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Vanessa's Journey- From Distribution Graduate to Assistant Manager

Vanessa joined the Distribution grad scheme in 2016 and is now one of our talented Assistant Managers. She discusses what her journey has been so far...

You joined the scheme in 2016, how did it benefit your career within Harrods?

On the Graduate Scheme, I was exposed to the entire Distribution chain, ensuring that I had an understanding of the end to end process, all the way from stock arriving in TVDC, to selling the item on the shop floor. Not everyone has the opportunity to see each step of the Distribution journey, and this knowledge has been invaluable. Throughout the various areas I was placed in, and on the training courses I was enrolled in, I was able to build up a network of people across the entire business. This has been a great support both during the scheme, and even more so now in my new role.

What skills do you need to excel on the Scheme?

You need to have the confidence to join new teams and meet new people non-stop throughout the scheme. You also need to be able to adapt quickly as you will move around different areas of Distribution where different processes are used. But it is a great challenge.

What was your highlight of the Graduate Scheme?

From my shop floor placements, working in the Perfumery Hall for the Boxing Day Sale was definitely a highlight for me. It was hard work, and it was absolutely crazy, however, I learnt so much about working under pressure and it was one of my favourite days on the shop floor! My highlight from Distribution was one of my final placements, where I was able to work on a project that pulled together everything I had learnt from all my previous placements. I then presented the project to key stakeholders in the business, and it highlighted how much I had learnt!

What do you love about working at Harrods?

The people! You meet such a diverse group of people working across the entire store, working in retail and support roles, who have so much knowledge to share. I was also placed on a Management Programme where I worked alongside colleagues who were also passionate about progressing their career in Harrods.

"Everyone was so supportive and there is always a friendly face whenever you walk through the store!" 

What has your career progression been since finishing the Distribution Graduate Scheme?

After finishing the Graduate Scheme, I became the Assistant Manager for the Photo Studio. My team is responsible for processing the stock from the shop floor and warehouse to be sent to the Photo Studio to be pictured for Harrods.com. We then process the stock returned from the studio that is ready to go live onto the website, and send it back to the relevant departments across the store. As Harrods continues to grow online, my team are getting busier and busier, and it is an exciting role and team to be a part of. The exposure I had throughout the grad scheme set me up to succeed in this role, not only by teaching me the systems and processes but also by developing my management skills.

What advice would you give to new Graduates joining Harrods?

Learn as much as you can from every area that you are exposed to. There is so much to learn and not many people have the opportunity to work in every area of the Distribution chain, so you need to take advantage of this. 

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