Felix Brecht
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Why the life as a trainee at adidas sometimes feels like being an internal consultant

Why the life as a trainee at adidas sometimes feels like being an internal consultant

Isn’t it true that it is easy to motivate yourself to go to work if you love what is at the root of what your employer does?

Ever since my internship at adidas in the Retail Controlling department during the semester break in 2009, I have wanted to return to adidas in order to live my passion for sports.

My name is Felix and I rejoined adidas in October 2011 as a Functional Trainee in Finance. In a nutshell, my Functional Trainee Program comprises of 6 separate 3-month rotations within the area of finance, including one assignment abroad. Currently, I am in the middle of my third rotation, and I think it is a good point in time to reflect on my personal journey within adidas.

Off to a fast start

Following internal recommendations, I started my first rotation at Corporate Planning & Reporting. I was really lucky to get assigned to the Route 2015 project, supporting the Group’s most comprehensive strategic plan thus far, with the ultimate goal of reaching 17bn in sales and an operating margin of 11% by 2015. Due to its strategic importance, I was in touch with senior management on a daily basis and was able to become a point of contact. Having many deadlines, sometimes several within a single day, was intense but so much fun! Maybe that is why I think life as a trainee feels like being an internal consultant somehow. You have to be able to adapt quickly to new teams, projects, tasks, leadership styles, you name it! Keeping that in mind, I have always tried to learn quickly and become an integral part of the team from day one in order to contribute to the department’s success. One of the key things I learnt at Corporate Planning & Reporting was to “convey your work in a simple message”, presenting only the most relevant information to the audience. And, after two weeks, my fellow Finance trainees and I got the opportunity to do a project for the company’s CFO, Robin Stalker. The the opportunity to give a presentation in front of him and to actively work with him was a great experience.

Annual Report … it’s peak season!

Seeking a new challenge, I joined the Investor Relations team for my second rotation. Let me tell you that creating the Annual Report is probably one of the most intense recurring projects within a company! Ensuring consistency and quality of numbers, proofreading, finding suitable images and being in contact with Accounting was just part of my daily work. I was impressed by the complexity of the overall process and the interdependency of individual tasks.

Felix and his fellow trainees sitting together with the Adi statue at Adi Dassler Sportplatz in Herzogenaurach

Felix and his fellow trainees sitting next to the Adi statue at Adi Dassler Sportplatz in Herzogenaurach

The only constant is change

The next rotation at Finance Brands – Sport Style was so different as well- not least because my desk was located in Laces, the new state-of-the art building at the Group’s headquarters. Here, I looked at figures on the article level and I worked closely together with people in Marketing rather than in Finance. This is actually what I like about the Functional Trainee Program: there is a huge variety of different options available and I am free to choose what I would like to do!

China is calling

Right now I am doing my rotation abroad. Since August 2012 I get to know Shanghai and learn how a market subsidiary works. My mentor (every trainee has one) was a great help with that, as well as with the layout of my roadmap. However, my rotation abroad is another story – a story on its own.

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  1. This is so awesome to read- thanks for the honest and thorough post. I am living abroad right now, and hoping to join the FTP in 2013. Landed on this post while I was looking for more info on the program, and it’s definitely helped.

    Thanks, Felix!