Leaving for London (Luton)

I don’t believe I’m unlucky. There’s no such thing. I believe you make your own luck. But that doesn’t mean that I believe I deserve everything I get. And I mean in the sense that I don’t feel entitled to anything. I’d like some happiness, sure, but I’m not entitled to it. And when something absolutely great happens to me – which doesn’t happen very often, otherwise it wouldn’t be very great – I have trouble believing it. And that’s what’s happening to me now: I’m having trouble believing how incredibly fortunate I am.

In order to explain this feeling of “oh-my-f#cking-god-I-can’t-believe-how-awesome-this-is?!” in an appropriate manner, I’ll start at the beginning.

First off, I was accepted at Vlerick Business School. When that happened, I, as a student, was automatically in the system. Companies from all over the place suddenly had access to my resume. And somewhere in November of last year, I got an email, inviting me to apply for the Best Beer Challenge in Leuven. The Challenge was hosted by AB InBev in March of this year. I had seen people from the company before and decided I wasn’t very interested. But being personally asked to submit my application for a challenge, something that always looks good on a resume? Yeah, sure, I’ll go for it. And it didn’t take long before I was selected to attend.

The second event in my little saga, was in February, before the challenge still. There was a Career Fair at my school and, naturally, AB InBev was present. Seeing as how I was accepted into the competition, I kind felt I was obligated to at least have a chat. Nothing serious. I still wasn’t all that interested in beer. To be totally honest, I don’t even like beer. And I just felt like it wasn’t for me. But then I got to talking… And I was talking to someone who was over-the-moon enthusiastic! She told me lots of things, including the fact there’s a little thing called a “Commercial Traineeship”: lasts 4 months, based in the UK and with a focus on marketing & sales. So I figured… I might as well apply, “who knows right?” When I got to the application process though, I found out I’d missed the UK-deadline. But the one for Bremen, Germany, was still open. Figuring my knowledge of German is quite okay – definitely not at the level of my abysmal French! – I thought “fo sho! I’ll give it a shot!”

In a third step, March came around and the Best Beer Challenge itself was a pretty fun event. I got to know new people, it was an interesting marketing exercise and I really got to know the company much better. I even found out that I had been “short-listed” as someone who they’d like to see apply for the Global Management Traineeship. This was a 10-month traineeship, based all over and much more prestigious within the company. I’d already applied for the commercial one, but after the beer challenge, I figured I might as well apply for the GMT as well. I repeated: “who knows right?”

Fourth, I was quickly rejected as a GMT-candidate, but my commercial traineeship application for Bremen, Germany, was still ongoing. After a long, but fruitful ABI Assessment Day, I was totally convinced that I, in fact, really did like the company. However, because I missed the deadline for UK, I had applied in Germany. And while I love Germany and the German language, my command of that language is nowhere near as good as my English. I can speak pretty okay, but in order to get to know people easily, to perform well in a job… I was pretty sure I’d never make it in the final round. And then… Well, I honestly just got lucky. Because for the final round, I was placed in the UK induction zone, seeing as they could tell my English was way better. It was pretty un-freaking-believable. I still do not understand companies offering their potential candidates better chances at a job, but it’s totally awesome.

Anyways, the final round came and went and I, though I feared it had gone terribly, was accepted. Not as a commercial trainee though… Noooo! As a global management trainee. A position I thought I’d already lost my shot at?! Again: I caught a ridiculously lucky break. And at first I was informed that I’d be going to the UK, but then I was told that it’d be Benelux instead. That… Was somehow a downer, seeing as the UK seemed like this magical land of faeries and unicorns. And up until this point, everything had just been going so stellar… It just seemed ludicrous that I had let myself believe it could have been that spectacular. Not just an awesome company, but also the position, and even the country! But then I figured… I can ask. So… I asked. I asked for the opportunity to go to the UK. And there’s this saying: “ask, and you shall receive”. And guess what: again, a whopping stroke of luck and kaboom, the contract for the GMT position in the UK’s in the mail.

I repeat: I do not believe in luck. I believe you make your own luck. But holy crap, I didn’t do this. I happened to go to a competition. I happened upon a nice girl at a company fair who told me all about AB InBev. I happened to get switched to another country and to another position. I didn’t do any of this?! And yet, I have this crazy-ass amazing job offer now. Something which I would not have imagined, not even in my wildest dreams only a few weeks ago. And I’m having trouble believing it, because I just cannot believe how lucky I got. How incredibly lucky.

There’s one thing I really did though. One, small, but significant thing. I went to the bookstore today. And I got myself a big guide to London :-)



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I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun. - Katharine Hepburn

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