Barry Kirwan, Area Manager, Aldi
Degree subject BSc in Marketing, Innovation and Technology, DCU, 2014
Job title Area Manager
Why did you decide a career in the retail sector was right for you?
After speaking to a multitude of people already in the retail sector it was clear to me that I would like a career in this area due to its fast past environment. As you are dealing with so many variables, be it customers, staff or suppliers you are constantly learning and evolving in the role. No one day is the same in retail and that is what I like the most. You must adapt to the ever changing environment and this is an aspect that can be challenging but rewarding all the same.
How helpful was your degree in getting a place on the Aldi programme?
It was the skills that I learned over the four years studying that have really helped me in my role as an Area manager. Time management is crucial, as an Area manager you have a huge amount of responsibility and so it is a necessity that you’re able to prioritise your work. Communication skills have really helped me too. As an Area manager you must be able to communicate with your staff effectively to ensure everyone knows the goals that they are working towards.
What’s been one of the biggest challenges of the graduate programme and what did it teach you about yourself?
The most important thing I have learned since I have started my career would definitely have to be reviewing your decisions and actions. As with any new job you will make mistakes along the way and unless you review your actions and your processes you will not be able to take anything form your experience whether it was good or bad. In doing this it not only helps you to develop as an individual but it also allows you to pass this knowledge to new colleagues – it’s a team effort. This role involves so many different aspects it means you are constantly learning new things and not just during your first year on the Graduate programme.
What advice would you have for students and graduates seeking to pursue a similar career path?
You need to be able to demonstrate that you have the right attitude and work ethic for the job. Preparation was a key element to my success. I did this by speaking to individuals already in the industry and tried to get as much of an insight as possible of what was involved in the role of an Area manager. In doing this I gained a great understanding of what the Area manager role would involve and the challenges that it would bring.
How do you hope to see your career developing over the next few years?
The retail sector bring new challenges every day and so for me I want to keep building on my skill sets through new experiences and challenges I face every day. I hope that in my role as an Area manager I can take on additional responsibilities whether it be opening new stores, working on national projects or to progress within my role at Aldi.