable them to meet the growing demand. As well as providing them with business training, organising volunteering events and managing the process.

This is not the project I am working on that is developing business radical growth through revolutionary IT innovation like my other projects. This for me is the beauty of Unilever not only are you encouraged to think differently in order to innovate business growth but you are also provided with projects and time to drive positive social change. The sustainability team is now an increasing driver of business growth, the continued acceleration towards truly sustainable business is an exciting area to be part of. Unilever remains at the forefront of sustainable business practice amongst FMCG’s and being part of this area has allowed me to see where it is going.

The First 6 weeks have gone fast! Working on challenging projects has allowed me to gain valuable experience in the corporate environment and gain that all important commercial awareness. From just a few months ago as a Geography student, talking about the theories of sustainability and sustainable development; to having the opportunity to be involved in the application of these theories has been unbelievably exciting and rewarding in equal measure!

Now into my final few weeks the time is upon me to start the handover process of my projects and beginning the self-evaluation process for which special time with my manager is set aside. What I wanted from my placement at Unilever was to develop my skills as well as gaining an understanding of the corporate world and Unilever more specifically. I have had the privilege of working with VP’s across the business and this exposure to senior managers has been a steep learning curve but one I feel has driven a great deal of personal development. Being part of a team who is driving sustainable business development so quickly and positively has been a sense of real personal enjoyment and has justified everyday my decision to work at Unilever.

BTM (2) Business & Technology Management (BTM)

BTM Class of 2013

In BTM we leverage technology to efficiently solve the business challenges faced by Unilever

After Reading these blog entries feel free to leave a comment or question and we’ll get back to you!

 

Laura – UFLP
LauraI joined Unilever on the UFLP Scheme after obtaining my Masters in Computer Science from University College Dublin. This time last year I didn’t really have a clue what I was going to do once I finished my degree. I was in the final few months of a Computer Science course and I had it in my head that I had signed myself up for a life sitting in front of a computer screen staring at reams of code day in, day out. Fair play to people who do this and enjoy it but I was NOT pleased by this prospect, it’s just wasn’t for me.

At a careers fair at my Uni, I was lucky enough to have a chat with a Unilever representative. I had heard of Unilever and had a good idea of what the company did but I had no idea they had a graduate programme which was IT related. The rep explained the programme a bit more to me. It all sounded great and had me pretty much hooked on the idea straight away. After doing a bit more research I found out that it sounded exactly like what I wanted to do, working on IT related projects, learning project management skills by working with others. The best part was: No coding involved! Being from an IT background wasn’t even a requirement. Most people already on the graduate programme were from completely different fields.

The application process programme was pretty tough if I’m being honest. There are a lot of stages and it does require some time and effort but I promise you it’s totally worth it in the end. It can be hard to balance when you’re also dealing with assignments and exams but it’s all over and done with by March and should only take 4-6 weeks in total

Anyway, as you can probably tell, I got the job and I absolutely love it so far. My first placement involves working on a project rolling out Chatter to others in the company. Chatter islike an internal Facebook just for Unilever employers where we can chat and collaborate on projects and ideas. It’s a really great project and I’m learning a huge amount. My friends all used to make fun of me for being a Facebook addict so now I’ve swapped Facebook for a different Social Network. My days are spent working with people from all different functions, in many different countries. I really like the diversity of the job and constantly meeting new people keeps things interesting. I do a lot of training presentations and demos with others in the company so it has been a really great role for building up my network of people in other functions.

As for future placements, I don’t really know what I’ll be doing yet. You change roles every 6 – 9 months while on the graduate scheme so I’ll find out what I’ll be doing next in the coming months. I have a manager who is in charge of my placements so I’ve had a chat with him about what I’d like to do next. There are opportunities to work in lots of different areas including digital marketing, sustainable living, IT across different geographies, services and IT innovation. There are also many opportunities to work abroad. Some people from the year ahead of us have been based in Singapore and India. BTM graduates are also encouraged to do one placement in a different function which is of interest to them. This is a really great opportunity as it gives you a better idea of how the business works as a whole.

