a graduate of Law, people are always asking me how I ended up working for DHL
Supply Chain. Put simply, it was because DHL offered such a wide range of
opportunities to follow numerous career paths in a global business.
Opportunities such as these are open to graduates with any degree.
How I got started
I started working for DHL at the age of 18 as a
driver to fund my lifestyle through University. I was extremely fortunate that
the work hours suited my timetable and provided me with an opportunity to start
building a network of contacts. It was recognised quickly that I had the
ability to take on more responsibility and I was taken ‘off the road’ and
became a National Transport Planner. In this role my line manager supported my
development and supported my application to the DHL Graduate Programme in 2009.
The DHL graduate scheme is a structured
development programme that combines classroom learning with experience of
working in the business. Each graduate completes three different placements of
six months in a variety of locations along with a further six residential
classroom based sessions.
My first placement
My first six month placement was as a Transport
Shift Manager on the Mothercare contract based in Daventry in Northamptonshire.
I was very quickly given a great deal of responsibility and was tasked with
ensuring that c.60 vehicles per shift were loaded and despatched on time to
ensure deliveries arrived on time. I was also the first point of contact for
any ad hoc issues that arose such as road traffic accidents, vehicle breakdowns
and disciplinary issues.
Transport is a very fast paced and exciting
environment to work in, no two days are ever the same and I thoroughly enjoyed
the experience. I was able to develop my people management techniques and
develop my technical knowledge of the rules and regulations of road haulage.
Placements undertaken on the scheme
Following Mothercare, my second placement was
with International Supply Chain in a Business Development role. It was a very
different role to that of a Transport Shift Manager, with the focus being on
longer term strategic goals, rather than tactical day to day goals. This role
gave me plenty of opportunity to travel both nationally and internationally to
meet with other colleagues and target customers.
As a product, International Supply Chain is
relatively new to DHL. My role was to identify markets around the world that
would suit International Supply Chain to support growth. This was done through
primary research, speaking directly to logistics directors from around the
world to understand their requirements as well as some secondary research
utilising specialist tools.
By the end of my six month placement I had
worked with the Business Development Vice President to build a business case
for International Supply Chain to invest significant effort and resources to
enter the South African market place and drive growth within the region.
Leaving the programme early and joining the
My final placement on the graduate scheme was to
be with our Technology Division, however I was offered a permanent role as
Business Development Manager within the Fashion Division. The graduate team
were very supportive and I left the programme early to take up this fantastic
As a Business Development Manager I was
responsible for delivering new business growth for DHL and I was immediately
given the opportunity to prove my ability as the development lead on
opportunities with Adidas and Regatta. As the lead on these opportunities I was
responsible for coordinating an innovative solution and commercial proposition,
negotiating with the customers to ensure that DHL was successful in winning the
Following on from these initial opportunities I
worked with colleagues to set the sales strategy for the Fashion Division and
identify our target accounts for 2011. I continued to have the opportunity to
lead development activity, most notably with Primark.
Moving up the career ladder
Following a year and half with the Fashion
Division, I was offered a position as Head of Product Development within a
newly created area of DHL - Specialist Services. This division focuses on
working with the Public Sector, Technology Customers, Airlines and City
My role specifically is to lead divisional
Business Development activity for the Public Sector and provide support the
other areas on an ad hoc basis. Practically, this means that I am tasked with
identifying opportunities to work with the Public Sector. Developing new and
innovative logistics solutions that deliver value; and persuading Public Sector
decision makers that DHL can help them to reduce their costs - not an easy
Looking back on the programme
DHL provides excellent opportunities for
talented graduates to progress quickly. I can certainly recommend the graduate
programme to anybody that is ambitious and wants to progress quickly to senior
positions. The programme gave me the experience and knowledge of the logistics
industry that is required in order to move up the career ladder. It supported
the development of my management style and techniques and taught me my most
important lesson - Never underestimate the importance of networking.