One big family
Lantmännen is an agricultural cooperative founded on the deep knowledge our farmers have aquired over generations. We make farming thrive and work together to take responsibility from field to fork.
Education: M.Sc. in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management from The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Stockholm. Bachelor of Business Administration in Corporate Finance from Gothenburg School of Business, Economics and Law.
Current position: Business Developer, Finland
Earlier roles within Lantmännen: Summer Intern and Graduate Trainee
Hi, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
My name is Joel, I am 26 and grew up on a farm outside Malmö with my twin brother Frans and two older sisters, Karin and Lotta. (Now also have a nephew, Truls, who charms all our family and learnt to say Tractor before he could say Mummy.) I enjoy socialising with friends and family which often revolves around food and cooking. I love to travel and whenever I get the chance, I pack my bag and head to new countries. Ideally, I like to combine travel and food such as when I moved to the US to research hamburger trends and when I lived in the Middle East and discovered the fantastic Meze culture.
Why did you decide to apply for a Lantmännen Summer Internship?
There were many reasons, but two in particular. Firstly, as my father is a farmer, I have been acquainted with Lantmännen since I was a little boy. As a result, I developed a special interest in Green Food from an early age. The second main reason is my interest in finance and business. There are not many companies that have such a big say in the “Agri-food industry” as Lantmännen.
My intention had been to become a Management Consultant when I completed my studies. I had already taken steps in that direction as CEO of HandelsConsulting AB in Gothenburg. However, after spending a summer as an Intern at Lantmännen, I changed my mind and decided I would prefer to work for a big company in an industry that appealed to me. The project I was allocated and worked on that summer was really exciting, but if I’m honest, it was probably mainly the Lantmännen employees, business and culture that ultimately swayed my decision. One powerful lesson I came away with was a fascination with how the need for profitability could be combined with long-term thinking and sustainability in a commercial enterprise, something I had not been familiar with in the consulting sector.
What was your Summer Internship like?
Very good in general, very educational, interesting tasks to perform and plenty of freedom with responsibility. As you send in an open application rather than applying for a specific project, it was only when I had been accepted and allocated my project that I genuinely appreciated how well suited the project was to me. Although my project was in the Group Control department I needed to contact people across the entire group, which enabled me to gain a fuller picture of the whole of Lantmännen. The project also gave me the opportunity to travel round and visit the different sectors and go on field trips. I also got to know people from previous trainee programmes which was great.
How did it feel not knowing what project you would be working on?
I think some of the applicants felt this was a bit stressful, but not knowing was not a problem for me personally. I knew that I wanted to sample working for Lantmännen and a big company. That was probably why I was also a bit surprised when I was allocated a project that was such a good match for me. Obviously, it was a bit challenging perhaps not knowing what assignment you were applying for during the recruitment process, which meant you had to make a pretty broad presentation and provide arguments as to why you wanted to spend time at Lantmännen as a group, but at the end of the day, it all worked out very well.
Tell us about your best memory from the summer internship.
At the end of the project, I had to make a presentation to the investment committee, which would then decide whether or not to vote in favour of the changes I recommended. It was clearly very nerve-racking to stand up and make a presentation in front of the likes of the CFO, Director of Group Strategy, Director of Group Controlling and others, but I also felt pretty confident about my recommendations and the knowledge I had about the project I had managed. The idea was that my presentation would last around 30 minutes, but it ended up taking about an hour. All the committee members paid very close attention, were curious and you could see that the project was important, which was great to know.
Did you learn anything during the internship that has proved useful in your current role?
Lantmännen is the first company I have worked at where the company’s values are genuinely reflected in everyday work there. The project I managed gave me an understanding of the business seen from a Group Control perspective. Everything from project specific questions, investment analyses and spreadsheets to project management and internal politics. As the project required me to contact all the sectors, I also took the opportunity to ask other questions which gave me a better understanding of the group. I also think the Summer Internship put me in a better position to apply to and be accepted on the Graduate Trainee Programme.
Despite my background and interest, I must admit I did not understand the business as much as I thought I did, in terms of what Lantmännen actually does. I probably did not really appreciate how big the group is and the types of businesses we actually operate. Businesses I did not associate with Lantmännen at all at the start.
What was the best part of being a Graduate Trainee at Lantmännen?
That you have an opportunity to get to know the entire group via your different project placements. The trainee programme is well-established within the group and from day one, you are given the trust to manage business critical and challenging projects. Added to which you get to work with fantastic colleagues. I completed the trainee programme in 2017 and have been living in Helsinki since then, where I am involved in integrating one of Lantmännen’s most recent acquisitions into the group.