What originally drew you to apply for a graduate programme with M&S?
I wanted to do a graduate scheme with M&S for a few reasons. It is a business that has a connection with its customers and a wide array of different opportunities for a graduate to work in.
How was your onboarding experience into the business and how were you supported to work on projects/rotations that were well suited to you?
The business left no stone unturned when it came to our onboarding. From ensuring we bonded as a graduate cohort, to giving us every tool needed to get our teeth into our future projects. By analysing our traits from the assessment centre and our CV, they assigned us first projects that would push us forward. As those projects came to an end, we got support in plotting future career paths, allowing us to mould our next project decisions accordingly.
Tell us a bit about projects you have worked on during your time on the programme so far?
I have been fortunate enough to work on two of M&S’s biggest projects in recent history. My first project was a yearlong placement on the Ocado Readiness Program, to help launch our products on the Ocado Website. As part of that project I was able to interact with senior stakeholder from both businesses, lead the creation of a bespoke supply route to ensure product set up and even lead an offshore team. The project pushed me to learn not just the operational side of the business but delve into the detail and come up with well thought strategies.
My second placement is on the Clothing and Home Transformation team, working on the ‘Never the Same Again’ Programme which is essentially a program to help drive the Clothing and Home business. This placement offers me a wide set of new responsibilities, from planning strategies on how we can roll out programs to collaborating across many areas to ensure our story is joined up for our colleagues and customers. I will also be helping design KPI’s that will help measure the success of this programme. Finally, I’ll be engaging with senior directors within the business and share my reports and ideas, all of which means I get to widen my professional network and hone in on a wider skillset
What has been the most rewarding or enjoyable part of your programme/ project you worked on so far?
The most enjoyable part of this program is the freedom to move around the business. As an Enterprise graduate, I get to move into completely different fields across the business, an opportunity that is crucial to my development as a well-rounded individual.
How have you felt as a graduate at M&S? Have you felt valued, trusted? Have you been given autonomy to do your role?
As a graduate at M&S I can safely say I have not been treated as a graduate, but instead as fully fledged employee. I was entrusted with a lot of responsibility and held up to the same expectations a lateral hire would have. This kind of autonomy is something hard to find and the fact that I have been able to do so has been instrumental to my growth.
Can you tell us something about the M&S Graduate programme that many people might not be aware of?
M&S is not just about working the shop floor. It is a whole entity that has it hands in every possible job you can think of. Energy, Banking, Property, Finance, Strategy. You name it, M&S will likely have a role for it.
If you could give advice to those hoping to join M&S on our graduate programmes, what would it be?
Do not be afraid to be yourself. When you apply, make sure the real you shines through. M&S has a diverse set of colleagues and you are bound to fit in. Do your best, and do not hold back. At M&S the only thing that holds you back is yourself.