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Meet Nicolai

Nicolai

From Finance Graduate to Head of Sales Controlling

I have a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business Administration and a master’s degree in Finance and Accounting.

I started as a Finance Graduate in 2013, where I was a part of a Rotational Program within the finance functions in Nestlé Nordics. During the Rotational Program, I was a part of several different teams: Accounting, Decision Support, Operations Controlling, Supply Chain Controlling, Audit, Sales Controlling and Business Controlling. After the Rotational Program, I was offered a permanent position as Sales Controller for Nestlé Professional (out of home products). In this role, I was co-piloting the commercial organization while helping to forecast and create various business cases.

In 2017, I was offered the position as Business Controller for Beverages as a part of the Beverage Business Controlling team, where the main responsibility was to manage the P&L and help make the right strategic decisions. In 2018, I became part of Nestlé Smart-Up, which is an initiative focusing on how to use the mentality of a start-up but the muscle of a mature company like Nestlé to create new business opportunities. My team helped to develop a blockchain solution for our Roast & Ground brand Zoégas.  In 2020, I was offered the position I am currently holding as Head of Sales Controlling Nestlé Nordics. I am leading a team of 12 Sales Controllers across the Nordics.

What it’s like to work here

I started as a Finance Graduate in 2013, and my first months working at Nestlé were very educational, fun, and tough. It was motivating to see how all my studies had a direct link to “real life”, but at the same time experiencing firsthand the differences between theory and practice.

What I appreciated the most was the learning journey and trust. There was a high focus on developing me as an employee and knowledgeable colleagues who were always willing to coach and support when I had questions.

The best aspects about working at Nestlé are the international teams in a fast-paced environment; the high focus on people development and that there is always a next career step; and that working with fast moving consumer goods makes it more tangible, especially when working in finance, in the sense that I can go down to the supermarket and see the effects of what I am working with daily.

What it’s like to grow here

My career development within Nestlé has been a combination of several factors. I have had great managers who have helped to support my development and growth, combined with a good network within Nestlé that made the possible changes happen. Patience was also key, to trust my manager’s judgement of when it was time for the next move and to understand that even though I might understand the basics in the role after year one, there was still a lot to learn.

Some advice I would give to young professionals is to have a relevant student job and take part in and be successful in internships/case competitions, etc. These experiences can help to broaden your network and make it easier to find a full-time position after graduation. With that being said, I will also highlight the importance of finding the right full-time job after your studies. To have a successful career, I believe it is important to understand that it is not a sprint but a marathon. For me, it was important to find a job where time flies, where I am motivated and feel like I have an impact in my daily work. It is also important for me that it is a job where I can have the right balance between my professional and personal life – otherwise, it is not sustainable in the long run. On top, it has been important for me that I could continue to develop and have a natural next step in my career to aspire to.

The impact you can have

In my current role, it is motivating to further develop and grow the Sales Controlling team. Additionally, by working closely together with both the Nordic Commercial teams and the Nordic Finance Leadership team, there are a lot of levels where I can have an impact.

On a bigger scale, Nestlé has many great initiatives, and it is important to me that Nestlé, as the largest food and beverage company in the world, is proactively tackling our global challenges. The 1.5-degree pledge with Nestlé cutting its greenhouse emissions by half in 2030 and net zero by 2050 is the one I am the proudest of.