My name is Anna and I am the Commercial Manager over at Covent Garden Marks and Spencer.

I completed the graduate scheme about three years ago now. I am just coming into my third year. I have been in lots of roles. My first role was service commercial manager at the King's Road store. I then went into GM commercial manager and moved to foods at Covent Garden.

My role at Covent Garden is now foods and clothing. I run the food hall and the clothing and share the responsibility through the week. My days are really varied and massively different, because I have got both departments. It can change within the hour. I will be running the food hall for half of my day, and then I will be walking around my GM managers for the rest of it.

There are massive opportunities for career progression at M&S. I have moved from a commercial manager role where I was only looking after one department, into a role where I am looking after half of the store. Going forward, I will be store managing in February, hopefully.  It will give me an opportunity to try something completely different. You can also branch off into all sorts of different roles. If you wanted to go into head office and you had a real passion for marketing or for anything within head office, then there are always opportunities for you to move.

I receive a lot of support with my ongoing development. There are lots of opportunities for me to go on training courses and for me to develop myself personally as well as developing people within the store. Obviously, my main job is ensuring that my team have got all of the access available to them so that they can fulfil their role. Within my personal development, I have got to drive that. It is my responsibility to ensure that my development happens. With the new development plan and career path, it gives us a massive opportunity to really show where our strengths and weaknesses lie. Within that, I can actually target my training so that I get exactly what I need out of M&S.

Where do I see myself in five years time? It could be anywhere. There are so many opportunities and there are so many different roles that I could have within Marks & Spencer. I suppose ideally it would be store managing a larger store.

I think that if any graduates are thinking about a career within M&S you need to make sure that you are passionate about retail. That is the biggest part of our job.  You have got to have a real love for it. There are benefits around the social aspect of developing a team and really having the opportunity to help someone‚Äôs career along the way. There are loads of fun aspects of it as well.  We all go out and we all have a real laugh as a team. I really enjoy it. That is all I can say.  I would not be doing it for this long if I was not really passionate about what I do. 


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