Dorothy Wheeler, Director of Logistics, Unicorp Seeds
In order to help current students and recent graduates to find their way in the working world, many of our alumni shared their career story. Here the story of Dorothy Wheeler, Director of Logistics for Unicorp Seeds in Lucerne (CH). USI Degrees: Master in Management and Informatics, 2014 and Master in Financial Communication, 2007.
How did you start your career?
I have been working since I was in high school. Even during my university studies, which were long, I always had a part/full time job. My CV was 2 pages long by the time I started my first master's degree. It wasn't just because I was a poor student who needed money. It was also because work experience is a fundamental part of any formation. It matures you and teaches you to organize your life and prioritize what matters. Companies usually look to hire people who have some or a lot of experience because the cost of turnover is already high without having to train an employee on the basic employee etiquette. Add higher education to work experience and you are already on a path to a great job offer. Towards the end of my studies, my friend, who followed my progress, contacted me. He could already ascertain that I was the candidate he needed for the open position in his company and he offered me a job. I visited Luzern and the office for an informal interview and orientation. I could see that it would be a good fit so I took the job and never looked back.
Why did you choose a career in Unicorp Seeds?
When I was close to graduating with my second Masters degree, I was interning at an exciting start up company in Lugano. At the same time, my friend offered me a job in logistics. I barely knew what logistics would entail, but I knew I could easily learn and this company was offering me everything I had worked so hard to obtain. The start-up that I interned for was slow to make me a real offer. After visiting the company in Luzern and taking a closer look at the open position, I realized that this job and I fit so well as far as skills, languages, experience, etc. And so I chose to move to Luzern. It is not always about a dream job or dream title. Sometimes it is about what you can offer a company with your skills and experience. That can already be satisfying enough. It is important to know your value and to expect that people treat you with the respect that you deserve. The start up was, unfortunately, stringing me along and, fortunately, I was able to recognize this and had the opportunity to choose a better path and learn something new.
What is your current role/duties?
I am Director of Logistics. I manage the organization, operation and transportation of vital vegetable seeds from supplier to customer.
In your opinion, what are the qualities necessary for a successful career in Unicorp Seeds?
In my field, organization is key. If you are not organized, you will get lost in a tornado. Someone from the Informatics or Economics faculties can thrive in this field because of their strong logic and high tolerance to stress. Time-management is also very useful as far as personal skills one must obtain through experience. Language skills are a big plus. And finally, as the Boy Scouts say, "Always be prepared."
What positive aspects and qualities meant most to you during the study programme you attended?
During my first master's degree studies, there were not so many foreign students other than some Italian students. But as time went by, more and more international students started attending. This melting pot society became rich with cultural exchange and new languages. The campus and its surroundings are quite pleasant as well. I also really loved that I had the opportunities to work at a company and get school credit.
What competences and/or skills acquired in your USI Study Program have been useful/are useful to your professional career?
The two programs that I attended were wildly different, but studying both taught me to be more versatile. Going from the Economics faculty to the Informatics faculty, I felt like I was actually re-wiring my brain to think differently. But I found a way to adapt and I really appreciate this skill. I also believe that the internship and field project opportunities are indispensable.
What is your advice to USI students entering the job market?
This may be harsh, but it is crucial: No one owes you anything. You might have worked very hard to graduate. You might find it near impossible to find a job now. But you still have to work to find a job. Then you have to work hard to prove yourself so you can keep your job. From now on, every day of your life, you will have to work hard to contribute to society. As long as you keep trying, keep applying, keep pushing, you will find your place in this world. When you get there, you will see how the immense struggle made your achievement that much more rewarding and you will be elated that you braved it all.