Dare to Make Mistakes and Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Great leadership and stepping outside his comfort zone; that is what has shaped Andreas into the professional he is today. During his five years at L’Oréal, he has gained professional experience in both Sweden and Denmark as well as in marketing, and sales and business development. Having started as a Nordic Management Trainee in 2014, today Andreas manages one of our key clients at the L’Oréal office in Stockholm, Sweden.
Tell us, what do you do at L’Oréal?
Currently, I work as a Key Account Manager in L’Oréal Sweden. After almost four years in different marketing roles in L’Oréal, I got the chance to try out a commercial role two years ago, which was a big change for me personally. When I was approached about the Key Account Manager position, I was a bit scared of the fact that the client that I was supposed to work with was mainly in the makeup business. I was afraid of it because I had no clue on how to manage this. But it turned out that makeup was not something to fear, it is quite the opposite!
It’s fun, it’s tangible and playful and it is really refreshing as a guy to work with a retailer focusing that much on makeup because I get to ask all the stupid questions. In the end, it’s all about delivering sustainable growth together, hence much like running your own company, where you really have ownership of your own business.
What was the best part of the Nordic Management Trainee Program?
The highlight of the program was definitely the ability to get to try very different things from day one. It was really challenging, even the first exciting project I had was with a company in a completely different industry. I thought I came to L’Oréal to work with beauty but suddenly I was also working with the biggest furniture company in the world!
There is no one who will tell you exactly what and how to do things. It is up to you what you make out of it, and that was really empowering.
In addition, the way the program prepares you for the rest of your career is quite interesting. Most new employees start within an expertise area, for example, an internship working with one brand or one function. With the Nordic Management Trainee Program, you really get an insight into many different areas of expertise, functions and divisions. After the program, I got the opportunity to move to Copenhagen and work as a Nordic Junior Product Manager for L’Oréal Paris.
What were some of the challenges of the program?
The biggest challenge during the Management Trainee Program was to not be part of the daily business and always being the new one on the team. Due to your internal rotation, you are in different divisions and functions and always the new person.
You are basically out of your comfort zone all the time, because you are supposed to learn a little about a lot. It was a challenge in the beginning, but now I really appreciate the experience.
On the other hand, it is very beneficial to have experienced different divisions and functions within one company. It really allows you to build a big network and see things with different perspectives, which has helped me to understand many different complex issues and tasks.
How have the leaders supported you throughout your career?
Good leadership has been the most instrumental part of my development. I’m a firm believer that you should experience different managers and management styles, depending on where you are in your career. At the beginning of your career, you need more guidance and support, while later you need someone who gives you more autonomy and supports you in the bigger topics so that you feel fully empowered in your daily work. This is something L’Oréal has been specifically good at rather than pushing a “one size fits all”.
If you could do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
What I can regret sometimes is that I was always a bit too eager to advance quickly into new positions. I always want to challenge myself, and I was therefore rarely satisfied where I was. Shortly after I got a promotion, the next promotion was already in my head.
After a few years, I realized that my career should not be a 100-metre race, but a marathon and you have to adjust the pace to manage the full race of your career.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying for the Nordic Management Trainee Program?
My advice would be to have an open mindset and dare to explore new things but also dare to make mistakes. At L’Oréal, we are encouraged to try out new things and not be scared of failing, but also to learn from the mistakes we make. Moreover, you need to be entrepreneurial and treat your projects as your own business, which only you are responsible for. I would argue that L’Oréal is definitely one of the most fun and exciting companies in the world to work for. It’s also one of the most ethical, sustainable and gender-equal companies in the world, which I don’t feel we talk enough about. The environment is dynamic, fast-paced and agile. But in the end, it all comes down to the people you work with and that’s what matters the most. The passionate people and the mix of personalities make it all a fantastic cocktail!
Do you want to kick-start your career in an innovative environment in the Nordics? Apply here!