Name: Zenobia Rajkotwala, 25
Job: Graduate trainee, The Maersk Company Ltd
Degrees: 2:2, Industrial Economics, University of Warwick; MA, International relations, University of Nottingham
I was looking for jobs online when I saw Maersk. I grew up in Denmark and I was really impressed with what they were offering.
I would really suffer in a monotonous job and here you never know what the day is going to throw at you.
Probably being based in Felixstowe for a time. But that was because I couldn’t drive and public transport in Suffolk isn’t the best. But once I passed my driving test things got much better.
You don’t need a huge amount of shipping knowledge before you enter this profession, just enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. If big money is a major motivator for you, then forget it. But there are some fantastic aspects – how many graduate schemes will guarantee expatriation within two years?
Despite having an economics degree, Zenobia worked out quite early that banking wasn’t for her. "An internship at HSBC ruled it out. It just didn’t excite me. The money would have been great, but it’s not a big motivating factor for me. If you hate your job, money can only take you so far."
Zenobia wanted challenge, variety and to meet lots of people – but had no idea who she wanted to work for, or even in which sector. Fortunately, a chance sighting of the Maersk website proved to offer an ideal opportunity. The Danish shipping chain’s graduate programme even offers several rotations. "It was perfect," she says. Her rotations have included a stint in Felixstowe, trying to save money on supply chains for big retailers; in the commercial department tendering for new business; and then a bit of "nitty gritty" in operations – making sure containers were on time and on the quay. "It gave me a good grounding in what makes goods go from A to B," she says. "We all go into shops such as Woolworths, but you never realise the effort involved in getting the goods there." She is currently right at the heart of things, working in Canary Wharf on the integration of Maersk and P&O.
Next for Zenobia is to apply for a two-year expatriation as part of Maersk’s international graduate programme, and she has 90 countries to choose from. But is it all too good to be true? "Almost," she says. "It can be quite scary. You’re given a lot of independence early – and you’re expected to deliver."