UT BBA Alumni Experience: Nestlé S.A. Rotational Finance Management Trainee

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October 25, 2013 by texasbbacareerservices

FeliciaNestleblogFelicia Tsao, UT McCombs BBA Alum
Plan II, Finance
Company/Role: Nestlé S.A. Rotational Finance Management Trainee
Grad Year: 2011

How have your experiences at UT Austin impacted your career path?

My experiences at school were wonderful, stressful, fun, challenging… and applicable, now that I’m in the workforce. It wasn’t until I started working that I realized how much I had learned from attending UT. My learnings weren’t limited to academics or the ability to deliver memorized slides presentations.  In fact, UT developed my social and world views, which have shaped my career path. I had the privilege of studying abroad in two countries (Edinburgh and Hong Kong) where I was pushed to be more flexible and adaptable to different environments and challenging situations. Being abroad was one of the best times of my life because I was consistently stepping outside of my comfort zone to experience new things! From that, I learned the ability to readily open my mind to different perspectives—a stress and time-saving skill I use at work! I also found a home in several student groups on campus. Leading and participating in these organizations, from the Asian Business Students Association to the White Rose Society, built a unique set of skills that have been surprisingly applicable to my different roles.

UT’s curriculum in particular conditioned me to be well versed in other areas of that have kept me successful and sane in my job. For instance, working in teams to successfully execute group projects taught me interpersonal soft skills I use every day at work; what felt like a constant barrage of homework assignments and exams taught me to manage time and stress; and of course, the accounting/finance fundamentals McCombs drilled into me have helped me successfully tackle the steep learning curves that come with every role I’ve had.

What drew you to Nestlé?

My first meaningful encounter with Nestlé (outside of my already very serious relationship with Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese) was at the spring 2011 Career Expo. I learned a lot during my conversation with the recruiters and found myself drawn not only to Nestlé’s diversity and size, but also to its emphasis on employee development. Additionally, I realized I grew up around so many Nestlé products, from Crunch bars and Coffee-mate to Stouffer’s meals and pints of Häagen Dazs, and I was interested in working with the brands that were such a familiar part of my life.

What was the internship like?

Learn more about the I-Finance and Accounting Internship Program (RC) and apply in OCR. Deadline: November 3.

Learn about the Finance and Accounting Internship Program (Deadline: 11/3) and Nestle Sales Development Program (Deadline: 11/4) and apply in OCR.

The internship feeds into the full time position of becoming a Finance Management Trainee. Nestlé’s finance internships are hands-on projects, owned and driven by the intern, that produce truly value-added results for the business. Each intern is assigned a project; its pace, progress, and ultimately success are at the intern’s discretion. That was the most rewarding part—that I owned every piece of my project. This isn’t to say that Nestlé doesn’t provide the tools to set you up for success; interns are assigned a buddy, a project manager, and a mentor to ensure we had a positive, fun, and successful experience! At the end of the internship, we presented our findings/models/deliverables to the Senior Finance Team, including the CFO.

What have your experiences been like as a Rotational Finance Management Trainee?

Invaluable. Rotational programs are unique by nature as participants are given the opportunity to amass years of experience in a much shorter period of time. With Nestlé, there is also a lot of travel involved, so it keeps things interesting! As a trainee, I have worked in a manufacturing plant for Prepared Foods (Lean Cuisine & Stouffer’s) in Ohio. There, I not only refined my understanding of costing and forecasting, but I also participated in areas outside of traditional finance. I had a lot of exposure to Six Sigma practices, Lean Manufacturing, and I even had the chance to lead a cross-functional team in addressing a 1.2 million dollar production inefficiency. I worked on the production floor (hairnet and all!) to assist operations and conduct line studies; I worked in quality assurance to assist in maintaining the implementation of Nestlé’s highly acclaimed standards  food safety practices; I also worked with demand planning to validate cost efficiencies of several products being made in our factory. After my manufacturing role, I took on a guest internal auditor position based in St. Louis. I worked with a great team to successfully test and rate a Nestlé nutrition plant. Now, I’m based out of Los Angeles working in a corporate finance role supporting all of Nestlé USA’s divisions in variance analyses and financial reporting. I still have another position to go, and I’m looking forward to what’s next!

What do you like about working for Nestlé?

Nestlé’s reputation in the business world is pretty much an amplification of the people who work here. I interact with really talented, fun, and motivated people on a daily basis, and I love that Nestlé prioritizes the development of its employees. On top of that…I love food! Whether it’s a DiGiorno, Lean Cuisine, Skinny Cow…you name it, and I’m eating it!! But in all seriousness, we are the world’s largest food company, but past our sheer size, Nestlé is also one of the most respected and loved brands for a reason. I’m so proud to work for a company that is associated with high quality products, sustainability, and fair business practices.

What do you think it takes to succeed within the Rotational Finance Management Trainee Program?

Adaptability, initiative, and humility. With any job, the ability to adapt to different situations, new teams, and different challenges is important. As a trainee, this skill becomes invaluable. You’ll be living in different cities, working with different bosses, and performing in numerous functions with varied responsibilities. It’s an amazing opportunity to gain a lot of knowledge and to work with incredibly talented people. Having the enthusiasm and initiative to drive your learning is important too…it makes everything more enjoyable and fun! And of course, being humble facilitates the learning process. You’ll make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them; and always take the opportunity to learn from the people who have years of experience in their roles.

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