Student went to China to become sought after candidate

24 October 2016

Karoline Bergendorff went to China because she wanted to make her profile attractive for future employers – not only did she succeed in that, she also found her dream job at Kopenhagen Fur

While doing her bachelor's degree in Business Administration at Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Karoline Bergendorff came to the conclusion that she had to create a unique profile for herself in order to stand out from her fellow candidates and become attractive to future employers.

"I wanted to offer a different set of competencies to employers that would increase my chances of finding a job," says Karoline who decided to join the Innovation Management programme at SDC in the autumn of 2012.

A passion for fashion

Karoline started her career as a Design Technologist, but after a while a desire to learn about business emerged in her, because she felt there was a need for radical innovation in the fashion industry. She saw many challenges, especially for small- and medium sized fashion companies, struggling to sell the quantities required by overseas manufacturers. Karoline therefore enrolled in the bachelor programme in Business Administration at CBS.

However, when Karoline went to China to study Innovation Management, she had no particular intentions of seeking out the fashion industry, and for a while she could easily see herself working for a pharmaceutical company or another high tech company. Nevertheless, her passion for fashion eventually caught up with her.

Internship turned into a job

As part of the Innovation Management programme, the students do an internship in the third semester.

By googling "innovation", "fashion" and "China" Karoline found out that KiCK, which is Kopenhagen Fur's creative centre, wanted to match Danish fashion brands seeking investors and wealthy Chinese fur companies in need of creative minds.

"It was like the project was tailor-made for me and my profile, so I immediately wrote an unsolicited application to a contact at Kopenhagen Fur and got the position," says Karoline who was offered a permanent position after her internship was completed.

"I couldn't see myself in this job without these experiences"

Karoline explains that working with her Chinese classmates was difficult at first, but in the long run she gained some experience and understanding of cross-cultural cooperation that she would not have come by if she had stayed in Copenhagen.

"The Chinese students join the master's programme having very little experience with group projects, and I learned that it takes time and thorough discussions to ensure that everyone is going in the same direction. I use this in my job, when I make sure to make time for properly understanding the goal of a project and how to get there. I couldn't see myself in this job without these experiences," says Karoline, who goes to China 2-3 times a year to participate in fashion events or meet with potential business partners.

For Karoline there is no such thing as a typical work day. One day she is at a convention discussing the latest fur techniques with the Danish mink breeders. Another day she is strategizing new collaborations and coordinating from the office in Copenhagen. And on a third day she is flying to Shanghai to showcase fur-fashion to the clothing industry.

"I love my job, and I feel like I am at the right place. I am able to bring all of my competencies into play, like business know-how, experience with China and my interest in fashion and design. The fur industry is an exciting trade that keeps evolving and I enjoy evolving with it," concludes Karoline.

Kopenhagen Fur

… is a cooperative owned by the Danish mink breeders. The company's core business is sorting and selling fur skins at five annual auctions. Each auction attracts several hundreds of buyers, especially from China which is Kopenhagen Fur's main market.

At Kopenhagen Fur's creative centre their aim is to increase the demand for fur in fashion, furniture and design.

They do this a few different ways:

  • teaching fashion brands, designers and students about the fur industry, technical design possibilities and production management
  • advising brand partners in regards to all aspects of fur from A to Z, with the aim of making fur a profitable business
  • acting as network facilitators, encouraging new business activities across fur, fashion and design industries
  • hosting and participating in fashion events all over the world showcasing fur techniques developed by their in house furriers to inspire more designers and creative individuals to work with fur