Rafael studied a BTEC Extended Diploma in Business. Now an EMEA Commercial Graduate for Assa Abloy, our ambitious former student spoke to our Alumni Team about what it’s like on a graduate training programme for a global company. He also shared his tips on getting a place on a programme.
“From a young age, I was always interested in business,” said Rafael. “I remember being eight years old and organising gaming tournaments at my house where I would charge players a participation fee. I then used to re-invest the money earned from these events to buy additional games in order to attract more players and make more money!
“I admit I did not know exactly what in business I wanted to do, but I knew it had to involve a few things. Firstly, it would have to include exposure to working with different cultures. Secondly, a lot of responsibility where I could make a personal impact and lastly, work in an international environment where I could do lots of travelling and meet people from all over the world.
“Luckily, I found just the right graduate training programme after my studies. I’m now an EMEA Commercial Graduate at the world’s leading door opening solutions organisation.
“College was a pivotal moment in my life,” said Rafael. “I had only been in the UK for no more than four years and my knowledge on the culture and the educational system was limited. Being a course representative and participating in extra-curricular activities like joining the football team allowed me to quickly adapt to the new environment and make friends, which made everything else a lot easier.
“One of my proudest moments to date was actually finishing my BTEC Extended National Diploma in Business at Leicester College.
“The quality of the BTEC Extended Diploma in Business combined with the high-level of teaching at the Abbey Campus was the perfect recipe for success. This was highly beneficial in helping me to choose the right course at university and subsequently complete internships at Volkswagen Group and the highly prestigious industry of investment management.
“My professional career initially started off at Nandos where I worked mostly as a team leader after being promoted within ten months of starting as a waiter,” said Rafael. “Here I worked for nearly five years whilst at college and university until I had to leave to start my thirteen month industrial placement at Volkswagen Group UK. I worked as an Analyst and was responsible for providing analysis on how the business was performing and providing recommendations to the management.
“Right after completing this, I worked as an Investment Management Intern for three months where I conducted research projects for the CEO & Investment Manager. The following year I went back to finish the last year of my degree where I graduated with a First Class Honours in Business Management.
“Within three months of graduating, I obtained at an administrative role at a commercial bank which provided solutions for the automotive industry. However, after six months I was accepted onto an international graduate training programme at an industry leading firm – which fulfilled one of my ambitions.
“I am now completing a structured eighteen-month training programme where for the first six months I will be undertaking various departmental placements across the entire business. Once the induction around the business has been completed, I will be completing a three month placement somewhere in either Europe, Africa or the Middle East. The remaining nine months of the training programme will consist of sales training where I will be shadowing the current Market Development Managers and try to sell some of our products myself.
“My advice for getting onto a programme is first to do some gap analysis,” said Rafael. “In other words, what is it that you need to do so that you can get to where you want to be? Also, be aware that you will fail along the way, but that’s okay, don’t let this discourage you and don’t stop dreaming. It’s all part of the process. Find out what went wrong, where you failed and work on the weak areas to become better.
“Keep learning, keep improving, keep dreaming and you will reach anything you set your mind to.”