Mondi engages with next generation of business professionals
Being an Employer of Choice for the next generation
From October 2018 to February of this year, two teams of students from WU Wien (Vienna University of Economics and Business) were tasked with researching and developing detailed business cases for two corrugated packaging solutions. The task would not only demonstrate their ability to be proactive in their approach to problem-solving but would also lay the framework for developing and introducing those products to the commercial market.
Armand Schoonbrood, COO Mondi Corrugated Packaging, commented: “As part of our commitment to investing in the future of our business and the industry as a whole, we decided to run this initiative to give relevant and practical experience and guidance to young business students in a professional environment. As a company we can never assume we know everything, and the projects the WU Wien students embarked upon and delivered here have not only impressed us, they have educated us as well. We must do everything we can to engage with young people, to encourage their endeavours and to enable their creativity to flourish. Importantly, we must also allow them to open our own eyes to fresh ideas, approaches and ways of thinking.”
The first product was a corrugated waste bin, developed by Mondi Corrugated Packaging product engineers in Poland to respond to the recent trend for sustainable solutions in waste management. The idea behind the corrugated waste bin has already earned a Worldstar award in December 2018 for its sustainable approach in the household category. It excels compared to current solutions due to its total cost of ownership effectiveness, combined with lightweight material and easy set up. The bin has three separate compartments for paper, plastic and glass, and is a recyclable product due to its material composition.
Areas of usage include household, but also bigger events such as music festivals as a replacement for plastic or metal waste bins. Despite all the mentioned benefits and the award recognition, the product itself hasn’t been commercialized so far on a larger scale, which is why one group of students investigated further in terms of a go-to-market strategy.
The second group of students was dedicated to a corrugated bicycle compartment, designed to be an affordable solution compared to metal baskets and plastic bags. The product fits neatly onto a bicycle and is perfect for consumers looking to transport shopping. This durable solution is easy to remove and carry due to its lightweight material.
The students began with in-depth research into target groups. Gaining that knowledge of what is important to prospective customer groups is vital to understand ahead of developing value propositions. In addition, the students were also tasked with calculating the economic value to customers, their willingness to pay the market price and the return for Mondi each business model could potentially generate.
Mondi Corrugated experts were on hand throughout the project to offer support and guidance, welcoming the students as they would any new team members. Empowerment and entrepreneurship are key cultural factors to Mondi’s success, and it was important for the team to have a realistic experience through the execution of every project step.
Marco Marcoratti, Head of Commercial Excellence at Mondi Corrugated Packaging, summarised: “Each and every participant showed a strong commitment to proving the business case for these products and we were impressed with the attention to detail and professionalism that was demonstrated - particularly in researching target markets and reaching prospective customers. The presentations that were delivered to us and the conclusions reached were well thought through and fully supported the business recommendations made at the kick-off of this collaboration.”
It was a great opportunity to be part of this project. Mondi as a project partner was outstanding, as they offered us great working opportunities. Weekly meetings with the company helped us to get on the right path with the project.
Being an ‘employer of choice’
After the students had given their presentations and final project feedback was discussed, there was a get-together with Mondi HR colleagues to consider possible entries for students and to evaluate suitable career steps within Mondi. Afterwards, the students enjoyed a Q&A session with the COO of Corrugated Packaging about personal career steps, experiences and the challenges of making a career.
The entire project feeds directly into Mondi’s commitment to be an employer of choice.
Part of this initiative with the university is the company’s commitment to show future employees that their desire for constant education and development is taken seriously, and that after university, individual education in a working environment doesn’t stop.
According to a study among young professionals on employer’s attractiveness*, both business and engineering students rank two key attributes of an employer:
Thus, the question is not only how companies ensure they attract top talent, but also how to keep them happy and satisfied during their careers.
Mondi wants to be consistently high on the list of desirable places to work, regardless of location, and has been dedicated to this for a number of years. To meet the two attributes above and also the long-term aspirations of young professionals (37% of them rate “To be competitively and intellectually challenged”, as the most important goal after ‘work / life balance’, ‘security of job’ and ‘be a leader’), Mondi installed ‘The Mondi Academy’ in 1998. It offers seminars to all Mondi colleagues, with some 126 seminars and modules attended by 1,200 participants in 2018.**
The Mondi Academy also offers digital learning tools, e.g. e-books and language apps, as well as audio and video nugget files.
See the latest career opportunities at Mondi: https://www.mondigroup.com/en/careers/
For more information on the products, please click here: https://www.mondigroup.com/en/products-and-solutions/corrugated-packaging/
*Global Talent Insight Report for Young Professionals - Business and Engineering (conducted on behalf of Mondi by the independent institute Universum Global, 2015)
**This is only the global number. There are local seminars and academies, too.
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