Yang Fan AAK

Customer Innovation Manager

Shanghai, China

Yang Fan

When and where were you a trainee?
I joined the global trainee program in 2017 as a Customer Innovation Trainee at AAK China Ltd, based in Shanghai, China.

What made you apply for a role with AAK?
I worked as a summer intern at AAK China in 2017 and I really enjoyed my experience. It was very clear to me that AAK has a high emphasis on investing in people and growing talent, hence I chose to apply to the program.

What does a typical day at AAK look like?
I work in the Customer Innovation Team. As part of AAK’s product-oriented and customer centric approach, my most important task is to regularly connect with our customers. With guidance from customers, I collaborate with many functions, such as technical development, sales, quality control, and production. A typical day involves multiple meetings to align deliverables, following up customers R&D direction, customizing and upgrading products, resolving issues related to product specs, certificates, and production. As part of the Customer Innovation team, we are continuously analyzing the latest market trends and customers’ dynamic needs, thereby adapting our products and processes to stay ahead of the competition and deliver best value to our customers. 

What is/has been your biggest professional challenge?
The 2030 vision project that was the final project of the Trainee Program. We were asked to deliver a strategy for AAK to succeed in an ever-changing industry where innovation is the key to success. Even though the assignment was very challenging, our team worked together drawing on each other’s strengths and collaborating across several geographies and time zones to complete the project. It was a great learning experience for me, both professionally and personally.

What would be your best advice to trainees looking for a good start to their careers?
Always be ready to try new things, don’t be afraid to fail, reach out to colleagues if you need help.

What are your interests?
I am interested in arts and culture. In my free time, I like to play the piano, watch theatre and take every chance to travel, see new places and meet new people.

What is the coolest thing you have done?
My first trip overseas to Israel: lying on the Dead Sea and watching a meteor shower.

What do you always carry with you — and why?
I always carry my pen and diary. It’s an ancient Chinese wisdom – “A good memory is not as good as a broken pen.” Always take good notes, they will be useful later.