In a graduate program, you will reap experiences in turbo speed

Marianne Bom & Rie Jerichow, Publicér

Go for it“, says director Kim Bisgaard from the recruitment company ‘betterpeople’. The graduate programs give a strong and broad experience base for your future career. For everyone with a good average, it is worth diving into it.

Kim Bisgaard has more than 25 years of experience in management and organisational development and recruitment. He is director, partner, and business psychologist in the consulting company ‘betterpeople’ that has two main areas: development and recruiting. The goal is that people and organisations find each other in a valuable collaboration. Photo: ‘betterpeople’.

It is not strange that candidates from the universities line up to be considered for one of the graduate programs that are offered by larger companies as a sort of educational program for the most promising talents. Because in a graduate program, you reap a lot of experience in a short amount of time, says director Kim Bisgaard from the recruitment company ‘betterpeople’.

“You are dealt a very good hand in terms of your further career, when you join a graduate program. In the space of one year, you get three years worth of experience,” says Kim Bisgaard.

“A graduate program is attractive if you want an international career and are up for putting in a lot of hours. The companies expect the candidates to take on a broader role, where they are professionally strong and take responsibility for the organisation’s development within, for instance, management and sales,” he says.

During the program, you also gain an understanding of the different cultures and the organisation and its options for living its full potential.

“In a graduate program, you will not sit alone in a corner with the same assignments. You will be built up to be a key figure that can lift the organisation and create success for the company,” says Kim Bisgaard.

Advice from a mentor
“A graduate program typically lasts two to three years, and the candidate works in different departments – also in other countries. Then comes the offer of education in project management, sales, and technical disciplines, for instance. Often the candidate will be offered a mentor, who is one of the company’s experienced employees. It is a great advantage to have a person to talk to in private, because you can face harsh weather in the speed boat trip that a graduate program also is,” says Kim Bisgaard.

“In a company, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts and a lot of relations that you have to learn to handle. A skilled mentor can help provide insight into the organisation and give tips on how to fulfill your potential. Because even if you come out with high grades and a theoretical knowledge, then many will realize that it is hard to bring the theory into practice,” says Kim Bisgaard.

The road to a graduate program
The companies invest a lot of money into each candidate and are therefore very careful about whom they recruit. The first step to being accepted is being an active part of your studies and getting good grades. Then you have to write a good application, where you explain how you live up to the requirements and what your personal goals with the program are.

Many companies will have chosen applicants do a so-called cognitive test, a sort of intelligence test that gives the company a sense of how big a ‘core processor’ the applicants have, says Kim Bisgaard. It may be a good idea to practice on free tests online.

The applicants will typically get the results of the cognitive tests via mail, and the lucky ones will be called in for the first interview. After a conversation, a group of people are typically selected to partake in an ‘assessment center’. That is a whole day where the applicants solve tasks individually and in teams that compete.

“The assessors will be there all day to evaluate the contesters. They look at how good you are at collaborating and solving tasks under pressure. You have to be yourself, but still be the person that you want to be in the job all day – also at lunch,” says Kim Bisgaard.

Then there will typically be a second interview, and finally the graduate job may be yours.