Inside Mars’ Management Traineeship: Stephanie on the Mars Leadership Experience

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The General Management Traineeship at Mars offers graduates a flying start in the FMCG industry. This three-year program includes three distinct roles within the company, each focused on developing skills in project management, team leadership, and strategic decision-making at both national and international levels.

Stephanie Slee is a management trainee at Mars, currently serving as the Customer & Category Manager for the BE-KIND brand. Read our interview with Stephanie to learn about her initial months at Mars, her growth in her role, her future plans, and discover valuable tips for those just starting out in the job market.

Can you tell us more about the traineeship?

It’s been almost eight months since I started the traineeship and my first role as Customer & Category Manager for the BE-KIND brand. During this time, I have gained a wealth of diverse and enjoyable experiences. From working on category management, brand management, and market analysis to attending events, distributing samples at inspiring locations, and organizing engagement activities with colleagues.

Working with people, both within and outside the company, to grow the brand, energizes me tremendously. One activity I am particularly proud of is a large-scale sampling activation at supermarkets in the Netherlands that I managed from start to finish!

Why is Mars a good fit for you? And why did you decide to apply?

Mars suits me very well because I value personal growth and self-reflection highly. It is a company that genuinely cares for its employees and offers ample opportunities to learn and gain experience. As a recent graduate, it's crucial to learn a lot, make mistakes, and try new things to discover your career path.

The traineeship greatly appealed to me because of the exciting challenge to fulfill three different roles over three years. It seemed like an excellent and educational way to gain a lot of experience and to get to know myself better. The diversity of experiences, coaching from senior leaders, and the opportunity to continuously challenge myself made the traineeship the ideal choice.

How does this role contribute to your development?

Over the past eight months, I have been able to work extensively on my personal and professional development. Mars places a strong emphasis on this, especially within the traineeship program. Through coaching from senior leaders, multiple professional development training sessions, a 'learning by doing' mentality, and 360 feedback from stakeholders, I have been able to develop significantly and expect to continue growing in both aspects in the coming years.

How do you see your future at Mars or elsewhere?

In the coming years, I see myself developing within the traineeship at Mars and gaining a variety of experiences. My ambition is to grow into a role in people management. I get a lot of satisfaction from working with people and helping each other with development and growth. Therefore, I hope to gain a diverse range of experiences in the coming years, both within and outside my current field, continually learning from both my own mistakes and those of others, with the goal of continuously growing and having a positive impact on others.

How did you approach your search for your first job? And how did you experience it?

The search for my first job was both challenging and educational. It was crucial for me to gain a good understanding of the various opportunities and where I could best invest my passion and energy. During my graduation internship, I had numerous discussions with fellow students, advisors, and professionals to orient myself. I attended many career events to expand my network, and this is how I came into contact with Mars and the Experience Leadership traineeship. The search process provided me with many valuable insights and enjoyable experiences.

What advice would you give to students who are at the start of their career?

A year ago, I was at the same crossroads as many students are now: facing the challenging choice of my first job. My advice? Choose an environment where you are allowed to stumble, fall, and get back up. It's not just about the role but especially about the learning opportunities you receive. Don't be held back by others' expectations; follow your passion and what makes your heart beat faster. Think long-term and choose something that energizes you, where you can grow and where you can build a broad network. The world is at your feet, so seize the opportunity with both hands and let yourself shine in your career!

If you want to learn more about the traineeship at Mars or other career opportunities within the company, connect with Mars on via this link.