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University of Sydney
Global management trainee, Carlton & United Breweries
Jacob Gyzen studied a Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) and is a global management trainee at Carlton & United Breweries.
What's your name and job title?
Jacob Gyzen – global management trainee (GMT) at Carlton & United Breweries.
What did you study? When did you graduate?
A Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) from Sydney University, 2017. Majors: Finance, Commercial Law, Spanish and Latin American Studies.
Where did you grow up? Can you tell us about your education and any experience abroad?
I grew up in Sydney and went to school at Oakhill College, an independent school in Sydney’s north west. After graduating high school I went to the University of Sydney and started my bachelor’s degree in commerce. My first year of university was an adjustment for me. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do and got sidetracked with my part-time job in retail. After re-aligning in second year I changed my degree and added a Spanish major, which was essential to building a network of supportive people around me, and finding a newfound communicative confidence. This developed further after going on two exchanges, one to Spain (where I completed all my subjects in Spanish) and through a scholarship one to China in Shanghai to learn Mandarin and about Chinese business culture. Sydney University provided me with some great tools to build my interpersonal skills in a global environment, which is essential for the commercial world where global connections and best practises should be shared as widely and as quickly as possible.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
I have been at Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) for three months now. I believe I got the position mainly because I was a cultural fit. I also had a wide range of areas I could pull from during the interview process to give specific examples of my successes and failures. Having real world experience from part-time jobs, exchange programs and university all tied in together to help me get the job! (Also a love of beer.)
How did you choose your specialisation? Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
After university, I started a graduate position at a tech start up selling conference call software. Based in sales it was a great character-building experience and amazing opportunity, but I knew the industry wasn’t what I was passionate about. I was tasked in sales cold calling senior executives, which came as a challenge to my confidence and resilience. After six months there, although I had seen huge personal growth and development I felt it was time to find a company where I could see myself long term. CUB came up on Gradconnect and the GMT program sounded like a perfect fit. I didn’t know a lot about the beer industry at the time but reading their 10 principles of the firm it seemed like a great option. I didn’t apply anywhere else, which I think worked to my advantage as I could focus all my energy on the CUB interview process and really explore what it would mean to work here.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
Through a refined (and rigorous) application process, I knew very early on that I had found an industry and product portfolio that was exciting and a company that matched my personality and aligned with my career goals. The questions I was asked were broad; what CUB expect in an interview is for you to be confident, passionate and essentially yourself. With so many rounds, the management team are great at seeing who will thrive in the competitive company culture.
What does your employer do?
Brews the best beer in the world.
What are your areas of responsibility?
As a GMT, we spend 10 months rotating through deep dives in all the key functions of the business. This gives us a diverse overview of how the company functions and is a great way to meet and network with people from all areas in the business. We then do a project for four months to round out the year before getting a first more-permanent role.
Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?
My day at work changes week on week depending what my rotation needs me to do. The last project I worked on was redesigning the intranet to make information more accessible. Before that I was placed at the brewery and did a project on making sure the beer produced was coming out consistently at the best quality, something that I never thought I would be doing with my commerce degree but I had a great time doing it and learned a lot.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
The career opportunities that CUB and by extension ABI (the leading brewer and one of the biggest FMCG companies in the world) offer are endless. With business units on every continent and selling in over 100 countries I have definite access to a global career. With cross-functional movements encouraged I also know I’ll be able to learn skills in sales, marketing, logistics or anywhere else in the business.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Definitely. Out of 17 graduates we all have very diverse degree backgrounds, from law, to arts, to science. CUB has a big focus on diversity and difference in thought.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I can't think of any industry or job that I’d prefer to be in! I love working here.
What do you love most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?
CUB has an electric company culture where everyone is excited and passionate about coming to work every day. The core values of the company reflect through every employee and I love the energy here. I love the tasks where I can be a bit creative and think outside the box. One of the great things CUB do with their new starters is to question the status quo and always come up with new ways of tackling an issue.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Are the stress levels high?
CUB is a KPI oriented company which is a culture that not everyone would love. It does have high pressure at times but the team are very supportive. Mistakes are never followed by finger pointing, but with a ‘How do we solve this?’ mentality.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?
- If you don’t get a role, don’t take it personally – keep looking and applying because it’s just as likely that you wouldn’t have loved working there. Wait to find a job that you’re really passionate about going into.
- Use careers advisors, exchange programs and all extracurricular activities available on campus. They are there for a reason and it is all great character building that will make you a more well rounded employee later down the line.
- Don’t be too concerned about planning everything. Sometimes opportunities come up with one or two weeks’ notice and just be agile to jump into them.