An International Career in Supply Chain Operations – Intern to Process Manager

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Schneider’s flexible arrangement helped me to get my first job

My recruitment into Schneider Electric as a new graduate was somewhat unorthodox. I graduated with a mechanical engineering degree in Brazil in 2016, and I was trying to find my place in the industry due to limited options in Brazil. I decided to pursue a master’s degree in Nanotechnology in Budapest, Hungary. When I arrived in Budapest, I had a job lined up, it was a call center for a bank, and I stayed there for three months until I was contacted on LinkedIn by a recruiter at Schneider.

Schneider offered me an engineering internship position, working 24 hours a week, in this way I could accommodate my master’s degree. They gave me all the flexibility necessary. Needless to say, I felt grateful to have their support for completing my studies. In the first few months, I received training in Industrial Engineering under Supply Chain. It coached in a learning-at-the-job approach from managers and peers in the business. In that same year, I entered an internal competition for Millennials in the Global Supply Chain, Equipment and Transformers business unit, where we worked in groups to suggest improvement ideas for Schneider. At the outcome of this competition, the teams met with our business unit leaders, they listened to our ideas and we finalized a 1 on 1 meeting to discuss career and development plans. In the following year, I attended a workshop on women leadership, and they offered me a full-time position in the UK, covering my work visa.

The best thing about Schneider Electric’s culture

One of the selling points of Schneider for me is the support and empowerment I receive from my managers. They are true leaders, they take time to train me on the factory processes and give me clear responsibilities, demonstrating that my work accounts for our deliverables. Their recognition of my contributions, even if limited at the beginning as I was still learning, is one of the major reasons I choose to stay at Schneider Electric. They help build my confidence, skills and believe that I can achieve more.

International assignment across my journey

After completing my master’s degree, I relocated to Leeds, the UK, in March 2020. Admittedly, I felt intimidated by their English, experience, and knowledge, but I didn’t let anyone see. I started to blend in, to learn their ways of working, and I kept focused on not being afraid of reaching out to people and asking – what in my head were – stupid questions. I think it is one of the most important pieces of advice I can give to new graduates: don’t be afraid to ask questions. I know you will feel sorry to bother others with your questions, but how fast you learn and your success in a company depends highly on that.

“Their recognition of my contributions, even if limited at the beginning as I was still learning, is one of the major reasons I choose to stay at Schneider Electric. They help build my confidence, skills and believe that I can achieve more”

After a few months in the UK working as an Industrial Performance Leader, I drafted my development plan and presented it to my managers. And it followed my next career move: to become a process manager. That is a step into my main objective, which is to become a plant manager in a few years, and at first, I honestly thought I was nowhere near ready for a leadership role. My managers supported me to work on the gaps, and in January 2021, I became the manager of one of the production lines in the Leeds factory, with a team of around 80 people.

Advice to fresh graduates

This November marks my fourth year working for Schneider, and I can summarize it as I worked on something solid and in a nurtured environment. I put in my best efforts, and I leveraged my manager’s interest to develop me.

Working in Global Supply Chain Operations and specifically in an Engineer-to-Order facility offered a great opportunity to learn the in-depth mechanisms of the supply chain, each of its support functions, and the harmony among them needed to create the best products for our customers. Therefore, I leave here my final advice for new graduates: starting your career in Supply Chain operations can be one of the greatest foundations for a career in Engineering. There is the opportunity to learn multiple topics within the supply chain or specialize in one of them. Lastly, take advantage of the opportunities and put your best efforts into them so that soon after, you will no longer feel like a new graduate.

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About the Author

Erica is a specialty within the Global Supply Chain, including operational leadership and managing the end-to-end Engineer To Order (ETO) processes. Erica holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in Brazil and a Master’s degree in Physics – Nanotechnology in Hungary. Her current job role is to manage the production of Genie Evo, primary switchgear & OKKEN, low voltage switchgear in Leeds – UK.

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  • Your journey is very inspiring! Thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks author for giving some advice. I am a graduate . Now, I work in a company which called okmarts. I also ask my collegues some questions, so I think it can help me tackle issue and improve my ability.

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