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Bob den Hartog

MSc alum and Senior Director (Ingredients & International Procurement) at Arla Foods Trading & Procurement Hong Kong, Bob explains how his international career journey started at SSE.

Having lived in ten countries around the globe, Bob has always hoped for and worked towards an international and fast-tracked career. Five years after of graduation from SSE, Bob currently leads teams in Hong Kong and Bahrain. As a Senior Director of Arla Foods Hong Kong sourcing office and Director of International procurement his team and him work closely with suppliers & colleagues to ensure Arla Foods’ competitiveness and their international expansion.  

An international career path 

Being originally from the Netherlands loving cheese in his blood, so it was no surprise that Bob joined Arla Foods after graduation. During initial assessments heforesaw a clear alignment between his ambitions and Arla’s corporate direction, and has been fortunate to have  taken on several roles inside the organization since.  

Upon joining the Arla Food’s Graduate programme, he initially started out working as a strategy associate in Arla’s Dubai office. He then continued his interest in strategy and business development at Arla’s headquarter in Aarhus. After realizing he needed to get his hands ‘dirty’, he chose to join the tactical sales team in Beijing for three years, where he was responsible for several key customers such as Walmart and METRO China. Three years after living in China he took the functional leap to work with sourcing in Hong Kong and became accountable for Arla’s international procurement and cost-saving agenda with Asian suppliers. 

How did SSE help Bob on his international adventure? 

“From the first time I stepped foot at SSE I could tell SSE was a university where I would not only learn from the books & lectures but also from my peers.” 

Bob made his decision to go to SSE already when he was applying for the MSc International Business program. For him, SSE not only allowed him to get exposed to a multitude of companies through courses and events, but it also created a diverse environment where he could grow together with his peers from many different backgrounds. The abundance of extracurricular opportunities from clubs or case competitions also enabled him to enter the workforce with an impressive CV despite entering with a relatively “lean” CV as he describes it. 

The advice he would give to current and prospective students is to keep an open mind! If you want to lead a fast-track or a more global career, you may not find working for one of the ‘most obvious’ companies within consulting or FMCG after your studies to be a good fit. Sometimes a better fit comes with the company you initially least expected.