What does Annalisa
as Flavour Extract Developer at Döhler GmbH ?
What have you been up to since graduating?
Since graduation, I have been working at a company called Doehler as a flavour extract developer. If you are wondering what exactly a flavour extract developer does then just think of the ice tea you buy from the supermarket. Did you ever think of what ingredients are in there? Well, I make the flavour extract which happens to be the base for such ready to drink beverages.
Any challenges that you face?
Personally, challenges are worthwhile. So far, having to meet customer specifications and requirements have been challenging. Over the years, I have worked on so many customer projects and requirements are always different from the other. Customers approach us with the expectations of taking home a unique and innovative product better than company A or B and my task is to bring their ideas to life.
How did you get your current position?
My career at Doehler started as an internship in the Research and development segment which further progressed into a joint partnership with the University to write my Master Dissertation. After graduation, I was offered my current position as a flavour extract developer. The main medium of communication in the work situation are English and German.
Do you have opportunities in other European countries?
There are definitely other opportunities for you as an IFBC student in other European countries. Personally, I did not consider internships outside Europe but I recall many of our classmates moving to the UK, Netherlands, Belgium...for internships. Do not limit yourself! There are so many food companies in Europe that offer internships and trainee programmes.
Do you feel well prepared for the job?
Before I started working in my current position, I thought I was well prepared. I was definitely still in the student bubble and later realized the working world was very different from what I anticipated. Work culture was quite different from my home culture where hierarchy is a big deal. I honestly had to unlearn and learn somethings at the same time to fit into the company’s culture.
Did you have an idea where IFBC will lead you or was the content of the programme an eye opener to you?
I did not know initially where IFBC would have finally landed me especially because of the wide field it covers. However, I knew I wanted to end up in the area of product development and this is why I applied for an internship to have an industrial experience. Though my main focus was product development, a field I really enjoyed was sustainability management. Learning about sustainability in all three scopes (social, economic and environment) was insightful and informed my decision to adopt habits and practices that are sustainable.
My favorite experience in the IFBC programme was getting to know different cultures across 20 nations. This is a valuable experience very hard to come by. My experience with this diversity in different team work groups and project groups shaped my ability to work in my current workplace which is also diverse and international.
What advice will you give to your 18-year-old-self?
My advice to my 18-year old self would be not to be scared of failure. The most important aspect of having failed is what you learnt out of that failure and putting in all the work to be a better version of you.