Espen Sundve

Former Schibsted Trainee, now Project Manager Schibsted Classified Media

What made you apply to Schibsted’s sales trainee program?

- It was a combination of people I’d met, the fact that you could have four totally different trainee placements and that the media industry is the place to be if you want to work with products that demand constant development.

Which positions have you held as a trainee in Schibsted?

- My first placement was as a business developer in Aftenposten, where I worked on strategic planning, online product development and product development of Aftenposten Aften. My second placement was as assistant to the CEO in Stavanger Aftenblad, where I got to work in most areas of the newspaper business at the strategy level, such as distribution, control, online business development, circulation and advertising models.

What is your current placement?

- I’m currently working in Schibsted Classified Media in the products and marketing department. I’m involved in search engine optimization (SEO), but I’m also responsible for how the classified websites should work with social media. This involves close collaboration with classified websites across Europe and in Asia, too.

Can you describe a normal working day as a trainee?

- That really depends on your placement, so "normal" will change at least four times in the course of the two years. Also, what is “normal” changes during each period from “How on earth am I supposed to understand this?” in the beginning to "I'm just about in control; now it’s time to move on to something new” at the end. All the same, most days involve some analysis, some discussions with colleagues, some meetings, and a lot of coffee and e-mails.

What have you found to be the most challenging aspects of being a Schibsted trainee?

- Realizing that a really good analysis or idea will only take you so far. Understanding how the organization works and how decisions are made is much more important but can only be understood through hands-on experience. Having first-hand experience from four different placements is probably the most valuable lesson you learn as a trainee.

What has been the best part of being a trainee so far?

- Working with the people I got to work with and getting to know the other trainees. It is also a very satisfying experience when people in the different workplaces actually listen to what you have to say and ask for your input.

To what extent have your expectations to the management trainee program been met?

- I could have said 80% and singled out some major flaws, but that would just not be true. I feel very privileged in many respects to have had the opportunity to be a Schibsted trainee.

What significance do you think your traineeship will have for your future career?

- I have a much better idea about the type of role I would like in my first permanent job, and how I should progress from there. The fact that I now have a much better understanding of the media industry on both the operational and the strategic sides makes it much easier for me to participate in cross-company projects. And having had four different placements has enabled me to build a network which will probably be vital to my future career in Schibsted.