Written by India Dodge-Forder
The first question you may have could be along the lines of ‘What is an MDS trainee’? MDS stands for Management Development Services Ltd, which was established as a not-for-profit organisation focused on training and producing the next generation of leaders in the fresh food and produce industry. MDS trainees spend two years seconded in up to four different member companies (all of which are affiliated with MDS) and undertake varying roles within the businesses. Roles are selected depending on the developmental needs of the trainee, with the goal of creating a well-rounded set of skills and applicable experiences to give each of us a head start into the industry. Alongside this, we are also completing a Level 5 Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management which involves training days, coursework, and a final assessment.
My yearlong secondment with Corteva Agriscience started on 11th April 2022, with me taking on the role of Marketing Communications and CRM Assistant. Prior to joining Corteva, I had very little awareness of the largescale agricultural industry but was excited to learn more. Upon my entry into the company, I was afforded the opportunity to reach out and connect with colleagues from other departments and build a solid knowledge base from which I have been able to develop a more extensive understanding of how the industry operates.
My responsibilities as a Marketing Communications and CRM Assistant have varied throughout my nine months within the company so far. I have developed a solid foundation knowledge of all aspects of marketing communications and worked on some exciting product launches, projects, and events, including Cereals Event where Corteva had a very welcoming and busy stand. It’s been exciting being part of the team that pulls together our customer communications and working in a commercial environment. Coming from a plant nursery background, there has been a lot to learn in the switch from horticultural to agricultural industries; both industries are fascinating.
Within my role as a CRM (customer relationship management) assistant, alongside the regular activities involved in the maintenance of customer data, I was part of the team to coordinate the launch of a new CRM system within the country. I worked for an intensive five-month period to scope, map, test, migrate and then launch and integrate the Company’s global CRM platform into the UK and Ireland business. This experience, while daunting initially, has insurmountably increased my knowledge of CRM, project management, systems mapping and testing, and change management and training delivery. While I held a lot of responsibility for the areas I was tasked with, I worked as part of a very organised and supportive team.
Post launch of the CRM project, I am currently working on another project to facilitate the expansion of the company’s Forage business. My learnings and experience gained in the CRM project have been critical in allowing me to prepare the necessary steps and requirements thus far. While it has been challenging, I am very appreciative of the recognition to be involved in this project at the level I am at and look forward to seeing the results.
Packed into nine short months, which seem to have gone by in the blink of an eye, I have been involved in many different initiatives, have vastly broadened my knowledge and awareness of the agricultural market within which Corteva operates, and had the opportunity to develop new and existing skills which will be invaluable as I continue on in my career. There is never a dull moment while working in the Marcomms and CRM team and everyone I have encountered during my time with Corteva has been welcoming and great to work with.
If anyone is considering a future career at Corteva or MDS, please use the below links to find out more information.