Tell us why you chose the Musgrave Graduate Programme
I was originally drawn to Musgrave because of the work they were doing with The Food Academy. I loved that they were giving space on shelf to small, local, niche suppliers. I have always been inspired by local enterprise and absolutely love trying new food. Although I had studied a scientific degree, we had studied a few commercial modules, for example Food Marketing or Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I loved the commercial modules and decided I would like to pursue a career that mixed my love for local enterprise, and food together. The Musgrave Trading Graduate Programme provided an opportunity to do just that.
What’s the best aspect of the Programme for you?
The best aspect of the Programme for me is the responsibility that is given to Trading Graduates. During my first year of the programme I assisted the Dairy Trading Manager in Cork, who bought Dairy products for our SuperValu and Centra brands in ROI. During this year I was given a great opportunity to network within the Irish Dairy industry, occasionally meeting some very senior people. My manager was a fantastic mentor and helped me build strong essential commercial skills and Trading knowledge.
During my second year of the programme I moved to Musgrave Northern Ireland and was given full responsibility for buying chilled convenience foods. This meant I had to manage the chilled convenience product portfolio ensuring I met budgeted sales, margin and pricing KPI’s. The role gives lots of opportunity to work cross functionally with other departments such as Sales, Logistics and Marketing. I have been given a lot of opportunities to build my negotiation and influencing skills.
Additionally, if you love food Trading is great for trying new products. I have just sampled a chocolate milk and have a hot chilli harissa paste sitting on my desk. I can’t wait to take it home and taste it.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
This isn't exactly a personal achievement but probably the one thing I am most proud of being involved in during my time on the Graduate Programme. During my first year of the Graduate Programme I was given the opportunity to take part in the committee team
for the Musgrave Triathlon. The Triathlon is an annual fundraiser event. In addition to the actual Triathlon, the event included a family fun day and a food market. My role on the committee was to organise the chilled food donations from suppliers for the food market. In
total, the entire event raised €250,000 for local charities. This was split between Breakthrough Cancer Research, Bumbleance, Pieta House and Cork Penny Dinners.
What was your rotation like?
My rotations were both very diverse, with varying levels of responsibility. Very soon into my second rotation I learned that the UK and ROI retail markets are very different. I used my second rotation to put a lot of things that I learned from watching my manager in first year into practice. The plus side of rotating divisions was that it enabled me to grow my both my Musgrave network and knowledge of the entire Musgrave Group.
What about the Irish Management Institute (IMI) development programme?
I really enjoyed the modules we studied at the Irish Management Institute. I found each module challenged me to identify how I wanted to improve both professionally and as individual. After each module I would set myself a goal on how I would use what I had learned in my everyday job or in life in general. This really built my confidence in my ability to add value to Musgrave within my roll every day. One of the most useful modules we studied was about resilience. Although working in retail can be very rewarding, it is key to be able to get back up and go again with the same level of enthusiasm as before, after something has not gone to plan.
What advice would you give a graduate joining the Musgrave Programme?
Be prepared to get stuck in. Don’t expect to know all the answers. Ask questions, and begin conversations. From the beginning you will be surrounded by lots of hard working, talented people. Listen to and observe how they work. They won’t always be right, but you will be able to learn a lot from them. Speak up and be honest. If you think something should be done a different way, explain why. Treat others with respect. Build strong relationships with your line managers. Your manager may hear of projects or opportunities coming up that you won’t know about and be able to recommend you for them. Take on all the opportunities or projects your time allows for. Projects are a fantastic way to build your knowledge, skills and network.
Why should people choose Musgrave?
Choose Musgrave if you love food and are passionate about local enterprise and innovation. Choose Musgrave if you want to work for a market leader. Choose Musgrave if you want to be challenged and stretched. Choose Musgrave if you are willing to work hard to achieve results. Choose Musgrave if you want to grow both personally and professionally.