8 December, 2015

Living our values from the inside, out.

Maeve McKeever found her way into M&S via a Business Economics degree at Queens University, Belfast and a short-lived Accountancy career. Starting out in HR, she settled quickly into the business and developed an interest in finding out how our stores ran. She found out about our graduate programme, completed it and, today, she’s a GM Commercial Manager in our Hempstead Valley store.

“I started the graduate scheme last September, so I was in training up until the start of August this year. Then I got my sign-off which means I’m officially qualified now as a GM Commercial Manager. I look after childrenswear, menswear, home and all of our online orders.”

Maeve says she had plenty of support from within the company during her time on the graduate scheme.

“M&S is such a historic company and such an iconic brand that, from the outside, it seems like it’s hard to get into the company and that you have to have loads of experience. I obviously had none, I had never worked in retail but speaking to people that already work for the company - they absolutely love it. M&S looks after its people and everyone I’ve spoken to has had a positive experience working for the company.”

M&S’s retail management programme is unique, Maeve says, in that it offers graduates the opportunity to branch out and experience retail in both food and fashion. 

“I didn’t realise that there was so much within one company and that it was so diverse. That’s what’s so good about M&S; you can progress within the company and you can go in totally different directions. You’re exposed to a lot so you can learn a lot about your strengths and weaknesses. I had a mentor who had previously been through the graduate scheme and understood where I was coming from. I had regular feedback sessions with my mentor and store manager - they really encouraged me to ask for feedback all the time.”

Maeve was left inspired by the M&S values which are part of what makes the business so iconic. It was M&S emphasis on integrity that appealed to her most; seeing how the business promoted it, not just as a value in the way its employees approach their work.  

“It doesn’t matter who you are in the hierarchy of the company. You have to be a good person inside and out. I think integrity feeds integrity in this company. I was able to see how if a manager has a sense of integrity the staff will as well.”

Maeve is forward-thinking as well and sees her future with M&S filled with possibilities. 

“I really do think I’d love to go international for a year and I think that is the biggest thing about M&S; its grown so much and I don’t think people see it. You’re always encouraged to go and try new things. There’s a real ‘go-for-it’ attitude.”

“I think you learn so much about yourself as a person. I moved over from Ireland to England and I found that really difficult at the start. I was quite homesick. To be honest, it was the people that I worked with at M&S that actually encouraged me to stay and really, it’s like a family. We look out for each other. Everyone at M&S is human, and you can approach anybody. Every store I’ve been to has a really positive vibe, I think it’s just the way the company is run; that its values are instilled from the top down and everyone is really nice. It’s a lovely company to work for, it really, really is.”

To find out more about the graduate opportunities available at M&S click here.

Inside M&S