When I first read the job advert as a “Sales Trainee, Pulp” I didn’t think about all the challenges and adventures which would follow. I applied and after a challenging application process I got the final call. Being selected from so many applicants was a really big honor.
Getting to know the Pulp Business
Pulp Business. What kind of business is this? I was also asking this question myself. Having studied international management, I had taken a course in strategic planning and distribution management but nothing about pulp.
The funny thing is: I use it every day. Well, not the pulp itself but the products you can produce from it. Paper, tissue, board, and a lot more. Even our money contains it. When I started in July in the Mannheim office in Germany I could dip into this world. I have learnt about the different pulp grades UPM offers. Conifer, Betula, and Euca. All from different trees and also used for various products. But there was so much more to discover. I had the opportunity to join a pulp school in Helsinki. There I could see the whole process from planting a tree to producing paper. All the different steps were so fascinating.
Planting a tree was very nice. Being in the forest and breathing the fresh air feels different from working in the office. The pulp mill was also a great experience. It was interesting to see the pulp sheets getting piled to a bale and covered with a wire. After seeing this I visited massive storehouse. It was so huge. I have never seen anything like it in my life. The paper mill was also an amazing site. I was so happy that UPM gave me the opportunity to raise my horizon in this business.
The traineeship at UPM
When I started at UPM I was looking forward for the first meeting with the other trainees. Who else had applied for the program? In September we all met in Helsinki and I realized that we are such a good group. All the people have different backgrounds and positions. The networking was really inspiring.
I learnt a lot more about the company and also had my first Finnish smoke sauna experience at the sauna island. At the end I also got this lovely backpack which I already used when hiking in Germany with my colleague Ninni.
After my visit in Helsinki I flew straight to Barcelona to get my first experience of the life of a sales manager. Travelling, talking to people and getting to know them, and selling the pulp for the best price. So this was my first opportunity to meet a lot of customers at once. The dinner in a Spanish tapas bar was really nice. I got to know our partner Canfor and other people from the business. The next day I participated in different customer meetings and also attended a seminar about pulp. Another chance to expand my knowledge.
The next few weeks will also be exciting for me. I will fly to Helsinki again and meet the sales team from Asia and Latin America. I will also get to know all the other people who are related to this business in UPM.
In November the yearly London Pulp Week takes place. Hundreds of people will be there to exchange the latest news on pulp. A lot of customers meetings will also fill my day. I am already looking forward to this and will let you know how it was.