‘I learn something new every week on the job’

Graduate profile: Nicola McGloughlin, Area Manager, Aldi

Tell me about yourself

I’m from Co Cork, and I studied food marketing and entrepreneurship at University College Cork. It was really interesting because it combined food business and science and a bit of retail management in it as well.

How did you find out about the graduate programme?

I was talking to a few different area managers and it just sparked an interest in me. It sounded like something I would really love. I knew then from reading about it that it was for me.

Tell me about what the graduate programme is like

You spend a bit of time shadowing an area manager for the first two weeks. Then from that, you work your way up from store assistant to store manager, which is really important because as area manager you really need to know the business. So you learn it from the ground up. Then after that then, you get trained in all aspects [of the business].

It’s excellent because there are so many opportunities for your progression. It allows you, as a graduate, to forge a senior career as a manager from the first day you start. There is a huge level of responsibility at the outset, and once you complete your training, you are essentially responsible for the management of two to three Aldi stores. It’s a huge level of responsibility.

What is the work like?

I’m starting my second year in September. I look after four stores in the Cork city area and I absolutely love it. Now that I’ve finished my training, I’m still doing something different every day. I learn something new every week on the job, there’s always something new that I haven’t come across.

Where do you want to work after the programme and why?

My plan is to remain in Aldi as an area manager. My contract is permanent now and I’m absolutely loving the job. My plan is to stay here and continue to develop in my role. There is plenty of opportunities to get involved with various projects that are being prepared across the company, and so you can do that as well as looking after your area.

I really like how varied the role is. I’m never bored. I visit my stores every week, I need to do floor walks, and I meet my store managers, but there are still some things that will be new to me and I can continue to learn and develop every day.

What would your advice be to prospective graduates who are thinking of applying to the programme?

There is a lot of information and resources on the website. I spent a lot of time looking at that and I think it gives a lot of insight into the company. So you should absolutely utilise the resources available to you.

The application process is difficult, and there is a lot involved in it, but it is a detailed process and that is quite reflective of everything we do in the business. The best thing you can do is be yourself. An application is as much about you trying to get a job, but also about you making sure the job is right for you.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times