“We’re looking for entrepreneurs, innovators and potential future inspirational leaders who are eager to develop a career with the world’s largest international TV and broadband company”
Looking back at the description of Liberty Global’s T&I graduate scheme, I remember my initial shock. To the uninitiated outsider, it seemed like a big ask to get university students to picture themselves as the leaders of tomorrow, especially in a such a fast-paced industry. How could I ever keep up?
But now, having completed the two-year grad scheme, and settling into my permanent role with the company, I realize they look for and reward potential, encourage original thought and create a platform to deliver excellence through innovation, allowing all those on the program to fit the categories they described on the application.
The Liberty Global T&I graduate scheme provided me with more than a kick-start to my career. It also gave me the space to develop personally, realize my strengths and weaknesses and push myself to succeed.
Learning and innovation go hand in hand.
Following four steps of the recruitment process, I suddenly found myself kicking off my first of four six-month rotations.
I started my graduate scheme journey with Liberty Global in the Global Delivery Organization and to say I was thrown in at the deep end would be an understatement. GDO oversees project management, from the innovator’s ‘lightbulb moment’, through the financing process, through to delivery and I was charged with analyzing and optimizing the production creation and delivery process. My first weeks passed in a blur as I came to terms with a new company, a new process and most importantly new ideas.
While adapting to my first role at Liberty Global proved a challenge, it made me realize that I could be an innovator. While I did not come up with any new product ideas, having the opportunity to surround myself with those who create new ideas on a daily basis, I grew to understand how ideas are born and developed, and how to ensure the best passage of an idea from inception to delivery. Suddenly, I had fit one of the three categories outlined in the once intimidating job description.
Network, network, network.
With six months experience behind me, I was more confident in the workings of Liberty Global and in my ability to contribute to the company’s success as I moved into my second rotation.
This time opting for a placement in the Product Reporting and Analysis team, my daily tasks were centered around how our carefully crafted customer value propositions were actually perceived by the end user. It felt like I was working on something tangible with additional opportunities to make my voice heard and bring new ideas to the table.
My second six months at Liberty Global brought its own unique set of challenges. With a plan to meet with people in a different department every month, I learned the importance of working outside my comfort zone. Putting yourself out there is never comfortable, but in a large multinational business such as Liberty Global, it couldn’t be more important to my success and professional development.
What seemed awkward in the beginning soon taught me two of the most important lessons I learned during my time as a graduate at Liberty Global. Firstly, people seem are pleased when you reach out to them to and show an interest in their work. Secondly, in most cases a thirty-minute chat over coffee will tell you more about where someone’s passions lie than a two-hour meeting could.
Even though the meetings were internal, meeting with new colleagues and discussing our ideas and interests were the first steps I took towards developing my entrepreneurial skills as I began to see the value of being proactive in engaging with strangers to develop my own ideas.
Let the journey take you somewhere unexpected.
The realization that I need to further develop my soft skills guided my choice for my third rotation to join the Spark team. Spark is the collective intelligence program and pushing out of comfort zones guided all team objectives.
‘Spark can only exist if we find ways to remain relevant and to be seen. To do that, we must make sure people know who we are and where to find us’ was the team mantra and meant anything from wearing coordinated bright orange sweatshirts in the office, to travelling to other OpCos to teach start-up lean methodology. It also meant that in the span of three months, I went from not having any knowledge of how to present innovation techniques, to helping my colleagues at UPC Poland work on their presentation skills.
My commitment to moving outside my comfort zones went beyond joining one of the most dynamic teams in the company and into the committee of Young Liberty, an internal organization aimed at providing social and development events for those starting out their careers. Young Liberty enabled me to connect with my peers and further involve myself in company life.
Spark and Young Liberty gave me the final part of the puzzle: leadership. From passing on knowledge to my colleagues to organizing events, I began to pick up leadership skills from those around me, learning both from managers and graduate peers alike. So, as I came to the end of my first 18 months at Liberty Global, I felt a great sense of accomplishment as I reflected on how far I’d come from the start of my journey, from being shy and hiding behind my screen to feeling that I was beginning to fully fit the job description I had been so unsure of at first reading.
Go. For. It.
With the end of the graduate scheme fast approaching, it was time to decide where I would spend my final six months. While I loved that Spark had made me push myself, I missed getting lost in numbers and spreadsheets and wanted to hone my analytical skills on top of my interpersonal skills.
This is probably the moment when the bonds I’d developed inside the graduate group helped me the most: we were all under some pressure to find a job, but since we were now friends as well as colleagues, we helped each other make the best decision for our individual personalities.
It was through my graduate friends that I learned of the Central Business Analysis team at Liberty Global, where they work on Commercial Analysis and Executive Reporting. With my new-found confidence in asking senior members for advice, I reached out to the manager of the team to discuss the role and opportunities it held.
The first few weeks were intense and the learning curve was steep but it taught me how to effectively manage my workload, allowing me to learn without feeling overwhelmed.
As they say, ‘the rest is history’: I had joined in March, and by June I had little doubt that I would have liked to stay in the team after the end of the program. Once again, the team was extremely supportive, and did everything possible to make it happen. Now I have been in the role for six months, I am still learning something new every day, and I am still encouraged to make time to develop my personal interests and connections.