F15 Graduate

Rucha Sarma

Rucha Sarma is a citizen of the world and cultural chameleon – born in India, grew up in New Zealand and has worked, studied and lived in 10 other countries (Oman, Canada, Czech Republic, Singapore, Aus-tralia, Sweden, Denmark, France, Nigeria and UK). She is a graduate of the CEMS Masters in International Management programme and has worked in several start-ups and smaller companies before joining Arla. Currently she is living a hyggelig, cheese-filled life in Aarhus, where she is working as Global Brand Man-ager for Castello.

When and how did you join Arla and what is your position now? 
I joined Arla in 2015 as part of the F15 programme. Prior to working at Arla, I had always worked in smaller companies and start-ups. I wanted to work for a multinational organisation but a company that had a real sense of purpose and values that I could really connect with! Arla and the F15 programme of-fered exactly what drives me and I ended up as one of the lucky 15 people to be part of the 2015 F15 co-hort. I started my journey with Arla in the Global Milk team in Aarhus as an Assistant Brand Manager. I then worked in Commercial Finance and Operations in one of our most exciting international markets – Nigeria. For my last rotation, I was based in Leeds, working on some digital and innovation projects for Castello. I’m now working as a Global Brand Manager for our delicious Specialty Cheese brand – Castello in our global Headquarters in Aarhus. I work with some of our emerging international markets to grow the Castello brand and also lead some of our innovation projects. 

How has the F15® programme helped you to grow your career? 
The F15 programme is one of the best schools out there. Right from the beginning, you’re pushed into deep waters and given some exciting and strategic projects to work on. Working in three different loca-tions and functions has developed my all-around management skills and helped me build a great profes-sional network of mentors, peers and leaders. Professionally, I’ve developed a good toolkit for Project Management, have learnt a lot about stakeholder management and the nuances of managing a global brand. Personally, I’ve learnt to be more adaptable and be more self-aware, which helps me work better with very diverse teams. 

What has been your biggest challenge so far? 
I still remember the time I was told that I was going to Nigeria for my second rotation. Our HR contact mentioned they have a prioritized project in Nigeria and asked me if I was interested. I said “Yes”! She said the project was in Finance and that’s when I had second thoughts… Finance scared me more than going to Nigeria! As someone who is more creative, not too structured and detail orientated and with a natural affinity for words rather than numbers, I was a bit afraid to go into a Finance rotation. However, that was the best learning experience! It was way out of my comfort zone, I had to wire my brain differ-ently and think and work in ways that doesn’t come as naturally to me but at the end of the rotation I realized 1. Finance isn’t that difficult (it actually is quite fun!), 2. You can do anything as long as you have an open mindset and curiosity to learn.

What’s your next step? 
As a global citizen, I always have itchy feet to move to a new country. Emerging markets are my true pas-sion. Ideally, I would like head back to one of our international markets and work on something with more digital focus.

Exciting opportunities

F15® Graduate Programme

As a F15 Graduate you are expected to become one of Arla's future leaders and help shape our business moving forward. The F15® Graduate Programme is a fast-track leadership programme that includes three different eight-month rotations.

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