Gator Career Chat: Leadership Development & Rotational Programs (event Recap & Recording)

Many companies offer 1-3–year programs that involve rotating through diverse roles to develop experience and leadership skills. Often, these programs are open to graduates from any major, so they are a great way to explore opportunities with various companies. A panel of companies, including Carnival Cruise Line, Enterprise Mobility, and ALDI that offer these programs to UF graduates shared about their opportunities and what to look for if you are considering these programs.

The panelists, including Amy from Enterprise Mobility, Chris from Carnival Cruise Line, and Armin, a current UF student who recently interned with ALDI, shared their career paths and experiences, highlighting the value of entry-level programs and the significance of soft skills in the recruitment process. The team also provided insights on job application and interview processes, encouraging attendees to be prepared, transparent, and proactive. The discussion concluded with an emphasis on the development training, rotational aspects, and networking opportunities offered by various companies.

Career Paths and Entry-Level Programs

Amy, Chris, and Armin shared their career paths and experiences in various companies, highlighting the value of entry-level programs and rotational systems. Amy emphasized the management trainee position as the foundation of the Enterprise business, offering opportunities for growth and internal mobility. Chris pointed out the benefits of Carnival’s rotational program, which includes exposure to diverse projects, leadership styles, and operations. Armin discussed ALDI’s fast-growing business and the importance of the internship and student ambassador programs in preparing individuals for management roles. The trio also stressed the value of these programs in providing early career opportunities and tools for success.

Soft Skills and Employability Strategies

The panelists discussed the importance of soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and a positive attitude, in their recruitment process. They also stressed the significance of gaining a diverse range of experiences, even outside of academic pursuits, to enhance one’s employability. David asked for advice on how students can demonstrate these soft skills, especially to those still in their first or second year at the university. The panelists suggested that students should focus on gaining a variety of experiences, building up their resume, and being deliberate in their choices of extracurricular activities. They also encouraged students to apply for internships as early as possible.

Preparing for Job Application and Interview Processes

David initiated a discussion about preparing for upcoming job application and interview processes, with Armin and Chris providing insights from their respective roles. Armin emphasized the importance of transparency and preparedness, while also encouraging candidates to make connections and ask questions throughout the process. Chris mentioned that the process for hiring for their leadership development program is ongoing and can be found on Gator CareerLink, while Amy highlighted a typical three-step interview process which includes a virtual interview, a site visit, and a final interview. The team also encouraged attendees to research the company they are applying to and to participate in networking events for further opportunities.

Development Training and Rotational Programs

David led a discussion on the development training and rotational aspects of programs offered by various companies. Chris from Carnival explained how their program combines daily job tasks with key events, workshops, and personal development opportunities to prepare employees for promotions and management roles. Armin from ALDI shared his positive experience with their 10-week internship program, highlighting its comprehensive coverage of different business aspects. Amy from Enterprise shared that their internship program aims to convert successful participants into full-time management trainees, providing a career boost. The discussion ended with Chris from Carnival emphasizing that they encourage retention of program participants.

Career Advice and Internship Discussion

David and Chris encouraged the audience to continue networking, applying to various opportunities, and pursuing their interests to build their resumes. They reassured the attendees that the UF Career Hub would contain a summary of the advice shared. A student attendee, Ashton, asked about leadership programs and paid internships, which Chris confirmed were available and well-paid. Amy added that internships are in-person and recommended choosing a location where the student has a built-in support system, such as near their family or friends.

By David Adams
David Adams Assistant Director for Career Pathways – Business, Public Service, and Tourism