IT education

Telefonica Digital graduate scheme encourages international outlook

Kayleigh Bateman

Telefonica Digital is encouraging graduates to have an international outlook on business, through its Digital European Graduate Scheme.

The mobile operator, represented by O2 in the UK, offers graduates the opportunity to join a paid, two-year programme covering international marketing, business development, sales, business strategy and finance.

Graduates can join the scheme in Ireland, the UK, Germany or the Czech Republic, and have the option of taking a six-month rotation in another European office during their second year on the programme.

Telefonica launched the programme in 2010 to attract graduates with good language skills – applicants are required to speak Spanish, German or Czech, in addition to English.

Multilingual graduates

Two multilingual students to join the programme recently were Margarida Nunes and Jiri Novotny. Both studied for a CEMS Master’s in International Management (MIM) after their undergraduate degrees, which required them to speak a minimum of three languages, making them ideal candidates for the Telefonica Digital European Graduate Scheme.

Nunes who is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English, was one of seven graduates to enrol this year.

Originally from Portugal, Nunes studied for her International Master’s degree in Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. She joined Telefonica Digital at the beginning of September.

“I currently work on the ‘cool kids’ team. It’s the communication product design team. This means I work on new products, and with the design team we create and integrate things," she said. "I like this team and will stick to it for the time being. Everyone listens to you, instead of treating you like a graduate. We are there to share, as well as learn.”

Nunes said she heard about the programme while at university and was targeted by Telefonica Digital for her language skills. 

“The company is expanding into Latin America, so being able to speak Spanish and Portuguese puts me in a good position. When the two years have ended you have the choice to work with any of the Telefonica Digital teams in the world, as we would have had experience with most of them. You have to be free and willing to travel a lot with this programme.”

Novotny, who speaks English, Czech and German, joined the programme a year ago. He said he travels to visit different teams every two months.

“To start, we spend five weeks travelling to European countries to see all aspects of the international teams and how they work together," he said. "In two weeks, I’m off to Pittsburg in the US for a conference on leadership.”

Originally from the Czech Republic, Novotny studied for his International Masters in Prague and Vienna. He joined Telefonica Digital in Prague, and plans to continue working for the company in Europe once he has completed the two-year programme.

“I started in technology strategy for six months, which was very intensive. I'm in business strategy now, learning about strategies and where the company could head," he said. “You get experience of every team and every department.”

Each graduate is given a manager and mentor. “I was given a top manager who gave me tips and feedback," said Novotny. 

“Every day is different, as we undergo workshops and training. The workshops and skillset include different areas, such as leadership and finance. This is all done in-house,” he said.

Masters in International Management

The CEMS Master’s in International Management (MIM) that Nunes and Novotny studied for was not a requirement of the European Graduate Scheme, but being multilingual was. Both graduates speak three languages, which was required to qualify for their masters degree.

The International Masters qualification is taught in 26 universities globally and annual intake only allows a maximum of 30 students in each country.


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