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Global Graduate Accelerator: Oliver on tackling the Business Challenge

Global Graduate Accelerator: Oliver on tackling the Business Challenge

Reading time: 5 minutes

Recently, we introduced BSH’s Global Graduate Accelerator – a program for young talents with learning opportunities, mentorship, a stay abroad and an unlimited contract with BSH. After Jennifer’s introduction of the program and Andrea’s experience abroad, we now want to share Oliver Glardon’s story. Having finished the program this year, Oliver gathered experience in his focus areas IT, Digital & Strategy and completed the GGA’s Business Challenge. Discover how Oliver mastered the challenge with his fellow Graduates and how mentorship and networking helped him hone his hard and soft skills further.

1.    Please give us a brief wrap-up of your time as a Global Graduate. In which area(s) did you work? Where was your placement abroad? 
During the Global Graduate Accelerator, I had the opportunity to work in three different departments at three different locations enabling me to get to know BSH from various perspectives. I started in Munich in the so-called “Shape Digital Factory” IT department. Here I supported the organization of an agile product increment planning event and analyzed production data with Python and Amazon Web Services (AWS). After that, I continued the program at the factory site in Traunreut, Germany, where I worked for the Operations Management team of ovens and supported the requirements engineering of a new oven product line. Finally, I had the chance to join the Business Development team in Zaragoza, Spain, where I worked on an analysis of current sustainability activities and analyzed sales data with Power BI.


2. What was your motivation to apply for the Global Graduate Accelerator at BSH Home Appliances?
First of all, a graduate program seemed to me like a great opportunity to experience a company from different angles, get valuable hands-on experience and build a network within a company. Therefore, I was researching different possibilities and found the BSH Global Graduate Accelerator program. When I did further research about BSH, it seemed (and still feels) great to work for an internationally operating company that produces purposeful products supporting our everyday life. Finally, that combination of a challenging program and a global company with purposeful products motivated me to apply for the program. 


3.    What is the Business Challenge?
The Business Challenge is an essential part of the GGA and starts with a business-related challenge provided by a BSH department, for example, the development of a new innovative product or service idea. After great interactive training days on Design Thinking and agile methods, the Global Graduates are teaming up in cross-functional groups to ideate on solutions for the given challenge in an agile and self-organized manner. Supported by motivating and professional coaches, the teams further iterate, challenge and test their concepts in several sprints. An important part is also the networking within the company to get further insights on specific topics and the continuous feedback sessions with the challenge givers from the business at the end of each sprint. Finally, after several sprints and months, all teams pitch their ideas to a broad group of stakeholders, including a member of the Board of Management.


4.    On which project did your group work?
All groups had to tackle the same question: What do you imagine the Kitchen Machine to be like in 2025? Specifically, we had to create an innovative solution around the kitchen machine or its ecosystem enabling a sustainable lifestyle for the consumers. Starting with a variety of ideas from our Design Thinking sprints, our team finally developed and pitched a new business model idea named “BoschBox” for our small domestic home appliances business. I don’t want to reveal too much at this point, but it is a service that resonates with the megatrends of urbanization and sharing economy.


5.    What did the collaboration in your team look like? 
We worked in an agile setup with continuous sprints and review sessions. At the start of each sprint, we planned our backlog within the team and met every Friday to work on our tasks. As we worked at different locations during our second and third rotations of the Global Graduate Accelerator, we mainly used online collaboration tools like Miro and Microsoft Teams. At the end of each sprint, we reflected on our performance, on our team collaboration, and on the feedback we received from our stakeholders and jointly, within the team, derived measures on how to adapt or improve. So, our collaboration can be summarized as cross-functional, agile, virtual and fun!


6.    What did you learn from the Business Challenge? Were you able to advance certain skills?
I am convinced that each of us graduates had an insightful and rewarding time with various learnings and experiences during the business challenge. First, for me, it was really a hands-on experience on how to work effectively and efficiently within a self-organized team in an agile setup. Furthermore, the continuous feedback sessions within the team and the sprint reviews enabled me to further advance my presentation as well as my communication skills. Another important focus of the business challenge was on consumer centricity that we applied for example by preparing and conducting consumer interviews. In summary, besides the company and product-related knowledge that I gained, I could especially further develop my soft skills and knowledge around agility and consumer centricity.  


7.    Are you able to continue working on the idea? What are the next steps? 
All teams got a good response and positive feedback on their pitched concepts. This was a great feeling after all these sprints and iterations. In our case, we are currently preparing and structuring all documents for a good handover of our business model innovation concept to the respective business unit.


8.    Looking back at your time as Global Graduate, what was your personal highlight or favorite memory?
It is hard to pick one single highlight, as there were several great moments and encounters with inspiring people along this yearlong journey - from our diverse Graduate group to the welcoming colleagues in the departments and my great mentor during the program. However, one special moment for me was surely our final trip to BSH Slovenia at the end of our program. There we met really inspiring and welcoming BSH colleagues who work with great passion and dedication.


9.    After your year as a Global Graduate, you got a permanent job at BSH. What is your new job?
I started in a department called “Operations Management” which acts as a coordinating interface between our four regional business units (Europe, North America, Greater China and Emerging Markets) and our global operations functions (e.g. Development). In particular, I work on sustainability and innovation topics for the product family of surface cooking and ventilation, which includes our great cooktops and hoods that we offer to our customers worldwide. 


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BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, with a total turnover of some EUR 15.6 billion and 62,000 employees in 2022, is a global leader in the home appliance industry. The company’s brand portfolio includes eleven well-known appliance brands like Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau and Neff as well as the ecosystem brand Home Connect and service brands like Kitchen Stories. BSH produces at 40 factories and is represented in some 50 countries. BSH is a Bosch Group company.