As part of our inspirational story series about our Youth Goodwill Ambassadors, our next story covers Monika Sandelic, a graduating master student in the phase of kick-starting her career in Denmark
Monika is an ambitious soon-to-be engineer, currently in the final semester of her master studies. Like most of her fellows, she is facing the arduous phase of seeking for the best opportunity to start her career with. She describes the challenging application process she went through for the graduate program in Ørsted. Although she ultimately did not get the position, she believes to have gained a resourceful learning experience and as she feels more prepared to face her future applications. Her experience is inspirational for other graduates wishing to apply for a position in a graduate program. She shares some valuable advice regarding how to tackle each step of the application to a graduate program in a global company.
Who are you?
My name is Monika and I come from Croatia, I moved to Denmark two years ago to start my master's degree in Aalborg. I hold a bachelor's degree from Croatia in electrical engineering. After my bachelor's studies I wanted to experience studying abroad for my master. I chose Denmark because of the availability of great study programs but also because Denmark is one of the most advanced countries in the field of renewable energies. I'm currently pursuing the Master of Science in Energy Engineering at Aalborg University.
How did you find out about the opportunity of the graduate program at Ărsted?
It was during a career fair at Aalborg University that I had the chance of meeting some representatives from Ørsted. I had the chance to talk to some members from their graduate program who shared with me their experience and told me many interesting things. It was the company that I liked the best and I was aware of their openness to international students. I decided therefore to apply to their graduate position.
Why a graduate program and not a regular job?
I think that the graduate program is the best way to start a career especially if you are not sure about what you want to do. I like the idea of working in different teams through rotations for two years. Also, in the end of this process you have a possibility to choose what exactly you would like to work with. Moreover, I know that the graduate program is well structured, and you benefit from having a mentor that will guide you throughout the program to let you become a better professional. I think that at the end of the program you will have a picture of what you want to work with. In general, you will gain knowledge and experience that are more valuable comparing to a regular job opportunity.
Can you describe the application process you went through?
The application deadline was quite early comparing to other companies. In fact, I applied around mid-January. After a couple of weeks, I have received an email announcing that I was selected out of more than 3000 applications they had received. Consequently, they introduced me to the second step consisting of an IQ test and the preparation of a video presentation to be made in two days. I successfully passed this step and got invited for a skype interview. At this point, I think that there were only few people who reached this step.
Can you tell us about the interview?
I was interviewed by a recruiting manager. It was rather a fact-finding interview as he asked me a lot of questions about my CV. He was also curious about my projects, my activities as a university student and my volunteering experiences. Then, the conversation moved to my working experience and how it would have been related to their graduate program. After a couple of days, I've got an email regarding the successful outcome of the interview and that I was selected as a top candidate. I got invited to their assessment day in Copenhagen. This step was the final step of the application.
What did the assessment day consist of?
It was a really a long and challenging day. Candidates received an assignment before the assessment day. I had to go through another round of interviews concerning the assignment with a recruiting manager. He was interested in understanding the way I think and about my attitude towards problem solving. Comparing to the first interview, this one was more technical. There was also a practical session with some group tasks where I've met the other candidates competing for the same position and this was the most interesting part of the day. Overall, even though I did not succeed in this final round and got refused to the position, I think it has been a valuable learning experience that will help me in the future for other applications.
Which are your recommendations to other students who want to apply for a graduate program?
1) Research deeply about the company you are applying for: which are their core values and on what projects are they working at
2) Prepare your cv and motivation letter accurately
3) Show your interest in the company and that you know a lot about them
4) Try to distinguish yourself and be original to stand out
5) Be prepared in advance for each step of the application
Finally, what have you learned from this experience?
I believe that all the experiences you have achieved can always contribute to your life in some ways. Everyone has an opportunity to learn new things and improve themselves: professionally and personally. The context in which you live, and work plays a key role in this learning progress. Since the beginning I arrived at the university, I've got all the opportunities to perform well in my studies and my academic environment. Denmark offers the opportunity of letting people to develop, achieve a lot and find new solutions.