UPM Graduate’s Life: Learning, developing and teamwork

Industry People

Nowadays it seems that everyone is using tablet computers for taking notes. Nobody uses paper notepads anymore. Gossip is shared through social media, no longer through magazines.

When we run into problems in daily life, we turn to online forums instead of books for help and advice.

If I ever start up my own company, I want it to be future-proof and environmentally friendly. Not everyone associates this kind of thinking with the field of communication paper. But for me, it has become clear that paper is in fact a sustainable material, which still plays an important role for communications.

My shared journey with UPM began ten years ago when I started my apprenticeship as a paper technologist. Already then, I was impressed by the organization and its size. I knew I could learn a lot and discover new things. Today, after completing my work experience, a scientific study, and some projects outside UPM, I am back in the company as a process development engineer and participating in the UPM Graduate Programme. My experiences at UPM can be summed up under the following themes:

Learning by doing

From the start, I was able to apply my knowledge in quality control. Later I also had the chance to expand my experience in the chemical laboratory. Now I suppose you could call me an “allrounder” who can step in and support the teams in any area. My daily work is mainly about our main raw material, pulp. I lead pulp trials at paper mill which include some laboratory measurements, monitoring the process, analysis, documentation and presentation. Communication plays a major role in my work. All stakeholders need to be informed and involved in the process, both here at our paper mill in Dörpen, Germany and internationally within UPM.

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Developing myself with a mentor

What are my strengths and weaknesses? This is often considered to be the “dinosaur question” in self-assessment surveys. How often do we actually assess ourselves correctly? What are we totally wrong about? And what questions have you always wanted to ask an experienced manager? This is exactly what I use my mentoring for: discussing problems and assessing situations from an external viewpoint. It is certainly not always easy to admit that you made a wrong decision or to reconsider your old ways of thinking. But it’s certainly very interesting and helpful for your own development!

Teamwork is essential for everyone

At the graduate bootcamp last September, I was finally able to get to know the other graduates. Unfortunately, due to pandemic we could only meet virtually, but we still learned a lot about UPM’s different areas and gained insight into the working world from the senior leaders and other UPM colleagues.

At the moment, we are all attending a course called “Working out Loud”, which teaches us to work as a team toward our common goals. I'm already looking forward to the next meeting and learning from each other.

My plan is to visit Finland for two months in the spring. Part of this time will be spent in Lappeenranta and the other at the Kymi mill in Kouvola. I'm keen to get stuck into the nitty-gritty of pulp production and to see how the research center works, not forgetting to expand my network. I hope to see you soon!

Looking forward to continuing my journey in UPM, creating a future beyond fossils.

Source: UPM