Graduate Careers


You’re an ambitious graduate looking for the perfect place to make the most of your talents and build a career. You’ve found it at M&S.

We strive for perfection in everything we do. You can find it in all of our stores and every aspect of our operations. You can see it in our exquisitely executed, expertly edited fashion collections; and taste it in our melt-in-the-mouth food ranges. You can feel it in every fibre of our fabrics and experience it through the warmth of our customer service. Perfection is what inspires us; and what our customers have come to expect. As a bright, talented graduate, we see no reason why you should settle for anything less. Which is why we’ve created perfect careers with you in mind.

We now serve over 32 million customers visiting our stores or our website every single week. And our continued growth has seen us develop new channels and expand into new markets. Meaning, for you, that we can offer virtually unlimited opportunities.

So whether you want to pursue a career in Retail Management or specialise in one of the many Head Office disciplines that make our business tick, the perfect role is waiting for you here at M&S.

Applications for our business placement and graduate programmes are now open.  You’re welcome to apply at any time up until the closing dates advertised for each programme but we’d encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Should we receive a high response for any of our programmes, we may have to close applications early.  We’ll provide advance notice of new closing dates on this page so please do check back regularly.

Explore graduate opportunities

Applying to join M&S

  • Online application

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    Stage one: online application and testing

    You'll need to apply online - where you'll take some online screening tests, after which there follows a short period of suspense. This is where your application rises to the top of our review pile. As soon as we can, we'll be in touch to let you know whether you've successfully made it through to the next stage of your journey.

    Be sure to check each programme page for specific closing dates as they may vary. If you miss the deadline, you’ll have to wait another year before you can apply again.

    Here are a few tips. On your application form, be sure you include all your work experience and clearly state how it relates to the role you are applying for – or what skills you learned in that job which you can bring to our programme. In the online testing, everyone completes a personality questionnaire and takes a situational judgement test. Then you’ll be challenged to show your verbal, numerical or inductive skills, depending on the scheme you’re applying for. It’s a good idea to practise online tests before attempting the real ones – you can easily find some online. Make sure you take the tests in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

  • Come to an assessment centre

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    Stage two: come to an assessment centre

    If we like what we see online, we'll ask to see you in person. You'll then be invited to a day of group exercises, presentations and an interview. Not easy, but not as scary as it sounds. In Retail, assessment centres will take place in January, February or March 2017, although some Head Office schemes will hold theirs in December 2016. There are plenty of tips on other pages to help you perform at your best.

  • Receive an offer

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    Stage three: receive an offer

    If all goes well and there's a place for you on one of our schemes, we'll let you know by the end of March. All in all, it's a simple process: just hold on to those 'if only' thoughts and do your best to impress at every stage. M&S has roles waiting for you. Yes, you could make it happen.

  • Start with us

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    Stage four: start with us

    This is the moment you've been waiting for. Your first day! Head Office Business Placements start in July but Retail Management and HR begin in September. For Graduates, all Head Office roles start in September with Retail Management having various intake dates across July and September.

    Applications for our business placement and graduate programmes for 2017 are now open.

Your Assessment day

It's natural to feel apprehensive before your assessment, but with a little preparation and a lot of determination you could be hearing the magic 'Yes' word from us. We can't give too much away about the day (unexpected scenarios are to be expected in this job), but here's a general overview plus a few handy hints to bear in mind.

The day itself

This one-day assessment involves a mix of different exercises designed to test your abilities in several areas. These include: business leadership, decision-making, commercial acumen and people/resource management. Imagine all the excitement of The Apprentice, but with nicer people.

Group discussion

It's not just about standing out in a crowd, but working with one. Group discussions show how you respond to social dynamics, take on board other suggestions and find effective ways of expressing your own.

Three things to think about when preparing for the group discussion are: have the strength of your convictions, consider the opinion of others carefully and show empathy with the customer experience.

Role related exercises

This will be relevant to your scheme and will test your ability to cope with a life-like situation: dealing with certain issues. This may involve an analysis/product presentation, role-play or simulation exercise.

Three key things to think about when preparing for this section of the day are: use your preparation time to read the brief carefully, don't hesitate for too long and be clear and concise.

Competency-based interview

Based around our four values - Innovation, Inspiration, Integrity and In Touch, this will give you the opportunity to show us that you’re the right match for us.

Some key things to think about when preparing for this are: your reasons for applying to M&S (not just what you think we want to hear) and your relevant experience. Among other things, we'll want to see examples of your:

  • teamwork achievements
  • crystal-clear communication skills
  • sharp problem-solving abilities
  • business awareness

Learning and Development

Experience is the best teacher, which is why M&S likes to throw you in at the deep end. Real responsibilities on real projects, from day one (no, really). But the learnings aren't just one way: we're eager to hear your fresh ideas, to have our ways challenged, in order to grow the business. Of course, it all starts with a comprehensive introduction to M&S. You're never on your own with us. During this time, you'll get a basic overview of our business, along with all the information you need about your new role and life with one of the nation's brightest brands.

Graduate Events

Discover more about the core beliefs that have contributed to our success, and our enviable reputation as the retail store against which all others are measured.

Nov 2016

Tue 1st November 2016

Graduate Fair
@ Kent University
12pm - 3pm

Wed 2nd November 2016

Graduate and Placement Fair
@ Manchester Metropolitan
11am - 3pm

Wed 2nd November 2016

Graduate Fair
@ Uni of Sussex and Brighton University
11am - 3pm

Tue 8th November 2016

@ Manchester or MMU
11:30am – 2:30pm

Thu 10th November 2016

@ Aston or Leicester
11:30am – 2:30pm

Fri 11th November 2016

@ Cardiff or Swansea
11:30am – 2:30pm

Tue 15th November 2016

@ York or Leeds
11:30am – 2:30pm

Wed 16th November 2016

@ Christchurch or Surrey
11:30am – 2:30pm

Thu 17th November 2016

@ Brighton or Surrey
11:30am – 2:30pm

Fri 18th November 2016

@ Holloway or UCL
11:30am – 2:30pm