J.J. Casey, an Irish IE Master in Market Research and Consumer Behavior (MRCB) 2017 candidate, has moved around –a lot. He worked as a Data Analyst for a Research Professor in Leadership during his Psychology degree in Ireland as part of his placement at the University (Sept ’13-Dec ’13). He went to the USA for a semester abroad at the University of South Carolina (USC), after which he continued working as Data Analyst full-time, from June ’14-Sept ’14 and then part time during his final year. When he graduated in May 2015, he moved back to the USA, to New York, for three months and worked at an Irish bar, then taught English in Xiangtan, Hunan, China for 1 year and then worked at an Irish bar in Perth, Australia for three months before coming to Spain to IE.
His brief exchange at USC triggered a passion for consumer behavior, and therefore applied for the IE MRCB. Once he began studying here (with no previous business experience) he knew he wanted to be involved either directly in Market Research (Quantitative) or a Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company. After doing his homework, J.J. has secured a position in the Kraft Heinz European Trainee Program, at which he will start next October 2017. He has prepared and shared with us a very well-detailed outline of how an assessment day at a company like Kraft Heinz might be.
Q: Could you please tell us about the job?
A: The first 4-5 months of the Kraft Heinz European Trainee Program will be spent between London, Netherlands and Milan and a location for 7 weeks that I will find out soon. I do not know yet where the majority of the first year will be based at, but it will be a mix of either of the following locations: Madrid, Milan, Paris, Dusseldorf, Warsaw, London or Zeist. The job is essentially a Trainee position where you learn about all the different aspects of the company, then you do two major placements in two business functions they feel suits your skills and preferences (e.g. Marketing and Operations) in one of the previously stated locations.
Q: How did you find out about this job opportunity?
A: I attended the company presentation that IE Talent and Careers orgainzed last year.
Q: How did Talent and Careers and your IE experience help you during the recruiting process?
A: I had many meetings with Career Advisors Teresa González and Natalia Milani for help/advice about my general career plan/strategy, my CV and cover letter and for advice before the interview and assessment day stages of the employment process.
Q: How was the recruiting process?
A: I can tell you about the assessment day there: at 8:30am we were given a presentation about the company and introduced to the leaders. After this, we each had a 15 minute interview with 2 leaders, the questions I can remember are:
Briefly introduce yourself
You’re greatest weakness
What an enemy would say about you
Would you work for us in a factory in Mumbai at 40 degrees heat
What title you see yourself having in 5 years
Do you have any question for us
I can’t remember the rest but it was very quick. One girl was asked a logical reasoning question, for ex. “how many fridges are there in Brazil.”
We then had a ridiculously hard business case about mayonnaise, in groups of 5 people with two assessors for 60 minutess, and then had 5 minutes to present each (1 minute each). The case had 4 sections: marketing, sales, finance and operations. There was an incredible amount of detail with regards to numbers and was impossible to solve in an hour, in fact my group had a terrible output which, in my opinion, reveals this is about how you behave in a group more than the result itself.
After this we had lunch. After that, they gathered the 25 of us and read out 12 names of people to go home (very harsh).
The remaining 13 were broke down into one group of five (I was in this one) and two groups of four to have group interviews with 5 European leaders at a time. The questions were very personal and very tough. The questions I remember are:
Very specify stuff about my time in China (what I learned there)
What I don’t like about Australians (I used to live there)
If I owned a chain of supermarkets and they were earning losses what would I do (I used to work in a supermarket)
When did you realize you’re above average
Why are you better than the other candidates
If you have two workers and one works not too hard and gets lucky and meets their goal and the other works hard and gets unlucky and doesn’t meet it, who do you give the bonus to
And of course: who would you hire and fire from the group and why
Most questions were very specific and thorough about each person’s past experience.
Q: Would you want to share any tips or advice with student interested in applying Kraft Heinz European Trainee Program?
A: Be straightforward and to the point with your answers. During the business case stage of the assessment my team did pretty bad but it is all about how you act when under stress, and particularly just try to get some sort of output even if it’s not perfect (as Natalia once said: “done is better than perfect”). Also focus on the aspects of flexibility and ‘ownership’ and how you match this.
Q: Could you share any advice for those pursuing a professional career on this particular job?
A: Just make sure you are aware of all the deadlines of each program to ensure you do not miss any, attend all presentations that you possibly can, really research each company and personalize your cover letter to each company. Definitely use all resources available to you, like your Talent and Careers office. But also network: find out if you know anybody in the industry or if any of your classmates previously worked there.
About The Kraft Heinz Company
A globally trusted producer of delicious foods, The Kraft Heinz Company provides high quality, great taste and nutrition for all eating occasions whether at home, in restaurants or on the go.
The Kraft Heinz Company is led by a world class Board of Directors and proven business leaders with an unparalleled record for performance. We are committed to investing in world-class brands and long-term value creation. The Kraft Heinz Company has significant synergy opportunities with a strong platform for organic growth in North America, as well as global expansion, by combining Kraft’s brands with Heinz’s international platform.