Aisling Forde, New Food Brand Graduate, Musgrave
What is your name and job title?
My name is Aisling Forde, I'm a second year New Food Brands Graduate at Musgrave Wholesale Partners in Dublin.
Why did you choose Musgrave?
Growing up in Cork Musgrave is a household name so either it was friends’ parents or friends’ brothers or sisters that would have worked there so I think it was always in the back of my mind.
But then when I went back to UCC to study Food Business it was just the natural decision for me. I think Musgrave are the food leaders in Ireland, so it was a bit of a no brainer to apply there.
How has the programme helped you develop?
Being in a room where your ideas are listened to just as much as others it can be really daunting at times, but it does help you gain a lot more confidence in the long run.
Being involved in cross functional teams I think has really helped me to develop as well and improve my confidence. I'm on teams with senior management, from directors to the managing director, other graduates and in between.
What made you choose a career in this sector?
After I studied Arts in UCC I moved to Amsterdam for an internship and I ended up working there for a couple of years at a marketing agency and I think it was only really when I was abroad that I realised how much I loved Irish food and I know its cliched, but you miss some things about home.
The company I was working with kind of changed direction slightly and they moved from fashion focus brands to lifestyle and food and beverage brands and I think that, alongside my new-found passion for food, just made it a really easy decision for me. I decided to come back and study a Masters in Food Business.
What does your job involve?
The main objective of my job is to develop new profitable brands for the business or to look at new revenue streams for existing brands.
It would involve a lot of research, really end to end, from concept development right through to realisation.
There's a lot of project management in my role so that would be making sure that deadlines are met, that we keep within our budget and that we deliver to a really high standard.
What’s the best part of your job?
My favourite thing about my job is really seeing my ideas come to life.
Recently I was working on setting up a pop-up shop in Kildare Village for a premium chocolate brand called Cocoa Atelier. I was involved in this from the really early stages of researching and now to see it come to life and its relaunch into retail was just such a rewarding feeling.
I was involved in training the staff, hiring the staff, working with store fitters and visual merchandisers and then when you serve the first customer that walks through the door it's such a great feeling to see the place look so amazing and people be so happy inside there.
What does a typical working day for you look like?
For me a typical day is so varied. A lot of projects I work on are cross functional, so we would have weekly catch up meetings in the office, so I could be calling in for one of those but then I could be straight back into the car out to meet a customer in town or visiting a design agency.
It's always very busy and fast paced and I think the constant change in pace keeps things exciting and keeps me engaged in the role.
I think when you're working on your own a lot like I am, I think it's really important to be organised, to work on your own initiative and just be a self-starter.