International Retail Graduate Programme

International Retail Graduate Programme

Our passion and reputation for great service doesn’t stop with the UK, and neither does our ambition to become a leading retailer. Expanding our international business is one of our top 3 strategic goals and we are therefore looking for graduates to join our International Retail Management graduate scheme to play an integral part in this. By learning how to lead and inspire our store teams to provide the great retail experience we’re known for in the UK, you’ll be at the frontline of our local business’ growth.

“The M&S Graduate Training scheme provided me with an excellent introduction to the world of Retail and Business Management. The comprehensive training I received with this world class company was so compelling that I have stayed with the company for over 20 years. I have had a very varied career across several countries and I am now the Managing Director of the Central European business.”
Jonathan Smith
Managing Director
CEE Region

Programme Overview

Programme Overview

Our 12 month scheme combines on-the-job training with structured training and attachments in the Czech Republic/Poland/Slovakia as well as at the Headquarters in the UK. You can also expect project based assignments and local as well as overseas placements. You’ll be given real responsibility from day one, and will gain first class experience of leading a retail team.

From understanding the rhythm and routine of a retail environment, you’ll need to quickly develop to grasp the workings of customer service, competition, products, stock, visual merchandising, store layout and sales. Moreover, you’ll need to absorb M&S business competencies and the many different aspects of successful management. You’ll consolidate all this learning by putting it into practice, demonstrating your talent and delivering success in countries around the region.

All of this will lead up to your being fully prepared for a store management role following the programme, marking the start of a promising career building towards senior management in our international business.

Programme Requirements

Programme Requirements

We’re keen to hear from talented and dedicated individuals with a passion for retail and the potential to build long-term careers with us following the positive start that the International Retail Graduate Programme provides. You should bring at least the following attributes to the role:

• a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a business related discipline
• high mobility, with availability to work and travel predominantly across Europe
• drive and determination to learn and deliver in a challenging and fast paced environment
• confidence in own analytical skills along with the ability to effectively influence others
• highly-developed interpersonal skills with a natural adaptability to different cultures
• independent character with an instinctive capacity for leadership
• fluency in English and one of the following languages: Czech, Slovak, Polish

If you wish to apply and think you meet the programme requirements, please complete this online application first.

The recruitment process is scheduled as follows:

• Application – deadline 21st July 2013
• Phone interviews – second half of July 2013
• Assessment center – end of July or first half of August 2013
• Appointments to the role – end of August 2013
• Start date – September 2013

Please note the assessment centre will be conducted in English.

What is an assessment centre?

Assessment centre is a technique which helps to evaluate the candidates´ skills through various group exercises, presentations and an interview. It usually takes several hours up to a full working day.

The assessment centre will be conducted by an Human Resources representative together with your future line manager.

Company Benefits

Company Benefits

Our benefits package has been developed to help us attract, motivate and retain the best people in retail. You can enjoy the following benefits just like any other M&S employee:

• ongoing development opportunities
• generous staff discount
• meal vouchers
• an additional week of annual leave after two years of service

Lucie Talks

Lucie Talks

Our graduate Lucie Hrdinová talks about the M&S graduate scheme:

I started the programme in September 2012 with very interesting induction training and first attachment as a sales assistant in one of our Prague stores. I was surprised how much I´ve learned from this role and I was enjoying gaining more and more information about our products and company. During second month I was working in our flagship store and preparing myself for section manager role. Third and forth month was big challenge for me because I was working as section manager in the store where I had been working as sales assistant before. I was quite afraid how I will be accepted by my former colleagues. Fortunately everything was ok and I think we were doing great job especially during Christmas time.

My fifth month was again completely different experience. During that month I was having many attachments in our Head Office which was great opportunity to see the other side of our business. It had helped me a lot to understand all processes in company. My favorite part was HR attachment where I was participating during job interviews for different positions.

The highlight of the programme was definitely my UK training. Very intensive month full of workshops with inspiring people all over the world. Next step was 3 months Greek attachment, I was working in the city center of Athens as Supervisor for Kids wear and Lingerie, it was interesting to see how different the job role is comparing to our country. I had really enjoyed possibility to speak to last year participant of the graduate programme and share our thoughts.

Now I´m preparing myself for trip to Istanbul where we will visit our sourcing office. For sure it’s going to be as exciting as the rest of the programme.

Are you interested in learning even more about the programme? Read a full interview with Lucie.

Artur Talks

Artur Talks

Our graduate Artur Wons talks about the M&S graduate scheme:

I joined M&S Graduate Programme in October 2011. I started with several store attachments in Warsaw to learn about everyday retail operations and get familiar with the dynamic retail environment. After that, I had a chance to work at the regional Head Office in Prague in other departments including buying and merchandising, finance, and marketing. It was such a fantastic opportunity to get a good insight into our business in so many levels and most importantly to have a chance to meet loads of amazing people. Next I, along with other International Graduates, travelled to London for a month of training. It was fairly intensive, although we enjoyed every single day and we had a great support from both the HR team and the Senior Management.

Then for three months I have been based at the flagship store in Athens, where I had my own department to run and I have been involved in decision making and everyday retail operations. I worked with a fantastic team, who supported me all the time and helped to develop. I have also had an opportunity to work in other countries such as Scotland, Turkey and Kazakhstan.

It has been an amazing experience. Retail is really fast-paced and exciting, and M&S is a huge international company with a great reputation for carrying about people. This programme is a lifetime opportunity and I hope to see more new graduates soon.

