This year 2016 started rather well when I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Finnish Association of Purchasing and Logistics (LOGY) mentoring program. This program is open for all LOGY members under the age of 35 years. As a student, it only costs 10 € a year to join the association, so it is definitely money well spent.
I was encouraged to apply for the mentoring program by my logistics lecturer Kaija Haapasalo. The application process is open for a few weeks from the end of the year until the beginning of the next year. During that time the new mentors are displayed on LOGY website. The application works so that first you choose one mentor from the list that you would like to do the program with. Next you send your CV and motivation letter to LOGY and they forward it to the mentor of your choice. Then the mentor chooses the student or young professional they find the most interesting amongst the applicants. My mentor is the Procurement Director Ralf Tupeli from Atria. I chose him because he works in a food company, as I would like too in the future.
We started the program by meeting over a coffee in Helsinki. The first couple of meetings were about getting to know each other and telling about our expectations for the mentoring year. The LOGY mentoring program does not have an official program but it is up to the participants to plan for the year. I applied for the program because I wanted to talk to a logistics professional about the industry, what it has been like and what he thinks it will become like in the future. It has been great to hear about Ralf’s experiences, opinions and advice. I find it is invaluable to acquire first-hand knowledge from an expert of the industry. Ralf himself got into the mentoring program as he feels like he has a lot to offer and he is genuinely interested in learning what the next generation of logistics professionals will be like.
We have managed to meet up once a month and very quickly we decided that the master plan for the year would be getting me an interesting trainee position. Ralf guided me to this by telling me about the different career paths I could choose from and advised me to research and make a list of interesting companies. Then he gave me interview tips and encouraged to start calling the companies. Eventually my efforts bore fruit and I got offered a traineeship in a food wholesalers Satotukku Oy. Now I also have a great contact list for those interesting companies should I ever need it in the future.
Over the months I have got to know Ralf well and there is no doubt that he has given me a lot of food for thought. I much appreciate that he takes the time to come and meet me to discuss subjects of my interest. I think that this mentoring experience is perhaps the most important thing that has happened to my fairly fresh career in logistics as today I am, for sure, a bit wiser and confident about the future than before my mentoring year.
I would strongly recommend this program for anyone as I only have good things to say about it. There are a couple of tips I would like to offer in case you are thinking about applying for the program:
- Make sure to send a great and personal letter of motivation. The letter will get you noticed if there are many applicants.
- It is a good idea to check out the LinkedIn profile of the mentor candidates before to see what they have done in the past.
- You need to have time for the meetings. Your life is probably very busy with school, hobbies and work, but the mentor is donating their time so make it worthwhile
Saara Ojanen, IBL14