A step above a section manager for multi-million pound stores. You dive in to the detail of sales around different products, and investigate with different projects to ensure your store is operating the best way it can.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My year was fantastic, the people I worked with completely made my year with Marks and Spencer. The work was hard but based on enjoyment I had an amazing time working as a Commercial Manager for the year.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
As I moved around in different stores I was valued differently. At the beginning when I was new I definitely felt out of place and as if there was little plans for me. Throughout my year and becoming more confident I have found more of a place within the team and have therefore been a more valuable player amongst the others. This is why I have scored 5/10
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The support element of the job is not good. There is little guidance to what you are actually meant to do, and those you are shadowing have little clue with what to teach you and show you. Some are fantastic, and some are terrible. You are given a mentor who you stay in constant contact with, and mine was absolutely amazing. If I ever had a problem with what I was learning or felt I should have more guidance she always helped me. What I expected from my placement and what I received were worlds apart.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Days are very different in Retail so I find this quite a hard question to answer. Depending on the different times of year and different projects given to you, you can be extremely busy or not busy at all. I would regularly find myself with nothing to do, however I would then find myself a job.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The responsibility element of the job is amazing. From the minute you walk through the door you are treated as a Commercial Manager and are given all the responsibilities of one. You immediately are trusted with all the information and expected to deal with everything a manager would - including difficult customers and process issues.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The placement year has been invaluable to my skills. I have grown so much as a person, and this placement in particular has opened my eyes to the retailing world. I have 5 years experience in retail prior to this placement, however moving companies has having the responsibility I have had has been incredible.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
I have worked in 6 different stores and the atmosphere in each has been friendly and helpful.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The organisation of the placement is terrible, there is no training that goes in to it. Its very much learn on the job, and there is no structure. For my learning style this was awful and I found it really hard to learn. The commercial managers you shadow are given no training and little warning of your arrival. I turned up to two placement where my commercial had no idea they were receiving a graduate at all. The placement would be much better with a structure to what we should learn and need to know, with updated material to learn from.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Personal training and development the company were fantastic at, however actually having one-to-one time with your commercial managers is where they struggle. There is no end to what the company will do to help you learn in courses and experiences. I have been on a lot of training courses over the last 12 months, including time in London that I set up to see the head office side of the business. The business are more than happy to help you in any way they can for you to get the most out of the year through personal training.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I have accepted the graduate position, as being appointed to be a store manager of a food store would be a dream for me! The progression up is also very appealing.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The other grads and BP's that started in my year are now some of my best friends, the social scene is what you make of it. There is always Christmas parties and social events to attend.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived at home during my year and I was placed in stores around my area.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I lived at home during my 12 month placement, but Manchester's nightlife is amazing!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were always charity days and different sports to get involved with.