Lucy Potts

Lucy Potts

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

I am working for Mondelez International. Mondelez is a global company that own many loved and well-known brands e.g. Cadbury, Milka, Oreo and Belvita. Their purpose and vision is to create moments of joy by building the best snacking company in the world.

What is your role within the company?

I work in Chocolate Research, Development, Quality and Innovation. This is the first stage of development of a potential new product. I am expected to plan and execute experiments relating to the development of a new product, produce technical reports and results and present my findings.

I specifically work in the gifting and seasonal team, so the majority of my time I focus on products sold at Christmas and Easter.

Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?

Predominantly, I am at my desk most of the day. I have about 20 projects on the go at once so am always very busy. Each project requires different types of work e.g. scoping for potential ideas, recipe development, risk assessments and trials.

There are always project calls in which everyone involved in the project give updates on how their area of the project is running and how on track we are related to timings.

I also have to run shelf life tests on products and round tables to determine if the product actually tastes nice and people like it!

From time to time, I can be in the pilot plant literally playing around with chocolate and turning my ideas into reality, creating new products that we can actually see and taste!

What do you enjoy the most and do you get involved in any interesting projects?

What I love to most about working here is how much responsibility I’m given. Any project that I am assigned is mine to work on and make happen.

One of the most exciting things about working in the gifting and seasonal team is how fast pace the work is. The timelines for projects are usually really tight, and you have to hit it otherwise you miss the season. This means that during my time here I will see products on the shelf and will be able to say “That’s mine, I developed that.” To me, the thought of that makes all the hard work worth it

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I decided I wanted to take up a year in industry as I thought it would help me in my future prospects. When applying for jobs, companies really want to see that you have experience. There is no better experience than this!

I had never worked a 9-5 job before and never understood what the working world was really like until now, so getting this job so it has really helped me and I think will continue to help me in the future.

What do you think you have got out of this experience so far? 

Naturally this placement has helped me develop an understanding of how to cope with ambiguity and change in a fast pace and ever evolving business. I have learnt the importance of professionalism in the workplace and how to adapt mannerisms when working with different people to ensure a healthy working atmosphere which will in turn delivers results. It has also improved my time management and organisational skills as I have had to prioritise tasks with ever changing deadlines and targets.

However, this placement has also taught me a lot about myself. I have realised that I am not someone who could just sit comfortably in the same job every day and have no desire to progress. I like to push and challenge myself in undertaking new tasks that may be unfamiliar and difficult. Work stress is a very different kind of stress to any other and I have learnt that rather than struggle from it, to thrive from it and use it to help you succeed. This job has made me realise my ambition to want to grow, progress and strive for success for the rest of my working life.

Do you have any tips and advice for current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

Do it! And if you come out of your placement and think that actually it’s not what you want to do, then that’s fine, at least you know that now and can focus on what you really want.

For those applying for a placement my advice would be don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back from a company straight away. I remember I was always stressed that I wasn’t hearing back from anyone but it takes these big companies time. No news is good news!

For those on placement my advice would be don’t shy away from any opportunities that come up during your placement. Make the most of your time there and learn as much as you possibly can!