Tell us why you chose the Musgrave Graduate Programme
The Musgrave Graduate Programme stood out for me because buying was one of the routes available within it. I am definitely a foodie so I knew I would be in my element!! Negotiation and quickly thinking of creative solutions to problems was/is something I was always told I was good at too so it seemed like a natural fit.
So what do you do in your role?
I work as the SuperValu Food Leadership Project Manager. It is a really diverse and Interesting role and it plays into my “foodieness” perfectly.
I project manage the big food leadership initiatives for the brand. I've gotten to work on projects ranging from the fishmonger to off licence to uniforms through to a critical analysis of how the experience in SuperValu compares to that of our competitive set.
I work cross functionally with sales, marketing & HR which means I get to meet and work closely with a wider group of people than I would have in my previous buying role. Also, a fundamental part of my role is to look at and understand the business at a macro level which I believe is an important tool to have within any business.
What’s the best aspect of the Programme for you?
The support network. I was very lucky to have two great bosses while on the Programme. My boss while in my second rotation was particularly supportive. I learnt a lot from him. He was, and still is, a mentor to me and many others in the business.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Afraid I can't narrow it down to one thing - I would have to say two things:
I launched a new range of own brand chilled Party Food last Christmas. A lot of work went in to it: everything from spotting the trends in the market, sourcing of the products, shelf life testing, tasting them (I enjoyed this a lot!), negotiating the price of the products, deciding on the price mechanic and designing the packs for the products.
It took a long time to do this but the feeling of seeing your own products in SuperValu and Centra stores is indescribable. I loved the feeling of having family and friends around at Christmas and being able to say ' that's my product you’re eating'.
I organised the September Chilled Tradeshow for our retail division. This is a huge event held in Punchestown where all the Retailers for both SuperValu and Centra attend and place their Christmas orders. It was a lot of hard work but I loved the project management of it and the social aspect of it because I got to meet so many different people from across the business.
What was your rotation like?
My first rotation was in our wholesale division working in Ambient Grocery where I got to buy my own area of non-food and biscuits for the last few months.
My second rotation was in the Dairy category of our retail buying team. This was a great experience as I got a really good understanding of commodity pricing and how it can impact our business.
After I finished the graduate programme I moved in to an Assistant Trading Manager Position as the Chilled Prepared Foods Buyer. I looked after everything from deli salads to party food to chilled soups and salads to ready meals. It was a year and a half that I really, really enjoyed. You have to have the ability to learn quickly and not panic but if you can master that buying is a very rewarding job.
What about the Irish Management Institute (IMI) development programme?
The development programme in the IMI teaches you great tools that you can use in your job. The Graduate business project in 2nd year gives you great exposure to the management team.
What advice would you give a graduate joining the Musgrave Programme?
Throw yourself in and volunteer for extra projects. Don't be afraid to speak up; just because you are new doesn't mean your ideas aren't valuable. People love fresh eyes and fresh opinions.
Why should people choose Musgrave?
It gives you real responsibility; from day one you are value adding, given real work and considered an important part of the team. The support network is also next to none.