Introduction to Schneider’s Development Program
Have you ever dreaded the question, “Where do you plan to be in 5 years?” As a senior in college, this question would make my stomach do backflips like it was trying to win gold in the Olympics. I’ve always been an ambitious person but never felt I had zeroed in on an exact career path. If this sounds like you, I hope I can offer guidance but if this isn’t your cup of tea- stick around anyway.
In this blog, I want to offer insight into my Cross-Functional Leadership Development Program (CFLDP or LDP) journey and how it’s made answering this question a bit easier. Keep reading to learn about:
- My personal LDP timeline
- Development Program tips
- Growth after the experience
“Talent means nothing, while experience, acquired in humility and hard work, means everything.”
– Patrick Suskind
Before telling you about my experience in this rotational program, I think it’s only fitting to tell you about myself. My name is Storm Cornelius, and I grew up between Texas and New York for most of my life, but Houston is home. As an undergrad student, I studied for two degrees, B.S. Innovation Entrepreneurship and B.S. UX Engineering. A mouth full of descriptors to say I can write a mean business plan and make fun websites.
So let’s go back to 2019, my senior year of college. I had no idea where I wanted to plant my feet and grow, but I was sure I didn’t want to be stuck in a cubicle doing mind-numbing work. What motivated me then and still does now is contributing good back into the world and being challenged. With this in mind, you can imagine my peaked interest when I saw a posting for LDP on Schneider’s career portal. I saw an opportunity that gave me the freedom to try roles I may have never considered and a chance to enter an industry to which I had little exposure. I had to apply!
What Interested Me About Schneider
Several things peaked my interest about Schneider Electric, including the fact that the company was focused on sustainability and giving back to the planet, and that the employees posting on their personal LinkedIn profiles genuinely seemed to love working there. From these posts I could tell it was a safe, inclusive, and diverse atmosphere.
Diversity in a company is important to me. As an undergrad, I was involved in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), serving on the executive board as the Vice President of Events. After accepting my job offer for Schneider, I attended NSBE45 and was thrilled to be able to meet with SE employees there, and share my excitement of soon joining the company. I’m proud to still be able to work with NSBE through our Schneider Electric partnership, and continue to help increase attraction, recruitment, and retention of Black professionals.
My Development Program Experience
One of the most unique parts of our development programs is the rotational element. As part of the LDP program, employees rotate through a variety of roles to gain experience and exposure in different areas. Below is a snapshot of my time in the program and my specific rotations. However, there are many different roles and locations available across the country.
- Rotation 1: Customer Project Engineer – Secure Power, Data Center Solutions
Nashville, TN (July 2019-June 2020)
- Rotation 2: Digital Excellence Specialist – Secure Power, Commercial Operations
Nashville, TN (June 2020-July 2021)
- Rotation 3: Lean Office Specialist – Customer Transformation
Boston, MA (July 2021-June 2022)
I graduated from the LDP program in June 2022 and am excited to share I now have a full-time role as a Software Sales Executive within our digital power organization. In my role, I focus on developing sales enablement materials for our energy management software. I ensure our internal sales forces are aligned with our offers and able to speak to our products.
As part of this role, I also will eventually be the synergy point person for a new software launching in the future. I’ll act as a conduit between the customer and our sales team, helping to expose our customers to Schneider Electric’s solutions. After that initial connection, I’ll connect our customers with subject matter experts to continue the sales process.
My rotations gave me exposure to different areas of the company, and as graduation approached, I was able to connect with different employees to learn about their roles, discuss my career goals with my mentor, and learn about internal opportunities to figure out what my next step should be. For anyone considering a development program like this, I’d like to share some tips that helped me succeed.
Development Program Tips
- Be flexible: This program requires you to relocate and pivot to a new role every year. If you aren’t open to moving or changing teams, maybe this path isn’t for you (yet).
- Networking is EVERYTHING: Don’t entirely rely on the program to find your next rotation. Get out of your comfort zone and meet people outside of your current team- you never know what you might learn.
- Get involved: Engaging with internal communities can propel your understanding of SE and, of course, grow your network at the company.
- Stay hungry: You can be on the road to success and still get hit by standing too still. Work-life balance is essential but be mindful of what value you’re bringing back to your team. Challenge yourself to take on more as your skills develop. Think of this as showing up for your future self.
Growth after the Experience
So now you might be wondering if I know where I’ll be in 5 years. While I can’t provide an exact answer, I know I want to continue evolving into a strong leader in the company. This program has been the catalyst for my professional transformation, and I don’t plan on losing steam any time soon.
If you’re looking for a company to jumpstart your career, apply today! You can apply for the United States Cross Functional Leadership Development Program now, and search for other openings in the Schneider Electric jobs portal.
About the Author
Storm Cornelius is a Software Sales Executive at Schneider Electric. In her spare time, she enjoys tending to her mini succulents, traveling around the world, and listening to music.
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