Degree placement helped Britta to graduate trainee position
Britta Björklund had been interested in Billerud because of the company’s focus on future developments and sustainability. By pure coincidence she found herself sitting next to Billerud’s Sustainability and Communications Director at a seminar, this proved to be her way into the company.
How did you end up applying to Billerud?
I’d been interested in Billerud even before I started applying for degree project placements. I was particularly interested in Billerud’s focus on future developments and sustainability. I attended a seminar of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) and ended up sitting next to Henrik Essén, Sustainability and Communications Director at Billerud. We started talking about sustainability issues and about possible subjects for a work-based degree project. We decided that I’d get in touch when it was time for my degree placement. When I later contacted Henrik, he put me in touch with my supervisor.
Tell us about your degree project at Billerud.
Billerud is expanding its sales in Asia, so it’s important for the company to understand what happens to its products after they've been used by consumers. My degree project involved trying to gain an overview of current paper and plastic recycling systems in Asia. This work will be used as the basis for a new area of study that Billerud needs to look at in more detail.
For example, the project shows that those countries included in the study currently have no specific legislation on the handling of paper waste. The results of the degree project were presented to colleagues at Billerud who work with Asian markets.
What happened after the degree project?
I must have made a good impression during the placement, as I was then hired as a graduate trainee by the Business Development Cartonboard department. I’m eight months into my graduate trainee year and I really like the programme. I’ve learnt a lot and it’s great fun. You can find out more about what it’s like to be a Billerud graduate trainee in our trainee blog! Link.
What experience will you take with you from your degree project?
I’ve learnt that things aren’t always straightforward. Studying markets with foreign languages and different time zones presented a lot of obstacles for the results of the study. So the biggest lesson I learned from the project was that sometimes things don’t turn out the way you initially expect, but the results can still be just as good if not better!
What advice do you have for students looking for degree project placements?
My advice is don’t be afraid to contact people! Put forward the issues you’re interested in, but also listen to find out if the company has some ideas. Perhaps you can come to a compromise? Attend trade fairs, seminars and lectures where you can meet someone from the company. A face is always easier to remember than an email address!
Name: Britta Björklund
Education: Master’s in Forest Industrial Economics & and BSc in Economics
University: Master’s from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences & BSc from Uppsala University