Grad Profile: ‘Take your time and explore all of your options’
Maude O’Sullivan is a graduate area manager at Aldi
Maude O’Sullivan: ‘The most valuable thing that I have learned since joining the workforce is that planning and organisation are key to being successful at work and in maintaining a good work-life balance.’
Tell us about yourself, where you’re from and what you studied at college?
“I studied a BA in arts (Irish and new media) at the University of Limerick. I finished my studies in Queen’s University Belfast in 2015, where I graduated with an MSc in management.”
How did you find out about the programme?
“I was initially attracted to the level of responsibility and autonomy that Aldi gives to graduates. As well as this, I loved that Aldi invested in their people, not just by providing a clear and structured overview of the year ahead, but by continuing to support learning through a comprehensive suite of training courses. My role as area manager is very diverse, with an array of various deadlines.”
What was your graduate programme like?
“The thing that I found most challenging about the working world was finding a way to ensure that I completed everything that I needed to do, in the correct time frame. This was a big change, where missing deadlines could fundamentally impact on a store, department or the overall customer experience. I received huge support by my mentor who was assigned to me on my very first day. He was there at every step of my training to support and offer encouragement throughout my year of learning.
“There is a fantastic team of area managers with various different backgrounds and lengths of service. If ever I need advice I can always ask a colleague. Although I have been in the company for three years, from time to time things crop up that I may be unsure of or have not experienced before and having people you can talk things through with makes for better decision-making. I think that’s what makes Aldi so different as an organisation – everyone looks out for each other and wills each other to succeed.”
What is the biggest thing you have learned since joining?
“The most valuable thing that I have learned since joining the workforce is that planning and organisation are key to being successful at work and in maintaining a good work-life balance. Work-life balance is hugely important. When you are responsible for a multimillion euro area, it’s vital to ensure you have the necessary down time; a chance to recharge and clear your head so you can bring your best to your people when at work.
What advice do you have for graduates applying to the programme this year?
“The advice I would give to graduates would be when choosing a career path, take your time and explore all of your options before making a decision. Consider past experiences and use the internet to research career options that may be of interest to you. I would encourage graduates and students to speak with people in careers that interest them and perhaps try getting some work experience in that area. Choosing a career is an important decision and should be made based on a person’s own preference, not that of others around them.