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Going Global

The week of GMT Global Induction is one I will never forget. This experience is unparalled to any introduction week I’ve ever had. I detailed the saga to my friends and family when I was able to catch upon some much needed Zzzz’s after the weekend and sent long emails to friends back at the Williamsburg brewery.

We knew we were getting close when the weekend before, trainees fresh out of school poured in to our hotel from around the world. We heard the foreign languages, saw the different styles, and the groups of them gathering in the lobby. We got to the point where we skipped the question, “Are you a trainee?” to just introducing ourselves to everyone young person that we saw in the hotel elevator. 120 trainees, wow. That Sunday afternoon, I had finally given up hope for my laptop computer and ventured out to Best Buy to pick up a new one. One word best decribes the store: CHAOS. Trainees pushing large shopping carts loaded up on iPads, in fact anything Apple, laptops, DVD’s, mobile devices, etc. The store attendants looked overwhelmed and I heard them muttering, where did all of these kids come from and why are they all here today!?

The week was kicked off with a neat “Getting Connected” exercise where we drew the name of another trainee and had to link arms as we found our trainee. We eventually ended up in one large, interconnected group. This was really impactful, visually it was impressive and it really emphasized the large scale of this program and how this network will be with us for the longevity of our time with the company. We met and mingled with our project work groups, having been divided into 12 internationally-diverse teams for our week-long Global Budweiser Project. We were all curious about each other’s cultures, backgrounds, and goals for the future. From there, the morning proceeded with incredible speaches from some of our company’s most senior leaders. We listened attentively, took notes, and were awe-struck.

Monday night signaled the start of a sleepless week. Having been delivered the assignment for the Global Bud Project, the race was on to comprehend the project, brainstorm innovative ideas, and narrow this plethora of ideas to 3 key submissions to be judged by the Global Bud Team. Working into the wee hours of the morning, our differences and the completely opposite team dynamic (as compared to what we were all used too) really shined through. Exasperating at the time, this experience was the best takeaway from the entire week. It made me realize how much I took for granted working with same-cultured, highly motivated, English as first language peers. And yes, I had a LOT to learn.

Tuesday night we had the opportunity to serve concessions at Busch Stadium. With temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it was an exhausting night. Myself and another North American Zone trainee quickly learned the registers. My register was situated next to 3 trainees from Brazil and 3 other trainees helped to run orders for these registers and mine. We quickly bonded and had a blast. At one point, it got so hectic that the Brazilian girl running orders for me began talking to me in Portuguese! We laughed and enjoyed our time.

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Goodbye Williamsburg, Hello St. Louis

Hi all! I’ll be maintaining this blog to document my travels during the 10-month Global Management Trainee Program (GMTP).  It’s been a new and exciting ride thus far; I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!

July 26th, 2010. A date engraved in my memory. A date I said in the brewery nearly 1,000+ times. A date that seemed so far away. Myself and another trainee had already worked for the company for 2 years prior to starting the GMTP. I started in Operations in May 2008 at the Williamsburg brewery. Upon accepting the GMTP in November 2009, it commenced a near 10-month count down before I left. In these remaining 10 months, the people in Williamsburg were left asking what is the GMTP?, what will you be doing?, will you be moving to Belgium?, and when is your last day??? The answers came as the months passed and now that I’m in the program, I’m hoping this blog will shed insights into our experiences, stories, and our 10-month journey.

My last day at the Williamsburg brewery was bitter-sweet. In fact, it had been such a sleepless week trying to prepare for the move that when arriving for a 6am meeting that Friday, I had no remote thought that this would be my last time driving into the brewery until my manager fondly pointed out those sad feelings of memories and leaving. He said with a huge grin, “So, nothing is like driving in for your last day. Looking at the beautiful trees, the flowers, and walking in knowing you’ve done this 1,000 times and this is now your last.” I laughed and complained to him for bringing me back to reality.

We flew in on Sunday, the night prior to our start. I arrived at the airport in St. Louis at the same time as my roommate that I would be sharing hotel rooms/apartments with for the next 6 months. After we lug the combined 500+ lbs of luggage into our compact car, we set off for our hotel. When asked about our massive suitcases, we joked that we were only staying for the night 😉

Our first week was a whirlwind of meeting new people, seeing new things, and learning about the company. All 13 of the other trainees were so outgoing, vibrant, and unique. We slowly learned our way around the St. Louis campus, although you could still spot us from a mile away as the new kids in town. We mainly stayed in the corporate building and wow, what a difference as compared to the noise and the grit of the packaging floor. Mid-week we travelled to Chicago to an Innovation Center and the transition from talking about energy and fluid usage, line productivity, and labor issues to the millennial consumer, new technologies, marketing, and sales really set in. What a difference. I was amazed and taken aback by the innovations that were demo’ed to us and began to innovate and dream myself. Chicago was a beautiful city and we all learned a lot.