A Galway native and NUIG alumnus, graduating in International Business and French, Ross joined the Musgrave Graduate Programme in 2016 as a member of the store development team supporting the SuperValu and Centra development programme.
The Musgrave Graduate Programme gave Ross the opportunity to pursue his passion in design and architecture alongside an enthusiasm for retail, creating a solid platform for career satisfaction and growth. Everyone at Musgrave is delighted that Ross was recognised as Graduate Employee of the Year at the gradireland Recruitment Awards 2018 as he has excelled in his role with us. At Musgrave there is a palpable energy and hunger for growth and leadership within the business, which is inspiring for graduates and all colleagues alike. We encourage and invest in our people ensuring they have the tools and the confidence to grow with our business.
Why did you choose the Musgrave Graduate Programme?
Before joining Musgrave, I worked part-time for four years in retail while studying in NUI Galway. I really enjoyed retail work, and decided to pursue a graduate programme in this field. I applied for a number of retail graduate programmes, but what separated Musgrave from the rest was the opportunity to work with a family-owned, Irish business which enables local entrepreneurs to grow successful businesses. The possibility of working with brands such as SuperValu, Centra, Daybreak and Frank & Honest was very appealing, and as a language student I saw Musgrave’s operations in Spain through the Dialprix and Dialsur brands as an opportunity to potentially work abroad in the future. Also, the position as store development graduate was truly unique, blending retail and interior design into one.
What has been your most stretching experience so far?
Within six weeks of joining, with the support of my manager, I was working on a virtual reality project using equipment to create 3D walkthroughs of some of our leading Centra and SuperValu stores, with the goal of engaging our retail partners in the new look and feel of our revamped stores. Virtual reality was new to the business, and a significant investment was made in the equipment. With the backing of a cross functional team in Musgrave, and the support of some truly innovative and driven retailers the project was a success and the 3D walkthroughs we created were showcased at our SuperValu and Centra brand conferences. Being trusted to lead this complex project speaks volumes of the graduate programme, and the belief that senior management have in graduates at Musgrave
That sounds challenging, how did you approach this 3D walkthrough?
When developing the 3D walkthroughs of our stores, I benchmarked against other retailers such as Albert Heijn in the Netherlands who had used this technology in the past. While their models were very impressive, I felt there was an opportunity to improve by ensuring we demonstrated the highest level of retail standards at the time of shooting. We filmed the stores overnight capturing best-in-class bakery, produce, deli, butchery and general merchandising standards. A huge amount of preparation work went into ensuring the stores looked at their very best in advance of filming. This really brought the walkthroughs to life and helped us engage our retail partners in the new look stores.
How have you been supported on the programme?
All participants on the Musgrave Graduate Programme participate in a bespoke development programme designed in conjunction with the Irish Management Institute (IMI). For me this has really helped me to develop strong communication skills, self-awareness and resilience as well as practical skills in project management, marketing and finance. Fortnightly meetings with my manager, reflecting on my progress to date allow me to highlight any difficulties I may be experiencing, but also to set goals and identify potential opportunities. My mentor in the business is also a great support. A number of senior managers and directors joined Musgrave as graduates on the programme, which shows that aspiring graduates can reach the highest level in the business. Graduates are also welcome to meet senior managers and directors on a one-to-one basis, demonstrating the respect that exists towards graduates in the organisation.
Why do you think graduates should choose Musgrave?
If you have a passion for food, retail and want to work with exciting brands that enable local businesses to grow and thrive, then Musgrave is the company for you. You will be given ample opportunity to grow as a professional, with strong support from management and a network of previous graduates. Work-life balance is also extremely important to Musgrave; there are sports and social events dotted throughout the calendar as well as regular health and wellbeing initiatives. It’s the perfect transition from university life to the world of business.
What’s next for you in Musgrave?
When I joined Musgrave, my goal was to become a retail project manager for SuperValu and Centra by the end of my two years on the graduate programme. My focus for the next two to three years is to continue to deliver high-quality store revamps at lowest cost for our retail partners. One insight from talking to senior management is that you can’t plan your career path; opportunities that you couldn’t possibly have predicted will present themselves and in order to continue developing, you have to jump right in. After my experience on the programme, I feel that the career opportunities in Musgrave are endless.
What advice would you give graduates on how to succeed?
My advice to graduates in any role would be to set clear goals, harness your strengths, take every opportunity that arises and be yourself as much as possible. I have learned that authenticity and honesty can get you a long way in business.