‘Make the most of every opportunity’

My Career Path: Kate Forde, trading manager, formerly of Musgrave Graduate Programme

Kate Forde: “Being part of a graduate programme does open up a huge amount of opportunities.”

Kate Forde: “Being part of a graduate programme does open up a huge amount of opportunities.”


What/where did you study, and when did you graduate?

I spent four years in UCC studying food marketing and entrepreneurship. I graduated and joined the Musgrave Graduate Programme in 2015.

What attracted you to your current role/ company/ path?

I come from a farming background so I have always had a love of food and an interest in the food industry. Having had exposure to it from such a young age, I knew that it was a field I wanted to work in. During my time in UCC, I got exposure to many different aspects of the food industry. From there, I developed a keen interest in the retail and the commercial aspect through a six-month placement – my first real exposure to trading. Coming from a rural background, I would have always been familiar with Musgrave and how rooted they are in local communities. When I was coming out of college and looking for my next step, it was that involvement in and support of the local communities that really set Musgrave apart from the rest.

What did you find most challenging about the working world, or the transition from education to the working world?

The most challenging thing about the transition is probably the change in pace. College tends to be very structured whereas in the working world every day is completely different. Particularly in the food industry, the pace of change is incredibly fast. It can be daunting for those coming into their first job but it is also exciting and is one of the things I enjoy most about my role.

Do you have any mentors? If so, what is their value to you?

During my time in Musgrave I have had the opportunity to work with some excellent managers. Each one has been invaluable in steering and supporting me in my development. They have helped me to build a strong foundation for the rest of my career but have also pushed and challenged me to continually develop and learn. When you are just starting out on your career path, this level of support is extremely important.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned since you joined the workforce?

Being able to adapt to new situations and opportunities. Since I have joined the workforce, I have worked across two different markets and many different teams. The most valuable thing I have learned is to be able to adapt to each of these changes and use the skills and experience you gain from each to continue to grow and develop.

One piece of advice for new graduates?

I would say to make the most of every opportunity. Being part of a graduate programme does open up a huge amount of opportunities. It also creates an environment that is focused on your learning and development. It is important to make the most of each of these opportunities. Take the learnings from everything you are involved in to build on your skills.