Sofie Folkesson, one of the Volvo Group trainees.

“My trip to China impressed me”

Privileged, grateful and enriched are words that describe how I feel right now. After two incredible weeks in China I am now sitting on the plane back to Gothenburg.  

 It is hard to believe that this was the second time that I met the whole trainee group, it rather feels like we have met each other several times before. I guess that the feeling of belongingness in the group is thanks to how well structured the trainee program is, and of course also thanks to the open mindset of all the trainees. The theme of the week in China was “culture”, and the schedule consisted of business updates, workshops, plant-visits and meetings with colleagues.

 In the end of the week we also presented our trainee project for the rest of the group, and managers from the headquarter followed our presentations online. The scope of my group’s project was to examine how two of Volvo Truck’s Chinese competitors are operating in the aftermarket. When I started working at Volvo Group in the end of January I did not even know exactly what “aftermarket” was, and now four months later I was presenting a project within this field and this really shows that there are a lot of opportunities within Volvo Group that you are not aware of before you join the company. Being a newly graduate and thereby being used to that my reports mostly are done as a manner to deepen my own knowledge, I found it extra rewarding that the strategy department after our presentation said that they found the information useful for Volvo Group and that they want us to present the project to even more colleagues. It is a special feeling when you do something that might really contribute to Volvo Group’s success, and you get even more eager to walk the extra mile.    

 During the time in China we also had some time for sightseeing, the first weekend we really conquered a wonder of the world -”The Great Wall of China”. The experience in itself was amazing, but as we shared this experience together I actually think that it was almost as amazing to feel how we as a group grew even stronger. The workshops during the week were really useful, but in order to build strong relationships it is equally important to also spend some time together outside office hours and therefore we of course managed to do a lot of shopping as well as spending some memorable evenings in the skybars in Beijing and Shanghai. Furthermore, as the theme of the week was “culture” I think that it was extra important to experience as much as possible of the Chinese culture, and in this a lot of things are of course included. Personally I tried to interact with Chinese people even outside of the Volvo Group, and I actually tasted goat stomach during a hot pot. I can admit that goat stomach does not belong to my favorite dishes and if I can avoid it in the future I will. However, having in mind that the Chinese market is huge and in order to do business in China we must have a good understanding of the Chinese culture, and as culture has to be experienced I think it is a good approach to simply stick to “when in Rome do as the Romans”. “Volvofierad” as I am, I also tried to observe what kind of trucks that were operating on the roads, and what kind of aftermarket services that might be requested for these trucks. It is really interesting to observe the Chinese market close-up, and the Chinese market is undoubtedly an exciting challenge.

What impressed me the most during my visit to Volvo Group in China was however how well “The Volvo Way” is incorporated among the employees. Almost everyone that I talked to, junior as well as senior colleagues, mentioned our vision and our core values. Having in mind that Volvo Group’s headquarter is located in Sweden, it is impressive to experience this engagement for “The Volvo Way” on the other side of the globe. I also became very delighted when everyone told me how proud they were of being a part of the Volvo Group, and I cannot say anything else than that I agree.

 Sofie Folkesson

 

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  1. can you pls tell me how to apply for Graduate Programmer at volvo group..?

  2. Dear Sofie
    I used to work for Volvo CE almost 10 years ago as a sales Eng. and also managing the local market. i traveled to many countries for visiting job sites and factories. and later a became the team guide and leader for bringing many people to Sweden for visiting the factories and etc. now I am very interested in working with Volvo in Sweden. when i saw your article and i learnt a little bit about the trainings i would like to know more. do you think it is possible to pass such courses in Sweden? what shall i do? it would be highly appreciated if you advice me via my email address which is given to the web site. reagrds:Alireza