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Young and working for DSV: I know where I can improve

Mathias Findsen, 25, is ambitious but also self-critical. Mathias considers self-insight the way forward as he pursues his dream of working abroad. But not for just anyone: only DSV.

DSV_Mathias Findsen_2017

Mathias was one of the faces in the "DSV Global Values" campaign. Mathias' colleagues convinced him to send in a photo to the competition, as it was actually taken for DSV's Danish Instagram profile where trainees are urged to upload photos about their workday at DSV. But some felt that his photo deserved more attention – so Mathias won an iPad.

It is not the DSV shares that Mathias Findsen was given as a confirmation present ten years ago that make him as proud as Punch of his workplace today.

"Why do fans support one football team and not another?" he asks, warming up to the subject:

"It's the values and structure embodied by DSV: I like the whole set-up. If you have a concern or opinion of something – even as a trainee – people listen to you. I really appreciate that. And I have the same business acumen that DSV does: Raising prices is not necessarily the way forward, but decreasing them together with our suppliers is, because it enables us to give our customers a good price. Many of us share the same pride of working for DSV; we’re here because we think it’s cool to be here – and not just because of the pay but due to the good team spirit we experience here."

Five years abroad

After completing the two-year freight forwarder training programme in air freight imports/exports in Horsens, Mathias applied for a position abroad. It was always his dream to have the opportunity to be stationed abroad, and it was one of the reasons he applied to work at DSV.

"DSV wants to station young people abroad so we can get experiences, learn what the market is like and understand it, and bring all this back home with us. If I get the chance and deserve it, I've planned to spend five or six years abroad. By then, I'll be 30 and I’ll probably want to come back to Denmark, settle down and start a family," he says.

Mathias has been a trainee at DSV in Chicago since March. He shares a flat there with one of the four other trainees from three of DSV’s country organisations: Poland, Denmark and Brazil.

"I highly recommend trying it. It provides a terrific understanding of what it is we do. Experiencing so many more elements over here – more possibilities, more freight, more business and many more challenges – is actually what makes us better."

When his contract expires one year from now, Mathias hopes to move on to Asia (specifically Hong Kong or Shanghai), where he sees great opportunities for DSV.

"This enormous market provides so much to tap into and there is so much to do out there. It is pulsating in a way you don’t find anywhere else," Mathias says, referring to a conversation he recently had with a colleague in Asia.

"Even if Asia generates a lot of money, its potential is still enormous. We only have a tiny percentage of the market shares and, by contrast with Scandinavia, there is an endless number of huge companies in Asia – and an enormous demand for our services."

Critical of himself

Mathias does not believe that it is just a matter of transporting goods from point A to B. "Anyone can do that."

"Anyone can haul freight, but our added services are what make us unique, and I hope our customers know us for that, too. Solutions is a good example of a division where we provide additional services in the form of add-ons, in other words create added value. This area has grown by leaps and bounds over the past ten to fifteen years. I dream of being stationed to Asia and taking a fresh approach to things and perhaps be part of discovering opportunities that could nudge things in the right direction."

Mathias is obviously ambitious and he hopes for a long career with DSV. So even if he has completed his freight forwarder training programme and embarked on his dream of working abroad, he makes no secret of the fact that he still has a lot to learn.

"I'm very critical and demanding of myself and I know what my shortcomings are and where I can improve. This is something I work on every day because it is the way forward. I still have a lot I want to achieve, and it requires self-insight, but I'm fully prepared to do this. I'm dedicated to doing a good job for myself and DSV, and I have no desire to do this anywhere else," Mathias says.

Getting to know the customers

To get away from just taking the customer's order, picking up goods in one city and driving them to another, Mathias thinks the way forward is to become invaluable to the customer.

"We should be more than just a company they write to when they want to place an order, but also a company they seek advice from. We have to go in and control customers' logistics from A to Z, we need to thoroughly familiarise ourselves with them and get into their subconscious. The interrelationship between us and the companies should be much more personal."

DSV_Mathias Findsen and fellow trainees_2017

Mathias Findsen (left) together with fellow trainees in Chicago (USA): Zuzanna Deja (Poland), Leonard Moura (Brazil), Sophie Skov Potempa (Denmark) and Felipe Schmidt (Brazil).

Mathias has plenty of time to nurture his ambitions in Chicago. He has said goodbye to friends and family for a few years, and sees no harm in spending an extra hour or two on the job, even if he has developed many good relationships after just a few months at the new office. His young colleagues are very keen to get together after work, during their time off and on public holidays; Mathias has been out golfing with an American colleague and next week a small group plan to travel to Las Vegas to celebrate Labor Day.

"We're all in the same boat: they've all said goodbye to friends and family, so we are very social, and we also get together with other employees stationed here from other companies, but obviously with Americans, too," he explains.

After completing his stint in Chicago – and hopefully China (Shanghai and Hong Kong) – Mathias wants to return to Denmark. That's what he promised his family at least, but he guarantees at the same time that he is not afraid to take a leap in the dark to see what he can "get out of it".

"I'm open to challenges and not afraid of set-backs. I'll always get back up again," he says.

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