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23rd February 2020

Making the strategic move in-house for a rewarding career in M&S Foods

Undergoing one of the biggest transformations in retailing today, here at M&S Food we have recently established a brand-new strategy team to drive our ambitious plans forward.

Our Colleague Edward has joined us on this exciting journey, and in the short time since he became part of the M&S Foods team has already made a real impact with his work.

“In my role as a Strategic Development Analyst I have more responsibility than in my previous consultancy role (which had more layers within a team), a greater degree of ownership and more exposure to the senior leadership. The work I have been doing has been impactful, and my output ends up in front of the leadership team. I have even had the chance to attend some of these meetings despite being only a few months in! Working in an in-house strategy team has not only enabled me to provide strategic advice, but also see how they are implemented and how they are taken from a document into real-life practice, which I didn’t see in consulting.”

Having spent 3 years in strategy consulting where he was helping various companies improve their performance and undertaking commercial due diligence for institutional investors, Edward has always thrived in a challenging, problem-solving environment – but he had been keen to find out what an in-house environment could offer him.

“I changed job in the middle of a pandemic and thought it would be challenging to onboard virtually and change setting – however, M&S made sure that my onboarding was smooth and structured, and my team has been incredibly helpful in this transition – they have been very supportive, kind, providing advice throughout this journey and making me feel comfortable in this new role – seems like I joined M&S a while ago!"

Edward has really settled into new ways of working and has found his new role in food retail (an area he had never worked in previously) to be a welcome challenge that he can really get stuck into.

“It’s been a steep learning curve since I joined – I’ve learnt how to interact and deal with different type of stakeholders, adjust my communication style to the appropriate audience and develop a critical strategic thinking when doing my work. By this I mean taking a step back to think about how a problem fits in the greater picture, what will be its impact and what is the best way to solve it and push it forward. The challenging part was to discover the food retail industry, which I haven’t had too much exposure to before – but I am learning on the job, through regular lunch & learn events (where different parts of the business talk about their work) and also through our weekly townhall updates, which are extremely useful.”

“I’m currently working on the Plan A refresh, which is our major sustainability strategy plan for the coming years and involves many parts of the business. My team is overseeing the project and providing strategic inputs to bring all the technical details into a cohesive and impactful strategy. I have been given a good amount of responsibility in this project and learning new things on a daily basis – which is great!”

Working on these transformational projects, Edward is really addressing the key challenges in our business and identifying new ways to grow – like he has himself via his career move from consultancy to in-house.

On this journey, what has he found unique about M&S and why has it been a great move for him?

“Despite the size of the firm and its structure, transparency is key. At M&S, one of our behaviours is to “talk straight” – and I felt it on Day 1. We have weekly townhalls where the leadership announces the performance for the previous week, where our focus should be and what is happening around the M&S Food world – new products, amazing marketing releases and many others. What people might not be aware of is the fact that M&S isn’t a ‘supermarket’ which simply buys and sells products, it is place where innovative and delicious food products are created from scratch and marketed in the best possible way to create the magic around the M&S brand.”

“What really makes M&S unique and attractive is that colleagues are very passionate about their jobs, the ongoing transformation plan but most importantly about the iconic brand that is M&S Food. It is dynamic, collaborative and fast-paced and there is a pride working for this brand, which creates an amazing energy throughout the company.”

Think you have what it takes to join us here at M&S Food as we continue on our business wide transformation journey? Take a look at our current roles.