WE’VE all been told that what will set a college graduate’s CV stand out is work experience. Students are reminded by their parents and teachers to undergo as many internships as possible, not only to beef up
their CV but also to gain experience.
Many companies recognize this, and they offer internship programs that involve more than just making coffee and answering phones.
Coca-Cola FEMSA (Fomento Económico Mexicano, SAB de CV), one of the world’s leading multinational companies, offers a unique program—CLUB Happiness (CLUB is an acronym for “Creating projects, Learning
the basics, Uncovering the potential, Becoming the brand”) ensures that each intern is carefully selected and deployed in departments that will maximize his/her strengths.
The interns have the privilege of being hired upon graduation. Ivan Ples, now working as a demand planning
specialist at Coca-Cola FEMSA, appreciates what he learned at CLUB Happiness: “The people were welcoming and easy to work with, while maintaining their professionalism—living up to the hype as the ‘makers
He recalls: “Growing up, daily life entailed a lot of budgeting. I saw the internship as an opportunity to start a journey of paying back my parents for all their sacrifices.” Ivan was studying Applied Economics at
De La Salle University when he received an invitation to apply in the internship program. “But I think my dad mistook it as a job offer already. Both he and my mom were really happy,” he recounts.
His dad passed away in the middle of his screening process. This difficult time in his life motivated him to work even harder. “I knew I had to be quick in absorbing all the new ideas the corporate world would throw at me,” Ivan says. He understood that working for Coca-Cola FEMSA entailed a lot of adjustments,
dealing not only with pressure but also with the different personalities he would encounter.
“My experience as a scholar in South Korea made me a more open and flexible person. I felt comfortable working for a company where interacting with various expats is not unusual,” he says.
Through his six-month internship, Ivan learned that growth is about picking oneself up every day, ready to give his best. His first assignment was in the HR Department: “I realized that HR in Coca-Cola FEMSA is financial and strategic in nature… An Applied Economics graduate like me has a place to learn and grow as an employee.”
He looks up to its HR and corporate affairs director, Juan Carlos Dominguez (JCD). “I became a fan when he gave his welcoming speech. He talked about how, early in his career, he remained motivated despite frustrations and disappointments,” he points out.
Under JCD’s guidance, Ivan learned the ropes of pursuing his own career. “I am now in marketing, but the learning I received from him will continue to inspire me. I’m working hard to be someone he can be proud of in the future,” he adds.
Ivan describes CLUB Happiness as a perfect opportunity for students: “It equips young talents with the competitive advantage over their peers by providing the rare opportunity to be exposed to the operations
and projects of a multinational company.”
Given that young students are getting more and more competitive these days, Ivan says there’s no better edge than being able to quickly adapt to a new environment. “In this program, one should show that he/she is like a sponge, willing and eager to absorb as much as possible. As a graduating student, the first step in climbing up the corporate ladder is realizing that there is still a lot to learn.”
Today, Ivan is a full-time Coca-Cola FEMSA employee. He looks back with gratitude for all the opportunities he has been given: “It is more than just an accomplishment. It is a fulfillment of a promise that forever pushes me to bring out my best in every single thing that I do.”