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Bella: Graduate

By M&S
Book open Reading time: 2 mins

On our graduate programmes, everyone starts off in store for four months to see and understand how store colleagues prioritise their workloads. That knowledge then helps us when we get to do our rotations across the business.

Because M&S is such a big company, there’s always something new going on, whether it’s a marketing campaign, a new product innovation, or an event. This is your opportunity to try out a whole range of rotations, while working for an established brand with great products.

As graduates, the skills we’re picking up through all our rotations are going to help us become the future of M&S. And as you progress, you start to understand how the different teams fit together, and how your work contributes to the bigger picture.

For example, in marketing you get to know everybody. After all, it’s creative work we’re doing, so we need plenty of collaboration. I’ve noticed that, even if people are pressed for time, they’re always so approachable and friendly. Working in this environment, where you’re really listened to, you learn a lot about the power of networking and relationship building.

And hybrid working just adds to that. Nothing beats learning from my team in person, but it’s great to have the flexibility to work from home, too. Perhaps the most exciting part is our policy that allows you to work abroad for up to two weeks every year: I’m planning to work abroad next year, to really make the most of being in Spain.

At the end of the two-year scheme, I’ll roll off into a permanent role in the business. Each rotation on the scheme has helped me learn about different areas of the business and understand more of what I want from my future career. And even though I’m not sure which permanent role I’ll take yet, there’s been a lot of investment in our development throughout the scheme, and I know that there’s still a lot to learn. For example, in my current role, my manager has designed a detailed training plan to help me get the most I can out of this rotation.

All the graduates across M&S were also lucky enough to have had nine sessions of leadership coaching over the past year and a half, and we all came away with a certificate. A group of five of us still meet up regularly to continue having those coaching discussions. That’s the nice thing about being on the grad scheme – even if you’re all in different roles, you’re part of a group, and there’s always someone to have lunch with!