Getting to know... Peter
Everyone that works at M&S is an individual. That’s why we hired them. We spotted something in them that made us say yes to them. Behind every person in every role is a personality. This is Peter's.
1. Tell us about your biggest ambition.
The reason I chose the M&S School Leaver Programme was because of the opportunity to gain a senior role in business. That’s what I’m committed to – a varied and influential role that allows me to make my mark on a strong, ever-expanding business.
2. Who was your favourite teacher at school and how did they inspire you?
My favourite teacher was Rav Phagura. She taught me all about the Second World War from Britain’s perspective, but she also taught me a lot about management. It wasn’t just about getting across the information we needed to know. She got to know us personally and inspired us to work together as a team.
3. What do you see as your major strength? Pick one trait and explain
Someone once described Andy Murray as a ‘maximiser’ and I think that applies to me, too. It means you’re always looking to make the most of all your abilities. Andy Murray certainly does that in tennis. As well as putting a lot into the school leavers’ scheme, I do a full time degree, play bass in a band and play sport whenever I can. So I think that maximising my application and effort is a strong point.
4. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but the one thing I wanted to be as I was growing up was a professional footballer. Needless to say, I don’t think that’s going to happen now – although I wouldn’t say no if Man United came knocking on my door tonight! I’m just determined to make the most of every opportunity on the School Leaver Programme, so the ambitions I have now come true.
5. What is your proudest moment – in work and outside of work?
In work, I think it’s leading my team to refresh the lingerie department in our store. It took lots of planning, working with colleagues and shifting some big kit. But in the end, I led my team in ‘revolutionising’ the department, as the menswear manager put it. The store manager was really pleased, too, so it was a positive result all round.
Outside of work my proudest moment was when I received my Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold award in the presence of the Duke himself at Buckingham Palace! It’s a pretty tough award to get, so it was really satisfying to collect it and meet royalty at the same time.
6. What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Who gave it and how have you put it to good use.
It was when my mum said something like: ‘Hey Peter, why don’t you apply for this?’ Two years on, here I am!
7. Tell us something unexpected about you.
I’m a youth leader for a large group of 10 to 14 year-olds at my local church.
8. What are the most important things to you in life – aside from family and friends?
Work satisfaction and enjoyment, and having a clear path that enables me to make the most of my potential.
9. What would you be doing now if you hadn’t made it onto the School Leaver Programme?
When I applied for the Programme, I also gained a place at Birmingham University to study politics and philosophy, so I may well be studying there. But the opportunity at M&S clearly eclipsed my Uni place and I’m very pleased I’m here.
10. Which M&S value – Innovative, Inspiration, In Touch, Integrity – do you most identify with and why?
Inspiration is definitely the quality that I’ve learnt most on the School Leaver Programme. You don’t just learn technical knowledge. You get to develop your leadership style by inspiring others to achieve. It’s a quality that I’ve really enjoyed working on.
11. What motto do you live your life by?
Every moment is a competition.
12. You’re cast adrift on a desert island: choose one song to inspire you in your solitude; one personal possession to console you in it; and one M&S product that you simply couldn’t do without.
The song would have to be ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift. And I definitely couldn’t be without my bass guitar. As for the product – an HFOTM Ultimate Burger with bacon and cheese.