NAME: CATRIONA DUNCAN / AGE: 24
UNIVERSITY: FIRST CLASS HONOURS IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS FROM EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY
JOB TITLE: COMMERCIAL MANAGER OF LINGERIE AND BEAUTY AT M&S IN BRENT CROSS
What do you do on a typical day?
There isn’t one in this job, and that’s what makes it so interesting. Yesterday was varied. Amongst other things I was planning sales for Christmas; I had a sales meeting; I was performance coaching, and was probing sales performance.
What qualifications and qualities do you need for a graduate retail role?
In terms of qualifications – you need a degree, but it doesn’t have to be a specific subject. The key aspect for recruitment is qualities. People skills are vital. You also need to be able to work in a fast–paced and ever changing environment. Those who have done some research into retail are the ones who will do well.
Why did you decide to embark upon a retail career and how did you get the job?
When I left university, I wanted a job that would be people–focused and retail is just that. You are interacting with customers, as well as teams of colleagues, so you are always surrounded by people. I applied online and was sent a series of tests, including aptitude tests. I was then invited to an assessment centre, which included an interview.
What is the most challenging aspect of the job?
The diversity – you juggle several things on a daily basis, which keeps the job fresh.
What advice do you have for students considering a career in retail? Try to gain experience in the company you are targeting. For example, M&S takes on temporary staff over Christmas; it’s a good way to learn about the company’s culture and find out whether it’s going
to suit you.
Briefly, how would you describe your job?
It is diverse, fast–paced, and also people–oriented.