Name: James Kitovitz
Degree and university: University of Bristol, BSc Politics, (Graduated 2005).
Job Title: Regulation and Commercial Policy Manager (2nd Placement on the two year Royal Mail Graduate Scheme).
Were you always interested in the Marketing sector?
As a student I had always dismissed a career in Marketing, not really appreciating the stimulating and rewarding aspects of the sector. Working in Commercial Marketing is the core of working in any business – this is where the revenues are generated and where value is won for the shareholder. This is also where the employee rewards can be highest when revenue targets are met and exceeded. I think a lot of people wrongly stereotype marketing as being something vaguely to do with advertising or sales, and generally being a non-essential activity. I would describe marketing as the science of learning, appreciating, and satisfying the needs of consumers – the bread and butter of any organisation dependent on selling produce or services.
How did you find out about this job?
I was unhappy and lacked stimulation in my first job after University as a trainee chartered accountant. I found the day-to-day work tedious with little responsibility. There was limited scope for personal creativity, and very hierarchical structures within the organisation allowed little opportunity for swift advancement. After six months in that role, I began to look around on various websites, such as Milkround and Guardian Jobs, for something a little bit different. I noticed the Royal Mail Graduate schemes advertised, and they caught my attention as a company that I had never considered as a possible graduate employer. The early responsibility given to graduate entrants joining the company made Royal Mail particularly attractive.
Would you ndertake further study to gain promotion?
I am currently studying for my Professional Diploma in Marketing with the Chartered Institute of Marketing. This is being supported by Royal Mail as part of my professional development. I am studying via distance learning in my free-time, however the business does allow study leave to attend courses for personal development. Obtaining this qualification will help me add value in my day-to-day role, and will support my career progression. It is particularly useful for me not having studied a business degree.
What do you most like about what you do and are there any downsides?
It’s a bit of a cliché but being part of the driving force of a large corporate restructuring is incredibly exiting. Royal Mail is at an advanced stage in changing from a regulated monopoly to being a commercially slick, 100 per cent customer focused entity. To be involved in delivering such change is extremely exciting. The candidate screening process for Royal Mail is tough: graduates are expected to be inventive and commercially astute so that they can ‘run with the ball’ as soon as they have joined the business. The early responsibility, and level of accountability is much more than my university friends working for other companies experience.
One of the biggest challenges for Royal Mail is to think ‘outside the box’ in terms of devising solutions, and commercial propositions that both satisfy the customers’ needs, as well as meeting our own regulatory obligations.
What skills do you need to succeed?
I think that having the confidence of one’s convictions is crucial. Graduates are recruited in order to add a fresh perspective and to bring in new ideas and inspiration to a business. Although it is important to respect established orders and the legacy of your employer, real value comes when a graduate can flag up any areas of inefficiency or wastage, and instigate change.
What advice would you give graduates entering this sector?
Don’t pigeonhole yourself to any particular discipline within Sales and Marketing. The best thing about being on a graduate scheme is getting to experience a variety of disciplines that will sharpen your general commercial acumen. I would advise graduates to experience both sales and marketing in order to really find a niche before applying for a permanent role in the business.