7 October, 2016

More from Digital Grad, Alysia

After graduating with a first in English Language from Aston University, Alysia completed her placement year with M&S.com. She is currently our Digital Marketing Manager for Food Brand.

“In all honesty, the first time I thought of working for M&S was when I watched a Christmas advert. I instantly thought ‘I want to work there’. A few years later and here I am. I chose M&S because it’s a brand which never goes unnoticed. We’re known by a lot of people for a lot of reasons and I was intrigued to find out how a brand with such great heritage actually functions. The option to gain experience in a number of roles appealed to me too, especially as I struggled to pin down exactly what it was that I wanted to do. 

“When I heard that I’d been successful, I couldn’t stop telling people. It was the first thing to come out of my mouth in any conversation. On my first day, I was extremely nervous as I had no idea what to expect. The building itself is enough to make you feel anxious. But I settled in quickly and have never looked back.

“My current role involves managing the digital advertising which supports our in-store food offering. This involves working with agencies to agree media budgets and aligning the digital creative direction for upcoming campaigns. I’m part of an amazing Foods team. I’ve met so many people along the way, many of whom have become mentors and friends. Everyone here helps to create a friendly and, most importantly, comfortable place to work. This has encouraged me to ask questions – no question is a silly question – and given me the confidence to network. I definitely challenge myself more in my personal life as I take influence from what happens in the office.

“Fast-paced is most certainly a phrase I’d use to describe the world of digital. I’ve had to hit the ground running in my roles so far to make sure that I get the best out of a rotation. I have a real passion for all things digital and online, so I’d like to focus my efforts here. But I’ve got my eye on a number of opportunities I’d love to take on in the future.

“I think it’s really important to take advantage of all the resources on offer. I have a graduate manager and mentors, as well as graduate buddies to start. Then there’s the breadth of training courses and workshops I’ve attended. But there’s no substitute for learning on-the-job. Something just clicked on one of the digital projects I was working on and, suddenly, I found myself coming up with solutions for all kinds of things that no-one had thought of previously.

“A lot of other retailers don’t have the heritage and brand love we enjoy at M&S. We’re very much a part of people’s lives, so it’s important that we live up to their expectations. Our graduate programmes prepare you for this. You learn so much as they allow you to move around the business and expose you to so many faces.

If you’re a new starter, don't limit yourself. Make suggestions. Be open about what you think if you feel strongly. Never take things personally if your ideas aren’t taken up or the end result is not always the one you wanted. Work can get stressful for everyone at different moments. 
Just take a step back and start again when you’re ready.

“Working here is exciting; you never know what’s around the corner. I get to see new products first and pitch in on the story we tell our customers first-hand. What more can I say?”

Think you could join Alysia on our Digital team? Find our graduate roles here.

Inside M&S