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Case Study: Robert

Personal details
Degree:MA (Hons) History of Art and English Profile picture
School(s): School of Art History, School of English
Year of Graduation:Jun-2000
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: John Lewis Partnership, Cheadle
Job title: General Manager
Occupational Sector: Customer Service
What has been your route to getting your current position?

I joined John Lewis as a graduate trainee straight from St Andrews and have spent time in a number of senior roles, from Aberdeen to Southampton, Norwich to the Trafford Centre, Manchester. I took up my current role in February of 2010.

What does your job involve ?

I am responsible for the day to day operation of the Cheadle department store, which turns over in excess of £115m each year. As part of a senior team of nine, which is also responsible for the store in the Trafford Centre, I work across a range of functions including customer service, customer catering, the selling floor and several back office operations.

What are the best bits of your job ?

Leading a team of people to offer outstanding service to all of our customers. I started working in retail because of the people contact but am also inspired by and passionate about the products we sell.

Why were you successful?

I spent a summer holiday from St Andrews on a vacation placement with John Lewis, thanks to the support and advice of the Careers Centre and have regularly come back to the university to speak about my experience with future graduates.

What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?

The list is genuinely never ending, but the key skills I would pick out would include organisation and managing my own time effectively, passion for product, developing a clear understanding of what’s required and the dissemination and communication of information to a variety of audiences.

What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?

Find a way of giving it a go, in advance of ‘signing up’ to retail because this will give you a true sense of whether you will love it. It’s not a 9 to 5 desk job, and never will be, but it’s a truly exciting industry to work in which can be immensely rewarding and stimulating.