Imagine working for an international company with more than two billion consumers!
This is what happened to Roxanne Dode after she graduated in 2013 with a BSc degree in chemistry and polymer science from Stellenbosch University.
We asked her a few questions about her work at Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company with headquarters in Rotterdam and London. Unilever employs more than 172 000 people all over the world.
Describe your work experience prior to your official job search process?
I had no work experience in the science field prior to the job I currently have.
What is your current employment?
I am currently employed by Unilever and work in the research and development department as a product development technologist for laundry detergents.
How did you get the job?
I applied through their graduate programme – the Unilever Future Leaders (UFLP) programme. They have a 5-stage screening process and, if successful, applicants have the chance to enter the business either on the UFLP programme itself or as a direct entrant.
What is exciting about your work?
The environment is fast-paced and challenging and you will never be bored! Even within research and development, you learn very quickly to broaden your thinking as you work with cross functional teams covering every aspect of a project from finance and marketing to supply chain management. There is also a great sense of reward in seeing the fruits of your labour in the form of products on shelf as well as how they fit in with Unilever's global sustainability and brighter futures campaign.
Your advice to students who are entering the job market?
Get involved and be proactive in forging your own career path as nobody is going to tell you what to do or which approach to take. Your future is completely in your own hands, so go for it. Apply to as many graduate programmes as you can, as these are targeted for graduates with no prior experience. Get involved wherever you can and start taking opportunities to develop your leadership skills whilst still studying.
What would you have done differently during your years at university?
I would have gotten more involved in campus and leadership activities.