EMEA’s Graduate Exchange Program – Sharing Best Practices in Warsaw

One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things.

I first discovered this quote by Henry Miller when I was on my exchange semester in Vermont 3 years ago. Up to this day, every new destination I visit brings a new perspective on how I experience life. I was so thrilled when I found out I was taking part in the Graduate Exchange Program, because what could be better than a project that connects my work and my passion?

The Graduate Exchange Program is part of the EMEA Graduate Sales Program. We are a diverse team of 7 people from 7 different countries (Spain, Poland, Germany, UK, France, Ireland, and Morocco) who work as a virtual team for 2 months. The first time the virtual team met live was in Lodz, where we presented our ideas about the program and got to know each other face to face. This program is focused on enabling Sales Graduates to experience various Dell Technologies sites around EMEA. Our main objectives are to build and foster a diverse global network and Dell community, share best practices and insights, and drive change through the graduates.

Our team recently met in Warsaw, where we experienced a new workplace, discovered several marketing initiatives and met with GM, Dariusz Piotrowski. Read on to discover some insights and key takeaways from our visit.

Preparations and First Impressions in Warsaw

The EMEA Sales Graduate Program provided us, the Graduate Exchange Program participants, with the opportunity to spend a day in the Warsaw office, turning our collaborative ideas into reality. Dusinska Katarzyna helped navigate us throughout the day. Since she is based in the Warsaw office and knows her way around, Dusinska planned a variety of activities for the group. We met briefly to organize our plans, discuss what we intended to achieve from this office visit, and prepared questions for our meeting with the GM (General Manager) and Sales VP (Vice President), Dariusz Piotrowski, before embarking on the planned activities.

This was my first visit to a different Dell office. It was so interesting to see the differences in structure and organization, compared to my office in Casablanca. Despite these differences, I could still feel the same Dell culture and spirit. The Warsaw office was welcoming and inviting, and the space felt open and inspiring. The modern design and glass architecture gave the space a techy vibe.

My teammate Franziska pointed out the breakout rooms, “I like the small telephone booths which you can retreat to for important telephone calls to escape from the open-plan office. We don’t have such phone booths in Germany”.  We have similar telephone cabins in the Moroccan office, which I find very helpful when I have an important call and there is a lot of noise around. This is a new concept Franziska would like take back and implement in the Germany office.

Marketing Workshop and Experience Center

After touring the facility, our team had the chance to attend a marketing workshop with the amazing Polish Marketing Manager, Urszula Graczykowska.

This was a wonderful opportunity for me, as I have not had the chance to attend a marketing workshop at Dell. As a TSR (technical sales representative), I tend to focus more on the technical aspects of the Dell products, so it was extremely refreshing and beneficial to learn about Dell’s broader marketing strategies. The marketing workshop taught me about the importance of fortifying myself with the proper tools to help me work with customers, better connect with customers, and ultimately build long-term relationships. We discovered many marketing tools and platforms that Dell offers to help sales people overcome the difficulties they face in their everyday tasks. This is especially helpful for new hires like many of us.

Since we now understood the extreme value of positioning Dell products and solutions to better fit the clients’ needs, it was only logical to visit The Experience Center next. During the tour, our team had the opportunity to analyze and interact with many Dell products. The center was organized with various exhibition stands, from an impressive gaming area to a fascinating rugged device display.

The client solution advisor, Aleksadra Pabin, walked us through The Experience Center and explained in great detail what each of the products are used for and how the products help customers optimize their performance and improve their IT infrastructure. Our team was especially impressed by the rugged laptop display. Aleksandra even demonstrated how reliable the laptops were by dropping one of them and then showing that was still in perfect working conditions.

The Experience Center in Warsaw is a visually immersive and impressive demonstration of Dell products. This kind of showroom or center can be used to give customers and employees an impactful hands-on experience of current Dell products. I would love to see this concept implemented in more Dell offices around the world.

GM Interview

Our team was very grateful for the opportunity to meet with Dariusz Piotrowski, GM of the Warsaw office. The purpose of this meeting was to get a managerial perspective and constructive feedback on our group project.

Dariusz liked our thoughts and ideas surrounding the Graduate Exchange Program. It was reassuring to hear that he would support our proposed initiatives if they move forward.

During the interview, Dariusz emphasized the human factor and office atmosphere as critical factors in creating a work environment that energizes people and encourages them to be creative and deliver remarkable results. I appreciated when Dariusz emphasized the “one winning team” spirit evident in the Polish office. This is a powerful and inspirational message, one I feel could be implemented in Dell workplaces around the world.

Dariusz also mentioned several key differences in functionality throughout the various Dell offices he has visited. He made a good point in saying that the Graduate Exchange Project could be a key channel for understanding these differences and implementing best practices throughout.

Our team was really impressed by one particular activity that takes place in the Polish office. Every month, anyone celebrating their birthday in that month is invited to celebrate with Dariusz over tea, coffee and cake in the canteen. This allows the GM to get to know the people who work in the office on a more personal level, beyond their titles and scope of work, creating a more positive and welcoming community. This is another initiative, we as a team, believe can be implemented in other offices.

Networking and Closing

The last scheduled activity for our day in Warsaw was lunch with the Polish graduates. This lunch was a great continuity of the networking that took place during the event in Lodz.

We shared our Dell experiences with each other. It was nice to see how every graduate had their own unique journey, but despite these various paths, we all shared the same spirit, one that was continuously evolving and growing. During this lunch, we talked about the tools we use as TSRs and ISRs and how different or similar our days are in each of our respective offices.

The most interesting part was seeing what we learned about diversity and inclusion at our previous meeting, come to life on a smaller and closer level. It was truly amazing to see so many nationalities and perspectives gathered around one table speaking the same language.

The Lodz Manufacturing Site GM, Wieslaw Gorzelak said in his presentation about diversity and inclusion that “talking about networking and sharing new ideas and best practices is not the same as experiencing them”. I could not agree more and the day our team got to spend in the Warsaw office showcased this exact feeling.

Hope you enjoyed learning more about the EMEA Graduate Exchange Program, and the incredibly valuable and insightful day we spent in the Warsaw office.

About the Author: Nisrine Ferahi

Nisrine is a technical sales representative graduate based is Casablanca, Morocco supporting France. She joined the EMEA Graduate Program with Dell in September 2018. Her academic background contains a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Business Administration from Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. Nisrine is passionate about travelling and discovering new cultures and has also been part of an exchange program in University of Vermont, USA.