| British American Tobacco | The Challenge Initiative


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British American Tobacco - The Challenge Initiative

Industry Consumer Goods
Functional area
  • Finance & Accounting
  • General Management
  • HR / Organization
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Operations
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • North America
Language requirements English (Fluent)
Mentorship program Yes
Preferred study background No preference - all degree disciplines
Recruitment process
  • Online application
  • Face-to-face interview
  • Assessment center
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Required skills

Leadership 7
Team working 7
Problem solving 7
Communication 6
Creativity 6
Commercial Awareness 6
Pressure Resistance 7
Flexibility 7
Networking 7


The Challenge Initiative is our graduate development programme, extending over two years and designed to prepare our next generation of leaders.

Under the Challenge Initiative, you choose the function that best suits your strengths and the programme structures your development around a clearly defined set of deliverables.

You will gain support and encouragement from three sources:

  • Your coach will be your line manager, helping you get the most from the programme;
  • Your mentor will be an experienced manager from another function;
  • Other management trainees will provide you with a network of contacts around the world.

We take a constant interest in your progress, conducting regular appraisals and offering the support and resources you need. We encourage individuals to enhance their skills and knowledge through learning from internal and external sources.
We believe that working with role models is important and gaining meaningful coaching and feedback will enhance your personal development.
We firmly believe that you should be in the driver's seat. During regular discussions, your coach and mentor will encourage you to take charge of your own development and to actively manage your career with us.

Truly global
Wherever you join us and whatever function you choose, our objective is the same – we're looking for people who can grow beyond geographical and functional boundaries to pursue personal and business success.

Views from graduates who have joined us around the world

"Working with people from different cultural backgrounds was for me a challenge and an opportunity to broaden my horizons." (Switzerland)

"I was attracted to British American Tobacco by the graduate scheme and because I had heard that the training was really, really good. I wanted the challenge of working in a company with high expectations." (Papua New Guinea)

"The most important element of working here for me has been the open-minded culture. Everyone is interested in your work and there is a working atmosphere I had never experienced before." (Germany)

"In the two years I've been here I've learned a lot – not least that British American Tobacco's culture is amazing: it gives you the chance to have a fluent dialogue with your managers and to participate constantly in the company's various activities." (Argentina)

"The most striking thing about British American Tobacco is its working environment. You get used to a winning culture where nothing is impossible." (Bangladesh)

"The Challenge Initiative has enabled me to develop cross-functional managerial skills, with a vision of what is best for the organisation as a whole." (El Salvador)

"From the beginning British American Tobacco has challenged me. Even the recruitment process was challenging, though it gave me a deep sense of satisfaction once it was over because of the effort I'd put in." (Argentina)

Training and development
We recognise that getting the right start is crucial to building a successful career. This is how we approach your early training and career development.

The Challenge Initiative is structured around the following components:

  • Induction - The induction gives you the opportunity to learn about our company, objectives, products and markets.
  • Functional Development - Developing a base of excellence in the function into which you have been recruited.
  • Managerial Development - Developing managerial competencies needed in your future roles.
  • Business Awareness - Gaining an understanding of the overall business and appreciating the role played by each function.
  • Performance Appraisal - Giving you regular and constructive feedback, both formally (every 6 months) and informally (every 6 weeks) to ensure that you achieve the defined standards for the Challenge Initiative.

Our approach to your early training and career development reflects our recognition that getting the right start is crucial to building a successful career.

The induction gives you the opportunity to learn about our Group objectives, products and markets. It introduces you to our corporate guiding principles and culture, the role of each function, and industry issues in your country. It also introduces you to our product – and how we market it.

The Challenge Initiative programme includes your functional development – your development of a base of excellence in your chosen function. We will clearly explain what we expect of you. Then, with support from your coach and your mentor, you’ll set your objectives and work towards achieving them in order to meet the needs of the business and your personal development objectives.

You’ll develop the management skills you’ll need in your future roles with both formal training and on-the-job experience. And you’ll have the opportunity to put these skills into practice in preparation for the move into your first management role.

We also expect you to develop business awareness, an understanding of the overall business and the role played by each function. In other words, we want you to understand the business beyond your own functional and geographical area of responsibility. We want you to question our existing ways of working and to bring positive change to our business. We’ll provide you with opportunities to challenge our practices, a receptive audience and the feedback you’ll need to build your knowledge.

We monitor your success through regular performance appraisal. We give you regular and constructive feedback, formally every 6 months and informally every 6 weeks. This ensures that you’re aware of the standards you should aim for, and also that we can tailor your development to your needs.

After the program

So what happens after the Challenge Initiative programme? The reward for demonstrating the necessary performance and commitment is your first management post in British American Tobacco.

If the Challenge Initiative programme provides a foundation for your functional, managerial and business awareness development, your next step is to build on the skills you have learned and to start fulfilling your long term aspirations. With support, information and encouragement from us, you can play an important role in identifying this next step. The key is to use your initiative. You should tell us where you want to go.

Your formal learning opportunities don’t stop with the end of the Challenge Initiative. We’re committed to continuing to develop you throughout your career with a wealth of open learning resources as well as functional, managerial skills and business awareness training aimed at helping you to learn at your own pace in your own location.


We are looking to recruit the very best people.  You’re looking for the best outlet for your talents.  We look forward to hearing from you.