Did you always want to work for a big business?

...really think about what and where you want to work

My focus was more on getting a long-term, secure job in a sector that I was interested in, rather than choosing between a small or big firm. The great benefit of working for a big company like Tesco is that we are involved in so many sectors and countries that there is great scope to move around and experience many areas without having to endure the uncertainty of re-applying for a job somewhere else. This also means that the initiatives and campaigns I work on can have a real impact; for example, we raised £11.85 million for Cancer Research UK last year, an incredible amount of money that will really help those in need.

What did you enjoy most when you were at school?

I most enjoyed PE and Sports at school. The PE teachers at my school were very keen on getting school teams into local leagues and competitions, so I was able to compete in several different sports, even though our school gym was only the size of a badminton court!

Did you go to Uni? If so, what did you study?

I studied History BA at York, and then MA Modern History at Durham.

What was your first job in your career and how did you get it?

My first job is my current one: The Corporate Affairs Graduate Scheme post uni! The interview and assessment process is pretty tough but it was a really great experience as it showed me the key skills I needed to develop to progress in my career. Many of the senior Directors from my department attended the assessment centres, so it also enabled me to get a feel for what a future in a big business might be like, and where I might end up.

If you could give any advice to yourself when you were a teenager what would you say?

I think the main piece of advice I would give is to really think about what and where you want to work. Although we are in a very tough economic climate, and the jobs market is really competitive, I still think that young people should focus on applying for jobs in the sector they are most interested in. Whilst you might not get the job of your dreams straight away, knowing where you want to get to will really help you to make the right choices during your career, and can give you a real sense of purpose. Also, I think that you will always perform the best when you are doing something you enjoy.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt during your career so far?

Just going for it! It is very easy for a young person, especially when it is their first job, to be a bit cautious and to play it safe, but I have learnt that people are far more likely to support and respect you if you are known as someone who will take chances and try new things, even if they aren’t always successful. Knowing that the business has adopted something you have suggested is a real confidence boost!

What’s your ultimate career goal?

I have two career goals. The first is to come up with a large project or campaign (such as a charity initiative or large engagement campaign), and see it through to the very end.

The second goal to become a policy specialist, a person who oversees a team of four or five colleagues, who manage the company’s policy in a certain area, and help the business to navigate the ever increasing number of challenges it faces.

What are the three qualities anyone wanting to work in business should have?

• The courage to try new things, and to keep going when faced with challenges.

• The ability to work with others, because you will never succeed unless you are willing to support and encourage your colleagues.

• An element of single-mindedness, so that you can focus on something and see it through till the end.

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