Fiona Dempsey, Buying Graduate, Musgrave Group
What does your job involve?
The main role of a trading graduate within Musgrave is to buy the right product at the right price for a customer. In order to do this there are several tasks during the week. The first is supplier negotiations, which is a massive part of our role. It’s literally meeting with suppliers, getting the right price and making deals. The second thing is analysis. We do a lot of sales analysis, budget analysis and profit margin. Range management is also a big part of what we do; just looking at our current range to see if there are any gaps in the market and if there is anything we can bring in.
What skills are needed in your role?
There are three core skills I would use regularly. First is negotiating, which I call the core skill needed for trading. The second is communication. We have an awful lot of information being thrown at us, so the ability to take information and relay it in a clear way is important. The third is analysis, having the ability to analyse large amounts of data and make them relevant and meaningful to what you’re doing.
What’s the best part of your job?
My favourite thing about my job is the sector it’s in. I love how it’s a fast-paced, dynamic sector. The retail and wholesale world is constantly changing, and Musgrave is at the cutting edge of leading trends. Take for example the recent brand developments that we’ve done, like our frank and honest coffee, or our food emporium in our Ballymun cash and carry. It’s fantastic to be involved with a company that really is involved in keeping up to date with trends and also making trends.
How did you acquire your job?
I did a bachelor of business in Waterford Institute of Technology. That was a four year course. When I came out of college I knew retail was for me. From a young age I really loved retail. My mother used to joke that whenever she went to the supermarket I always wanted to go with her, whereas my other siblings had no interest. As for the application process, I filled in an online application, followed by online aptitude tests and a video interview before being called to the assessment centre. On the day, the assessment centre is broken into three parts – a solo presentation, a group discussion and a one on one interview with members of the Musgrave management team.
What advice would you give a first year student?
When it comes to the skills you can develop, the key point is that you can develop them. The Musgrave graduate programme is designed in a way that allows you to learn the skills as you go along. The main thing is to have curiosity and an interest in what you’re doing. That will take you a long way. Your hard skills, like communication and negotiation, can be learned, but if you don’t have an interest in what you’re doing you won’t be able to go very far.