Name Joanne McKenna
Job Direct Merchandiser
Employer Coca-cola, Hellenic Bottling Company, Co. Cork
Education Bachelor of Business, Cork Institute of Technology (2008)
Throughout college I worked in retail, which really helped focus my interest in this area.
After hearing about opportunities at Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company through a graduate fair in Cork, in my final year I applied for a place on their Sales Academy.
The interview process comprised an assessment centre followed by an interview with the Academy Manager and the Business Development Manager for the area. In the assessment centre we were split into groups and carried out individual numerical and written tests. This was followed by a group case study. The most challenging aspect was working as part of a team with complete strangers, but I became more relaxed when everyone started talking.
My role involves selling and merchandising in stores. Merchandising is arranging our products in such a way so as to increase sales and volume. Every customer is different so I get a real sense of achievement from building up strong business relationships with them all. The six-month induction programme provided a broad overview of the company, its internal culture and how to activate and sell our brands in a competitive environment. I really enjoyed the training days: they gave me a chance to meet other Merchandisers from all over Ireland. I’ve also learned to deal with situations on my own, although my team members and managers are only a phone call away if I ever need help.
I’ve been with the company a year now and there are a wide range of career options open to me, such as further progression throughout sales, or opportunities within category management and marketing.
Job hunting tips
Don’t be afraid to apply to big companies for fear you are under-qualified; if you don’t have a go, you’ll never know!