Story | 05/09/2023 07:05:56 | 4 min Read time

UPM Graduates Life: Global, sustainable, innovative; all-in-one package for a graduate

Mikael Rantanen

UPM Graduate

Being able to join a graduate program had for long been in my sights as a goal post academia. After learning that a global, innovative and esteemed company such as UPM offered a HR position in their Graduate Program, it invoked me to apply immediately. Following the submission of my Master’s Dissertation and completion of my studies, I began my journey in Helsinki Biofore house.

Why a Graduate scheme and what exactly is it? I have asked this from myself and others give or take a hundred times during my school years whilst trying to get a grasp on different options following graduation. What appealed to me the most during the interview rounds and after reading more about the program from the company website, was the fact that it offers you a large scope of possibilities, responsibilities and career investment options. This has materialized during the program in many ways, for example, we were introduced in depth to UPM business areas (BA), networked with a plethora of different people as well as embarked on a personal learning journey to improve our ways of working. 

Speaking of BA’s, just as UPM has several of them, a HR professional has numerous different areas of responsibility as well. Since my passion lies in managing the most expensive resource a company has (its employees), being able to experience and work in various settings seemed as a highly valuable opportunity for me.

Moreover, as I studied in London for four years, I wanted to continue a global path as I was exposed to dozens of different nationalities and cultures in my previous life. Fortunately, the base/home team which I work in at UPM has colleagues from Uruguay as well as Finland. On top of that, during the interviews for this position, I was told overseas rotations are a part of the program.

Therefore, the decision to join the UPM graduate program seemed logical and exciting. So far, it has not disappointed. During my first rotation of four months at the Biofore house I took part in recruitment projects and employee engagement survey analytics for example. Quickly I gained influence and after familiarising myself with our recruitment process, I found myself conducting interviews for applicants. Moreover, I was able to travel to mill sites in Finland to complete the interview processes together with hiring managers. Not only was this a wonderful way of immersing myself into our people processes but also it offered me a chance to see our Pietarsaari Pulp mill from inside the gates – what a sight to see! The impressive engineering miracle producing pulp around the clock had me speechless, thrilled and flabbergasted to the point of sheer admiration for the people working there. I was also involved in the Kymi pulp mill apprenticeship recruitment process which included travelling to the mill site in Kuusankoski. Conclusively, these visits taught me a lot about how tightly knit a group of people, seasoned veterans and young talent, working in a knowledgeable, supportive, humoristic and above all a trustworthy environment. 

 

In addition to working in our pulp business area, I have also worked in Timber business area with the employee engagement survey analytics as mentioned. I also had a chance to host info calls for managers in Timber BA; yet again emphasising the responsibility one is given as a graduate. This interesting project, while completely different to the former one, offered me yet again a chance to experience and grow my skills holistically and for the benefit of both me and UPM.

In my second rotation, I had a chance to travel to Krakow, Poland and work in our HR service center. Once more, a completely different type of role in a vastly dissimilar team than previously. I expanded on my knowledge of our key reporting tool, learned the ropes of our service systems and most importantly joined a group of enthusiastic and brilliant professionals. 

All in all, the exposure to people, tasks and locations has been nothing short of impressive from the eyes of a graduate. One definitely gets a golden opportunity to feel valued and cared. Especially the ability to engage with tools, processes, professionals and potential employees has allowed me to utilize my skills, absorb knowledge and enjoy the graduate life. No matter if you are on a short visit or longer work trip, the people in all locations will make you feel welcomed, supported and treat you with great respect. Since only halfway through I am looking forward to seeing what my future rotations bring afoot. I am glad I have started my career on the Biofore journey.

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