So that’s my experience so far. Best of luck with the applications. I hope to see you next year on the BTM Scheme!

David – IP
UntitledI’m David, a student from Lancaster University.  When I was looking for placements, I knew I wanted to work for a company where I would be given real responsibility, challenging assignments, global opportunities and an environment that prioritises individual growth. Unilever has provided that and much more. Working within BTM means that I am surrounded by innovation and can really make a difference to the day-to-day running of Unilever which has been really exciting since day one.

I work within IT innovation which allows me to get involved with a wide variety of different projects. The primary focus of my role is on providing custom-built mobile applications designed to help improve the productivity of employees worldwide. I support the design, testing and deployment of these apps whilst ensuring that the project is running smoothly. With over 100,000 global employees, there is a lot of scope to make a huge difference! My work supports Unilever’s culture that allows employees to work from any location at any time – a concept called agile working. This has given me the opportunity to work closely with multiple suppliers and deliver to senior stakeholders within the business.

BTM doesn’t require you to be a technical person, but you have to be willing to learn and adapt to the constantly changing world of technology. I am involved in multiple projects that are updating Unilever infrastructure to meet the needs of a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous). It’s been really interesting to delve into the world of IT Infrastructure and manage solutions to some of the huge problems facing the business. BTM is a really fast-moving and varied function, I urge anyone who’s contemplating applying to go for it – you won’t regret it!

 

George – IP
George-Taylor

I’m George, a Business and Technology Management Industrial Placement student. I chose to apply for Unilever because I was excited to be a part of an innovative, consumer product based global company whose brands and products are seen every day, all around us. I chose to apply for BTM because of the opportunity to work in a constantly changing environment where you’re always looking for better ways to do business through effective use of innovation and technology. I was also attracted by the great opportunities offered by the UFLP, and with Unilever being a global organisation, the potential to work abroad.

 I work in the Supplier Management Team. We manage global contracts between Unilever and our key suppliers of Technology and IT Services. This shapes the way we do business on a huge scale. I love my job because I get to see tangible results of global negotiations that result in millions of pounds worth of savings, and plenty of exposure to some of the biggest projects going on throughout Unilever,. Much of the work I have been involved in during my first 3 months has been to do with managing and improving the performance of suppliers, primarily on their delivery of Business and Technology Services. A recent example of this work is my development of a Supplier Scorecard, a tool for monitoring the performance of key suppliers. This involves collaborating with suppliers and using my creative initiative to look for new ways to improve both the way we monitor their performance, and the way they deliver their service to Unilever.

BTM gives a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of implementing new and improved technologies throughout the business. One project I am currently working on is the roll out of a tool for signing documents digitally. Not only is this sustainable but it could save Unilever masses of cash by reducing ink and paper usage throughout the company, not to mention time and effort! This is a great example of where I have the potential to make a genuine improvement to the way Unilever do effective and efficient business through an improvement in technological ways of working.

 

UnileverU Business & Technology Management (BTM)

Unilever UK & Ireland Locations

One of the questions we get asked most on our Facebook page is “Where will I be based?” and also “Can you guarantee my location?”. This post will hopefully answer all your location questions!

So, where might you be based? The UFLP is a geographically flexible scheme – meaning you move around for placements, making sure you get the best experience possible, working with lots of different teams and in different situations. Each function is slightly different, with different key sites where you’ll be working. You are supported by Unilever to move house each placement move 🙂

Industrial and Summer placements will have one location (usually) for the whole duration – and this will be confirmed when you are assigned a role. We don’t usually guarantee locations for anyone applying to the UFLP or Industrial and Summer Placement schemes.

Business & Technology Management (my function)

In BTM, you’re most likely to be working in:
– St. Davids Park (North Wales) – when working here grads tend to live in Chester or Liverpool. This site is closing and moving to Port Sunlight at the end of 2014, so you’re less likely to work here as more people move over to…
– Port Sunlight (Liverpool-ish) – again, working here people tend to live in Chester or Liverpool.
– Kingston (London) – our newly refurbished services centre, Kingston office is based right in Kingston town centre – trainees tend to live in Clapham or Wimbledon (or anywhere else in London) to work here.
– Those are the 3 most likely sites, but you can also do stints at Blackfriars (100VE), Leatherhead and Colworth. You do an out of function placement, and for that you will be based at a site for the relevant function.

