13 October, 2016

More from Graduate IT Business Analyst, Sophie

After starting her Business Analyst career in another sector, Sophie leapt at the chance to apply for our graduate scheme when she saw it advertised online. So, has saying yes to M&S lived up to her expectations? 

“I never thought I’d end up as a Business Analyst. I studied Business Management at the University of East Anglia, but at that time I was thinking about law, sales, consultancy, things like that. Then I got a Business Analyst job in a construction company. I enjoyed the role, but wasn’t particularly interested in the industry. Retail was something I could better relate to and M&S is such an iconic brand. When I saw the scheme online I knew I had to apply.

“I’m so thankful I did! I couldn’t believe it when I found out I’d been accepted. I don’t think I appreciated just how much I wanted the job and how nervous I’d been waiting to hear the news. I felt such a sense of achievement and couldn’t wait for my first day.

“When that day came along, it was packed with activities and everyone was really welcoming. No need for first-day nerves. And I was quickly encouraged to find my own feet by my manager in my first rotation. ‘Fail fast and fail often’ is a saying used at lot at M&S. Making mistakes is fine as long as you learn from them. 

“A great thing about the M&S graduate scheme is that you get to choose the business areas you complete your three rotations in, which means you’re more in control of your own development. I’m currently working in Foods IT on the implementation of a new Product Lifecycle Management system. Once up and running, this will enable the Foods team to manage new products from conception through to post-launch review.

“My role is so varied, I love it. There are always different problems to solve. You spend so much time learning about new areas of the business, it’s impossible to get bored! Plus this exposure has given me a better appreciation of the M&S organisation as a whole, as well as the transferability of my own skills. I feel like I’d be perfectly comfortable starting a new job in a business area I have no experience in.

“One of the reasons for this is that I’ve been constantly encouraged to focus on my personal development – attending courses and getting involved is as many activities as possible outside of my day job. There is a very positive company-wide attitude to continuous improvement. It’s up to you to get outside your comfort zone and make the most of it. 

“You’ll be glad you did. From my perspective, the past year has been the best of my career, by an absolute mile. I’ve learnt so much and had some amazing experiences. I feel well prepared for work after the scheme and am looking forward to putting my skills to good use. I’m hoping to move quickly through the three Business Analyst levels, then perhaps take on a Product Ownership role. I’m keen to move around the business and not stay in one place too long. I want to keep learning as much as possible.” 

Has Sophie's story inspired you? View our graduate career opportunities here.

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