We take jobs for all sorts of reasons. Some come with good dental insurance; others might be great opportunities to work with cool or innovative people. And a few, quite frankly, just offer short commutes.

Hopefully, though, most people take jobs based on the opportunity to grow and develop professionally in new and exciting ways. And if the chance to travel the globe just happens to be part of the offer… so be it!

Cloris Zhang

Cloris Zhang enjoying Toronto, Canada.

What if someone offered you the chance to travel the global Coca-Cola system for three years, embedding yourself in the fabric of the business and the marketplace, while having the opportunity to see the world?

Would you say yes?  

Diogo Alburquerque de Ferreira Lima did. And, despite the long hours, he’s loving it. I caught up with him recently as he wrapped up an assignment at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, and we spoke about his life and work as a principal international auditor.

“We work very hard," Lima said. "It is impossible to do nine to five; in every audit, we average 12 or 13 hours a day.

"But, he adds, "it’s very exciting and we relax a lot during the weekend.” 

Pros and Cons of Life on the Road

Kathy Waller, Coca-Cola CFO

Kathy Waller, Coca-Cola CFO

Cloris Zhang, a graduate of Coke's international audit program and currently a manager of Mergers & Acquisitions, said the opportunity was more than worthwhile. Looking back, Zhang had no trouble recalling benefits like the opportunity to develop insight into multiple local operations or the chance to gain global perspectives on the Coca-Cola system.  

“You get visibility and exposure with local and corporate senior management, and you learn so much from them,” said Zhang. “The program is a great way to figure out which areas you’d like to work in as you develop a career at Coca-Cola.”

Lima agrees. “I thought I was going to be doing lots of accounting and that it wouldn’t bring much additional learning value," he said. "But I cannot measure the importance of the new learnings I gained.”  

Surprisingly, Lima found while the job does advance his finance toolset, he also is learning about how to effectively communicate with senior executives.

The job also comes with the opportunity to get out into the market to visit with customers, learn about the company’s offerings in different regions, and see what’s important in each geography.

Kathy Waller, now chief financial officer of The Coca-Cola Company, remembers her audit roles fondly. In fact, one of her favorite jobs was chief of internal audit.

“Managing internal audit allowed me to focus on two critically important areas: governance and protecting the company and the brand, as well as developing future talent for the company,” Waller said. “The internal audit team shares unique experiences and opportunities. There is no better place to learn the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Faced with project-oriented assignments across different operations and tight deadlines creates an environment where everyone pulls together to accomplish the goal. I’d encourage anyone who has the skills to pursue an opportunity to work as part of this great team."