Case Study – Megan Steele – National Account Manager
I applied for the Princes’ Graduate Scheme in my final year at Newcastle University, where I was studying Business Management.
I knew I wanted to work for a food business, having made the industry part of my degree studies. I was also a volunteer for a charity called Food Nation, supported by Jamie Oliver, which delivers cooking skills and food education.
I applied for and had offers from several graduate programmes but the Princes one stood out. There was a great process and everyone was so encouraging. I was also impressed by Princes’ commitment to areas including sustainability and CSR.
I started in September 2019 with the first of my three rotations in drinks marketing on our squash and juice ranges. I gained fantastic exposure to budgets, P&Ls and Innov8, the Princes’ hub that is driving long-term growth through product innovation.
My next rotation saw me working in sales in the discounters’ team, my first experience of a customer-facing role working closely with the likes of Booths and Poundland.
My final rotation saw me joining the buying team for Italian products which gave me knowledge of the supplier side of the business including tomato buying and the wider procurement process.
I knew at the end of the scheme that I wanted to work in sales and was successful in applying for a vacancy as National Account Manager in the discounters’ team, where I had had experience as one of my rotations.
I am now a few months into my new role which is a big step up and with increased expectations. But the graduate scheme gave me such a strong grounding because you learn all of the principles.
During my rotations, the pandemic struck, but Princes was superb in enabling everyone to adapt and move smoothly to remote working but with lots of support.
I am excited for my future at Princes. One of the best things is that so many former commercial graduates are in different roles within the business. It helps with setting your goals and seeing a clear career pathway.
In addition to my position as National Account Manager, I am a member of the Social Mobility Colleague Resource Group (CRG) which is producing a video containing testimonials from colleagues who have progressed despite coming from difficult backgrounds. I’m also going into schools to talk about the ways in which Princes supports social mobility.
I am based in the historic Royal Liver Building in Liverpool and enjoying our new hybrid working. I typically work four days in the office and one at home. The introduction of core business hours is also working well, allowing me to finish at 3pm on a Friday and make the most of my weekend.
If I was giving advice to future graduates, I would encourage them to keep an open mind when going through their rotations because you may be surprised by the one you like best. I never expected to choose sales!
I’d also encourage graduates to network as much as they possibly can in the business – you get to meet so many colleagues, customers and suppliers, all working on different products and sectors. The amount of knowledge is incredible.