Customer Management (Sales) and Marketing 

Customer Management & Marketing are mostly London-based placements. It’s quite rare that you’d be based at other offices right now. You’re most likely to be in:
– Leatherhead (Surrey) – Our UK Headquarters, where we have an awesome Ben & Jerry’s Bar. Most grads tend to live in Clapham or Wimbledon and commute out.
– Blackfriars (London) – 1 of our 2 Global Headquarters (the other one is in Rotterdam, NL) . Again, most people live in Clapham or Wimbledon, mostly so they don’t have to move house when moving between the two!
You could also be based at our Tigi or Ben & Jerrys HQs, which are also in London.

In Customer Management (Sales), there is also an opportunity to be based in Dublin (Our Irish HQ) for your 2nd Placement.

R&D

Research & Development are mostly based at our Research & Development sites. You’re also likely to do an out-of-function placement in Supply Chain, CD or Marketing, which will most likely be based in Leatherhead or Blackfriars.
– Leeds – We have an R&D site for Deos up in Leeds – most grads tend to live in Leeds itself.
– Colworth (Bedford) – Our Colworth site is where a lot of ice cream and tea is developed – most grads tend to live in Bedford
– Port Sunlight (Liverpool-ish) – Our Liverpool site is where a lot of personal care and home care research goes on. Most grads tend to live in Liverpool or Chester.

Supply Chain

In Supply Chain, you tend to do 4 placements – a planning role and a customer service role – usually both based at Leatherhead (or maybe Leeds), and then a project role and a factory shift management role – these roles could be based across the UK – the factories where you’re most likely to be based are:

– Norwich – The home of Colman’s mustard!
– Gloucester – Where you can taste the most delicious ice cream straight off the production line!
– Seacroft (Leeds) – Where the infamous Lynx is made, along with all of our other aerosols.
– Port Sunlight (Liverpool-ish) – Our Laundry Factories are all based on at Port Sunlight – most grads tend to live in Liverpool or Chester.
You could also be based at Crumlin, Purfleet, Slough, Doncaster, Burton, Trafford Park or Warrington.

Finance & HR

Financial Management and Human Resources Management trainees could be based pretty much at any of our sites! You tend to support different teams to get a breadth of experience. You will usually do at least one placement at Leatherhead or Blackfriars in both Finance and HR, and then you might go to any of our offices (the R&D sites, plus Kingston, Dublin and the TIGI & Ben & Jerrys HQs in London),  or any of our factories (see the supply chain list).

This list hopefully helps you to understand a bit more about where you’re likely to be based when working in the UK & Ireland – it’s not exhaustative unfortunately  but the majority of sites are mentioned above! Many of our schemes offer international placements when you could be based anywhere from Durban to Singapore to Sao Paulo. As a grad, you get used to going where you’re told as you know a really exciting placement is waiting for you there – and usually there will be at least a few other grads placed in the same location.

Let us know if you have any other questions – the best place to ask is on Facebook or Twitter!

msvg Business & Technology Management (BTM)

2 Months In

msvg

I joined the Business and Technology Management graduate programme in September 2012 and, as someone who has just recently gone through the process, I am excited by the opportunity to provide some insight into my experiences with Unilever so far.

I think I speak for most when I say that all grads felt some trepidation at what lay ahead prior to starting, even up to the point when we all clambered onto a bus to travel to the hotel for our induction week at the start of September. Within a couple of hours, however, I was strapped to another graduate as part of the 3-legged race in the “Unilever Olympics” and, by that point, it’s safe to say any existing barriers had dissipated!

