Rebecca Dunn
University of Exeter, '18

 

Few of MBI’s incoming Product Managers are as eminently qualified to assume a leadership role as was Rebecca Dunn. While at the University of Exeter, “I was part of the Officer Training Corps (OTC), a detachment of the Army reserve where you complete the first two out of four soldiering and leadership modules taught to reservist officer cadets at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. I attended regular military training sessions, and at the end of my three years I was appointed Platoon Commander, where I was in command of over 30 officer cadets. I also represented my unit in Army competitions playing a variety of sports such as netball, hockey and polo.”

So Rebecca was obviously no stranger to being a team player, and found the same quality abundant at MBI. “If I have a problem with anything, I know that I can always talk to my Product Director or even Managing Directors – every single person is more than willing to provide support no matter how busy they are. I work very closely with MBI US learning about successful products, different marketing techniques, and ways to approach business issues. I also work with many other departments within the UK, from Operations, to try and help smooth our processes, to Finance, to help ensure our suppliers are paid on time.” She got an early indication of this right from when she came in for her first interviews.

“Everyone that I was interviewed by was incredibly friendly and welcoming, from product managers to managing directors – every single person greeted me with the biggest smile. The interviews felt more like friendly conversations getting to know one another, rather than a one-way grilling. The interviewers were there to get to know me and my thought processes, not to scare me away. This just highlighted to me how approachable everyone would be, and that MBI truly is a ‘good place to work for good people.’” And while she finds every day at MBI filled with exciting new challenges, “having this endless support has really allowed me to thrive in countless opportunities.”

The term “well-travelled” also fits Rebecca like a glove. Whilst in Office Training, she went on “trips from skiing in Austria to rock climbing in Italy. From the first time I held a rifle to climbing mountains, I was pushed outside of my comfort zone and shown I could achieve more than what I believed. Trying to balance all my training alongside my other societies, Triathlon and Horse Riding, with my university studies and social life was extremely difficult. Prior to my start at MBI, I spent a month volunteering in Kenya. I participated in many activities, from building the foundations of a school to deworming the local populations’ livestock. It was a tough—however a beyond rewarding—trip.”

So she was ready for both the diversity and juggling skills needed in the role of a Product Manager, which “requires you to be organised and multi-task because you are constantly spinning many plates. I joined the Jewellery department in late September during the run up to Christmas – our busiest time! I embarked on a 3-week induction schedule, which not only introduced me to my responsibilities and my day-to-day job, but also allowed me to meet people from all over the business and understand how our jobs work collaboratively. My role involves writing marketing plans to ensure we are using the most successful channels, to writing the strategy of how to grow my businesses.”

Currently, Rebecca notes, “I am personally responsible for 4 businesses within our jewellery category: family, birthstone, women’s self-purchase, and and romantic jewellery. We are always facing a variety of issues and creative challenges that require you to think outside the box. An example was when one of my daughter products didn’t hit in our market, and I was suddenly faced with an abundance of inventory. I took the decision to re-position the product as a romantic piece, which consequently worked and therefore helped me reduce our inventory in a profitable manner. We are always looking for creative ways to extend a product’s life cycle, whether mixing up the marketing materials or re-positioning the sell, all of which involves a lot of critical thinking.”

Like most MBI managers, she finds her greatest reward in “the tangible results and the impact you can have as an individual. You are able to see how your hard work directly affects your businesses and MBI as a whole. Furthermore, having ownership of my own businesses is extremely rewarding, because their success is down to my hard work and provides a sense of achievement. I have been surprised by how quickly you take on a high level of responsibility. Although this is a little daunting at the start, MBI always seeks to provide constant support for their employees, which makes you feel more at ease with it, and there is continuous encouragement for development.”

“I have also been overwhelmed by the friendliness of the staff at MBI – every single person is interested in getting to know you and make you feel a part of the MBI family.” And, as with life in any well-rounded family, Rebecca finds that this one provides her with ample time for not only work but also play: “I am a member of our Entertainments Committee and regularly attend these events. I am thoroughly looking forward to our next event which will be Escape Rooms! I have been rock climbing a couple of times after work with other product managers. I also meet up regularly with colleagues for social drinks – it is certain to say that I have met friends for life.”

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