Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Let's Talk About: Unilever Leadership Internship Program (Selection Phases)

The Starting Line

I realized how (un)creative I have been for these past few months. No blog posts, really!
It's just that I was suddenly reminded of how idealistic I was about blog, thinking that a blog should be either attractive or informative. In fact, I ended up not posting anything because everytime I wanted to post something, a voice in my head would say "Naaaah... it's not useful/informative enough."

But anyways. Those days are over. I'm back.

There have been a lot of things going on lately in my life. Exciting new things, the not-so-exciting ones as well, and just regular activities. My 7th semester classes have just begun.. There will be 4 subjects left to finish.. actually 5 including my thesis.

But what's more exciting to me is my current experience as an intern in Unilever Indonesia. 
There's this program called Unilever Leadership Internship Program where Unilever Indonesia recruits 3rd year (minimum) college students to work as an intern. They have 5 functions available, which are Marketing, Customer Development, Human Resources, Finance, and Supply Chain. 
I knew about this program from a friend (I thank him, really) where he showed me this digital poster about the program from Facebook.

The first time I heard from him about this internship program, I wasn't directly interested because my major is Computer Science. Honestly my mental struggle (I don't know if I'm using the correct word) was that I already felt that I don't belong to the world of programming, but the environment was kinda telling me that I "have to" learn about it. So because of that thought, I was hesitating to take an opportunity to join this internship program (there's no IT-Related function in the program as I stated above), thinking that I was supposed to fill my summer break (semester break) for taking a deeper knowledge about programming and a deeper, much deeper, liking to it.
But then I thought about it again, and I literally opened the website to read about each function, and I was interested into 2 functions : Marketing and HR. Long story short, I applied for those two functions because 
I could choose more than one function as my preference. 
Currently, I'm working as an HR Leadership and Development intern in the ULIP program. How did I get in? I'll share with you.

The Take-Off

There were 4 phases that I went through. Actually you can also find out about it on Unilever's website, but if you wanna know about "the feel" of it according to my perspective, read away.

The first phase is Application form phase. Basically I had to fill in an Application Form. It's like CV Template where I had to fill my personal data (like my full name, address, phone number, and etc), but in the form there were also Essay questions to be answered. To tell you the truth, I spent a few days to think about what I should write to answer them. The questions were "What is your proudest achievements and why?" , "What is your major disappointment so far and why?" , and "What is your most significant leadership experience". Besides the essays, there were also fields that made me think longer, like "Reason of Preference" and "Internship Expectation". Such a thoughtful phase, huh? Looking back, I really think it's important to be honest to yourself on what you write because it reflects how you perceive things. I'm quite a straightforward person so I don't really put "flowers" on my writing. I decided to be honest about my expectations and thoughts about the program. Oh, but of course in any kinds of application form you have to "sell" your experience and achievements. It's a competition, after all.

The second phase is numerical and logical reasoning online test. It was the first time of my life (sounds exaggerating, yeah) that I had to take those kinds of test. I had no idea what those were, and now that I think about it, I was so excited that I didn't even do any research about the tests before I took them.
My suggestion would be : do the research and practice, don't be too ignorant or too excited like I was. 
In Numerical Reasoning test you'll face questions which requires you to analyze either a data presented in tables or graphs. Using a calculator is allowed (but then again, I only used my laptop's calculator. BAD IDEA. Using a real calculator is recommended.). In Logical Reasoning tests, you will be facing a lot of patterns which requires you to think more logically, so you can complete sequences of logically correct patterns. If you're asking my opinion, for a first timer, with no exercise or such thing, it was quite hard and nerve-wrecking. Thankfully I made it through to the next phase,

which is Focus Group Discussion.
In Focus Group Discussion, you will be facing a business case in a group. In my case, it was 9 people. We were given time to read the business case covering the fields of all 5 functions' perspectives (HR, Marketing, Supply Chain, Customer Development, and Finance's ). Then discuss about the case and its solutions in the group. The FGD was supervised by 2 managers. In my opinion, the objective of this FGD phase is to examine and discover how each candidate interacts with people, express their opinions, and contributes in a problem-solving discussion. 
To tell you the truth I wasn't really confident in this phase, because I had failed before in FGD phase of another program I applied to. After going through the FGD phase, It made me realized what I'm still lacking of as a discussion member. Quite a few lessons were learned at that time and I wasn't really happy with how I was performing, although I was still secretly hoping that I would pass to the interview phase.
Then I got in. Heart attack.

The final phase is... the Interview!
In this phase, there were 4 people left. I was glad and relieved that I got in, but I was suddenly reminded of the things my fellow candidates were chatting about before we started the FGD. It was the "I heard they will only choose one person to be the intern for this function" discussion. Challenging? Very much, yes. Discouraging? Could be. But there's really nothing to lose so I just went in there and tried my best. Speaking of the interview, I'd like to elaborate more here. You might be wondering about it, or questions like "Was it an intimidating interview?" "How do you think you did in the interview?" might have popped out as you're reading this post. I can describe the interview with two words. The word is SURPRISINGLY FUN.
"Fun? Are you kidding me? It's a freaking interview!" you might think. But yes, all of the paradigms about intimidating and nerve-wrecking interviews all went poof right when the interview started. It was more like a conversation rather than an interview. It was fun to describe myself to the two managers, and it triggered various questions in my head, from what I expect in the program, what I love doing, why I chose Marketing and HR, to the ultimate issue: what I really wanna do in life (still trying to figure it out, by the way). I was happy with the interview, but I had no idea if I did the interview right from the interviewers' perspectives. The interviewers also gave me helpful feedbacks about how I did in the FGD and how they think of me. Good stuff.
Waiting for the interview results, we were in the "quarantine room" where I could chat with the fellow candidates and even took pictures together. Surprisingly (in a good way) it didn't feel as intimidating as I thought it would be with the other candidates. It was another thing that I like from the whole FGD and Interview process.

They didn't announce who pass the interview right after the interviews were done (made me even more curious and kinda scared hahah). I got home with a goodie bag filled with Unilever Products and a handful of hope.

A Handful of Hope

Funny thing, I got fever for the rest of the day right after I got home. Turned out I forgot to have any meal or water until I got home(nervous much?maybe).

A few days later, I got an email that says:

I felt...

And then I skipped the medical check up to start the internship right away.
I had my medical checkup and was officially accepted as an intern in Unilever Leadership Internship Program 2013.
So that's the my story of Unilever Leadership Internship Program's application phases that I experienced.
Thanks for taking your time to read this long post. In the future I'll probably post about my fun and challenging experience as an intern in Unilever Indonesia, so stay tune :)


  1. Janet thanks for sharing.

    There is indeed a discrepancy between coding as CS study and coding with our interest, kind of hard to keep both. A CS student is a good coder? Not in "here" I think.

    At the end, seems that those anxiety and worrying have no much use. But until an effort is made, nobody can be sure. I think you won more than mere internship,congrats!

    Will be waiting for the part 2.

    1. You're welcome. Thanks for the comment! Your comment is indeed a correct conclusion from my blog post :D

    2. Tadinya pengen ngelamar kerja di Unilever, terus baca postingan ini. Ehmmm I have to be that good and 'lucky enough' to get in. Still have time to catch up. Thank you ka Janet for sharing

  2. Halo kak. I am surya. Thank you for sharing your experience. Really appreciate it. If I may, how many candidates were accepted into ulip? Were the 4 candidates who were interviewed accepted? Thank you.

    1. Hi Surya,

      You're welcome!
      Two people were accepted out of 4 final candidates who were interviewed.



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