The opportunities for newly graduated students are endless. Even if “endless opportunities” can be both exciting and fun, they can also be stressful and confusing. What is the right path for you? I met Cindy Grahn, a former board member of LundaEkonomerna, who told me about her unexpected path to become a Store Manager at the global clothing apparel company, UNIQLO. A path you can choose too!
Cindy grew up in a small village in Skåne called Skurup. She studied for a bachelor’s degree in economics and then moved to Lund to begin another bachelor’s degree in statistics. Then she started a master’s degree in statistics, but after six years of studies, Cindy decided she was ready for the next step and not to continue with the master’s degree. At the eee-days 2018, LUSEM’s annual labour fair, she had a career interview with UNIQLO. The retail industry was never something Cindy thought of as the career path for her, but the interview was a very inspiring experience, and she became intrigued by this new company. After a while, an email from UNIQLO appeared. This was the beginning of an exciting and ongoing career.
Cindy started her career as a trainee at the UNIQLO Manager Candidate Program. It is a year-long program that teaches you about the organisation “from the inside out”, as Cindy puts it. You start as a Customer Advisor to understand the fundamentals and the core of the organisation. At first, it can feel confusing to begin your career packing up boxes and working at the register. Cindy explains that over time she realised that this is a crucial part to become a great leader for an organisation in the future. This helps you to view problems from new perspectives and builds trust in your relationship with colleagues and employees. During the program, trainees will get more and more responsibilities, and finally, assist the Store Manager to optimise the store as an Assistant Manager. As a trainee at UNIQLO, you get the opportunity to work all over Europe, for example, in Italy, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
I asked Cindy why UNIQLO is a great place to work. She answered that UNIQLO always strives to become the best and to do so they give their employees great opportunities to grow and develop. Through this program, Cindy has had the opportunity to work in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Copenhagen. UNIQLO trusts their employees, and because of that, she has gained massive experience by being a part of store openings and increased responsibilities. In only three years, Cindy has been a part of the opening- and planning process of the store in Gothenburg, and had the opportunity to become the Store Manager, her current position. The Store Manager position includes a great variety of tasks and strategic decision-making. For example, she does market- and customer analyses and then depending on the results decides what to sell in the store. But being a Store Manager is not her endgame. She strives to become an Area Manager or even Scandinavian Chief in the near future, but in the long run, her mind is set on Japan.
Now it is time for a new trainee to enter the UNIQLO Manager Candidate Program! Cindy explained that no specific bachelor’s or master’s is asked for, but it is great to have an interest in business and management. You must be a positive person who wants to be in charge with good leadership skills and wants to drive the company forward. UNIQLO is a highway to a career in retail. Take this opportunity and create your own path!
Apply for the UNIQLO Manager Candidate Program here.
In paid collaboration with UNIQLO