Various social events ensued throughout the week in conjunction with the presentations and activities that had been planned to further our understanding of Unilever. I was surprised by the number of senior leaders who were prepared to give up precious time to welcome us to the company. A personal highlight involved visiting one of our distribution centres in Cannock, before continuing our journey onto Port Sunlight. Perhaps embarrassingly, I had always been intrigued by how they make the Persil tablets so this was a welcome discovery! This was followed by two days spent within our specific business areas – a mix of work and fun – which provided further clarity around our roles and expectations.

My first placement has involved working with global teams in a business partnering role on a project called “Workplace”. This has entailed working on three sub projects; namely around reporting strategy, Master Data and the implementation of an energy monitoring solution for all non-manufacturing workplaces.

I’ve spent the first two months of my placement based out of our global office (100  Victoria Embankment) in central London, which has been great; aside from being an impressive building in a prime location, it has allowed me to gain close proximity to the business, our customers and consumers. There has been a real buzz here and it’s a gentle reminder of why what we’re all doing is so important.

Having said that, along with hundreds of other colleagues, my team will be relocating to Kingston as part of an exciting office move over the next couple of weeks. There has been a huge initiative to refurbish the office in recent months – in line with Unilever’s commitment to agile working – and I feel privileged to be one of the first to enjoy all of their hard work (needless to say, the Unilever shop has been well stocked in anticipation of our arrival!).

Working across three projects, I have been fortunate to meet three times as many people and I have been humbled by the amount of time and effort colleagues are prepared to give up to facilitate my learning and development. My manager is supportive (and patient!) but also encourages me to take ownership for my work – every day brings welcome challenges.

My experience at Unilever so far has surpassed expectations. The wealth of opportunity on offer soon becomes apparent and it’s refreshing to experience this as part of an established and supportive graduate network. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead!

(Thanks to MSVG on Flickr for the photo)

mrallwrighty Business & Technology Management (BTM)

Sink or Swim?

mrallwrightyWhen was the last time you were thrown in the deep end? When was the last time you ASKED to be put there?

3 weeks ago, I did – without really noticing it! But if you’re never in deep water, you’ll never learn to swim. My name’s Catherine and I’ve just started on the Business & Technology Management Future Leaders Programme. And I think I can proudly say I’m currently doing doggy paddle – not quite swimming smoothly, but moving in the right direction and learning new things every day!

My first placement is in Application Services, which is a team based up in Port Sunlight, near Liverpool. If you think about all the Apps you have installed on your phone, they all have to be created by someone, and then someone has to look after the service so you can keep using it. In Application Services, we look after those ‘someones’. The applications are slightly more important than things like Angry Birds (As much as you try to convince yourself it’s time well spent!) – we deal with things like our global intranet site and the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)systems around the world.

Looking after the ‘someones’ generally means working very closely with external suppliers – and making sure they’re doing what they’re being paid to do. When I started, one of the three things my team asked me to do in my 6 months on this placement, was to organise a new scorecard for us to monitor the service quality we are receiving from one particular supplier.

So, what was it I asked to do a couple of weeks ago? My line manager had arranged a call with a new supplier that she thought would be perfect to create this new scorecard for. She asked me to come along, as I would be managing the project. On the call I got more and more confused as to why we were going to pay this supplier to run a pilot, when I thought it was something I could do with a little bit of extra training in Excel. After the call, I was umming and ahhing about what to do, because my line manager was just about to sign a purchase order to authorise us paying this supplier. I took the initiative to tell my line manager that I wanted to give the scorecard a shot first and she said I should go ahead.


3 weeks down the line, a lot of time speaking to different people to find all the data to go into the scorecard, as well as quite a few hours in Excel, I have a beautiful mock-up my line manager is impressed with. It’s still a work in progress, and we still might bring the external suppliers in to maintain the scorecard and take it onto the web at a later date, but right now I feel like I’ve saved Unilever quite a bit of money. I’ve had a chance to make a real difference to the company just one month after I started

Give me a couple more weeks and I’m sure I’ll have progressed to a kind of messy front crawl – keep checking the blog for progress!

(Thanks to MrAllWrighty on Flickr for the awesome photo)