Rising Star: Kerrie Lucey, Financial Controller, Musgrave
Knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in finance, I thought the best way to do this was though an established graduate programme after graduation. I studied a degree in finance, so from the beginning I had a solid knowledge of core financial areas and some strong analytical skills. The graduate programme with Musgrave kick-started a career in putting these skills into practice; I had real responsibility from my first day, and the diversity of the programme ensured that when it was over I had gained a broad foundation of relevant experience.
A turning point
I see the completion of the graduate programme and my accountancy exams as the flag moment of my early career: it allowed me to move onto the next phase of my development, where I could focus on gathering as much experience as possible. My first role as Marketing & Sales Analyst was key. It providing me with valuable commercial exposure and was an important step in my understanding of how the Musgrave partnership model operates.
I've had the opportunity to work in various roles during my time with the business so far, but I'd have to say the key highlight came in 2009 with my promotion to Financial Controller of Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland. The amount of responsibility I had really stepped up and I now manage a large team, which for me is one of the best aspects of the position.
In this job the ability to interpret data effectively is a must. I've found that to be successful you also need the vision to apply these skills in business decisions. I am an effective communicator; a skill which supports me in ensuring we make the correct business moves. I developed these skills by observing the strengths of the people who surrounded me at work. They showed me that being proactive with analysis and using it to understand not just the current market, but also to predict changes in the future, is a very powerful tool in business.
The onslaught of the recession has naturally resulted in a much more testing business environment. We have had to really challenge how we operate, and the pace of all this can feel relentless at times. Throughout this time I can honestly say that I have learned my most valuable business lessons.
Advice for graduates
First and foremost, to be successful you have to enjoy what you do at work; it's never too late to change direction if you're not happy, and better that than ending up in a role which doesn’t excite and challenge you.
Skills for future graduates
It's important to recognise that no one skill is more important than another. Being an effective leader and team member as well as a creative thinker will always be important, but nowadays you have to focus your development in a number of areas and skills; strategic thinking and the ability to evolve with a changing business environment will determine your progression.
How to survive an economic downturn
They may be harder to find at the moment, but opportunities are still out there. Knock on doors and use any contacts and chances to get experience. Once you get an opportunity, prove the value you can add and make yourself indispensable: treat every day as an interview so that you make a lasting impression.
Kerrie Lucey was interviewed for Ireland's 100 leading graduate employers 2011/12.