Are you interested in learning even more about the programme? Read a full interview with Artur.

Interview with Lucie

Interview with Lucie

Our graduate Lucie from Czech Republic talks about the graduate programme she joined last year.

After a multi level recruitment process you’ ve been qualified to M&S International Retail Graduate Development Programme as the only participant for 12/13 representing the Czech Joint Venture business. Congratulations! Tell us something about yourself and how did you learn about the Programme?

I graduated from The Czech Technical University in Prague with a degree in Project management. Before that I studied Travel and Tourism and International relations.  I spent one semester as an exchange student in China where I studied Management and Chinese language. As you can see from my education I was always interested in international business so when I saw ad for this programme I knew it would be best choice for me and I was really happy that I got this job.

How did the recruitment process look like? Did you find it difficult?

After sending my CV and covering letter there was telephone interview half in English and half in Czech. Then I was invited for one day Assesment center which was hard but atmosphere was really nice and relaxed. There was short presentation about the programme and the company and then some individual and group tasks which were related to retail industry. I would not call it difficult, I think challenging and interesting are better words how to descibe it. After the Assesment center I was even more motivated to work for M&S.

For a few months you have been working within our JV structure in different departments.  What are your impressions so far?

Before the programme I liked M&S, now I fell in love with M&S. Retail is very dynamic industry and it is interesting to have insight view in it. We have done a lot during less than one year. Im really happy that we are one of few countries in world selling fresh food, I love all our innovations, products and Im proud to our Plan A. I think a lot of people here are doing amazing job.

What do you find most exciting and what is most difficult in the Programme?

The most exciting part was definitely our one month training in the UK. It was great opportunity to share knowledge with other international graduates from Indina, China, Hong Kong, France and Greece. We spend two weeks in London Head office where we were given lectures by the most important people in the company. Even the CEO of M&S Marc Bolland gave us one. Two weeks in UK´s stores were also amazing. We had opportinity to see how smoothly is business run there and gain some inspiration. It was great to see our superb looking flagship stores and also stores of our competitors in Europe´s shopping paradise.

I think the most difficult part was to find way how to comunicate with people who dont speak English and to get used to for difirent working pace and culture during my Greek attachment.

Before the Programme what did you know about Marks & Spencer?

I´ve been travelling a lot so I knew M&S as famous UK company selling great food and good quality clothes. It was also my favourite place to go when I wanted to buy bra, sleepwear or formalwear.

If you were asked to encourage people to apply to the Programme — how would you recommend it?

Its definitely unique chance for your career! You will have opportunity to learn from best people in their field and you will be given a lot of responsibilty from begining.

Interview with Artur

Interview with Artur

Our graduate Artur from Poland talks about the graduate programme he joined last year.

After a multi level recruitment process you’ ve been qualified to M&S International Retail Graduate Development Programme as the only participant representing the Czech Joint Venture business. Congratulations! Tell us something about yourself and how did you learn about the Programme?

I have graduated with a Master’s Degree in International Trade from the Wroclaw University of Economics. I have been visiting the UK on a regular basis for more than 10 years and this is where I found out about Marks & Spencer. It is just amazing how people in the UK seem to love this brand and it also got into me really fast. I was very excited when I heard they were recruiting for the Graduate Development Programme and I applied.

How did the recruitment process look like? Did you find it difficult?

First, there was an online application followed by a short phone interview and I got invited to an Assessment Centre. When I arrived at the place there was a quick briefing and we all got a chance to get to know each other. First, there was a group task, where other applicants and myself worked together, discussing ideas and seeking solutions to some issues like in a real business environment. The second part was individual. We received some data and were presented with a business issue. Our task was to find out some solutions and write a report. After we completed, we were asked to present our ideas to the assessor. The next task was a role play and at the end there was an interview. It was a great experience and I actually really enjoyed it.

For a few months you have been working within our JV structure in different departments.  What were your impressions?

It was really exciting! I had a unique opportunity to get to know our business all the way through. This has provided me with a real insight of what we do and how we do it. I also had a chance to meet so many people. It was incredible how much attention people gave me and how helpful they were for me.

What did you find most exciting and what was most difficult in the Programme?

What I liked most were the people. Everyone was so friendly and they all liked to share their knowledge and experience. I also had a chance to travel and visit different countries. The most difficult thing was perhaps the amount of information I was constantly put into.

Before the Programme what did you know about Marks & Spencer?

Well, I definitely knew it was British. When you spend some time in the UK you will notice that Marks & Spencer is a big part of people’s life. Long before I started the Programme I was a customer at M&S. I recognized the quality, the value and most of all the great food! I was also familiar with M&S environmental awareness. I have always admired it.

At the end of the Programme graduates presented their team projects to M&S International leadership team. Tell us more about these projects.

We had two international projects that we worked on for nearly a year. One of them reffered to business development strategy and other to marketing strategy for our international business. I had a chance to leade the marketing project and work with other graduates. Main challenge was long distance between us, so we had to communicate during weekly teleconferences. Most exciting part was the final presentation. A lot of senio managers came to listen to us and it was a bit stressful.

What do you currently do in Marks & Spencer?

I took section manager‘s role in our flagship store in Warsaw. I am responsible for menswear and kidswear.

If you were asked to encourage people to apply to the Programme — how would you recommend it?

This is a great programme, where you get a lot of experience, get a good insight into the business and have fun. I can’t imagine being anywhere else than M&S now.