Katherine McDaid, a Food Science and Nutrition BSc student on an Industrial year at Mondelez International working at RD&Q Global as a Productivity Intern

Katherine McDaid

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

Mondelez International is one of the world’s leading snacking companies, which owns many exciting brands such as Cadbury, Green & Blacks, Milka and Oreo! They are a global company and aim to bring joy to the world through their products. The Bournville site I work at is the Global Centre of Excellence for Chocolate, and is where Cadbury products are produced!

What is your role within the company?

Productivity involves reducing the cost of a product without impacting upon the quality. My role involves lots of learning about the raw materials in chocolate and applying the knowledge to determine effects of using different resources on the product a consumer enjoys.

Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?

Every day is very different! I could spend the day running a cocoa powder sensory session, participating in shelf life testing or even be conducting a trial in the pilot plant on site that involves making chocolate bars from scratch. I may spend time working on my own project work or even help organise upcoming events for the site. I have also had the opportunity to visit other sites owned by the company which has been a brilliant chance to see how the business fits together. One thing that is consistent in my working day, however, is the huge amount of chocolate I get to sample!

What do you enjoy the most and do you get involved in any interesting projects?

Personally, being given responsibility and the achievement of completing my tasks to a high standard is my favourite part. Mondelez interns are given projects that are significant and being able to get hands on and help the business grow is very rewarding - there is no tea making here. In just a few months on placement, I have had a chance to get involved in a wide range of fascinating projects and had exposure different categories in RD&Q ranging from cocoa bean sourcing to producing a finished product in the factory.

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I wanted to do a year in industry because of the invaluable experience it provides in regards to improving your CV and applying for graduate jobs. Furthermore, it was very important to me to be able to learn if I genuinely would enjoy a role in the food industry. Finally, it is a fantastic way of getting as much value as possible from a degree at university and I knew the skills gained on placement would greatly help in my final year.

What do you think you have got out of this experience so far? 

In just the first few months of my placement, I have been blown away by the amount of knowledge I have gained about the work place and about chocolate! It has been so important to apply what I have learnt from my degree in real life. Along with many fantastic contacts in an industry I want to progress into after graduation, I have gained so many of the skills required for my degree and a future career in the industry. I have also learnt more about what I enjoy doing and have been excited by parts of the industry I overlooked initially, as well as being less enthusiastic about those I originally thought would be perfect for me.

Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

Do it! I would recommend being proactive with applications because many placements open quite early in the year. Make the most of the Careers centre and other resources that can help you produce a strong CV and cover letter. With that being said, it is important to have resilience when applying for placements- don’t let rejections get you down because the next application you send may just be the ideal place for you!!