Rob Day

University of Nottingham, '18

It’s not good to be, as Pink Floyd would say, “another brick in the wall,” yet when arriving for his first interview at MBI, Robert Day learned that a simple wall can send a powerful signal. “As you walk into reception, on the right-hand side there is a wall full of the people who have been at the company for 5 or more years. Some employees had been there for over 30! This struck me as a good sign – if everyone stays this long, they must be doing something right.” The interview was “very laid back, which instantly put me at ease. It was more conversational and getting to know me as a person, to see if I would be a good fit for the company. Some of the other interviews I had at other companies felt like an interrogation!”

This was not the first indication that MBI might be what he was looking for after graduating from the University of Nottingham. “I knew I wanted to get into Marketing, and specifically business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing. I went along the usual routes of applying to large graduate schemes like P&G, Unilever, Marks & Spencer, PepsiCo and Tesco. Upon progressing through the various rounds of interviews and assessment centres, I began to have my doubts whether the blue-chip companies were all they were cracked up to be for a recent grad. I wanted a job where I felt I could make noticeable change and take ownership of the changes I make, not be a small cog in a massive machine”… or, as it were, another brick in the wall.

When a graduate recruiter contacted Rob about MBI, “I realised that this was the company for me, which allowed me to make decisions that truly impacted the business. This kind of responsibility is often seen in much more senior jobs in other companies, so this really stood out as a great opportunity.” Within weeks, a new Product Manager “is given responsibility for a small part of the business to run. This entails everything you would expect – new product development, marketing plan writing, post-campaign analysis, product strategy, stock management, liaising with suppliers, managing customer expectations… the list goes on. So I could get fully immersed in a part of the business.”

Walls have doors and MBI’s open-door policy “means anyone can walk into anyone else’s office if their door is open. This sounds a simple rule, but it is invaluable – I can ask my manager or a fellow Product Manager a question whenever they are free, or even ask one of the Managing Directors a question about how they would tackle a situation that has arisen. This open and flat hierarchy has meant that I can really grow and thrive by learning from some of the skilled hands in the business. There is a tremendous amount of support from managers and colleagues which helps you every step of the way. Nevertheless, you're accountable for the performance of your products.”

Fortunately, Rob has always loved to keep busy. “I threw myself completely into University life, joining four societies and a sports-team. This often meant my life was very hectic, and similarly, the role as a Product Manager requires you to multi-task and spin multiple plates at once. This can be challenging at times, and requires a cool head to deal with situations which crop up. But managing my studies, societies, sports and social life at University certainly helped!” That was also useful training for his present role: “Currently, I am working with suppliers in the Far East to develop some brand-new product ideas with the Product Development Team, which can be a long process.”

“I am making an easy-to-use spreadsheet for all parties to reference to keep key projects ticking over smoothly. We are working on projects to commemorate the end of World War Two – so we have a tight deadline in order to capitalise on the marketing opportunities around this anniversary.”  Like all managers, he finds that no two days at MBI are alike. “One day I could be negotiating price and lead times with a supplier in a foreign country, another day I could be proposing to expand a successful product and justifying why I think we should invest more in the product. From managing stock in the warehouse to deciding the future direction of my part of the business – every day is different!”

At the end of each day, though, Rob’s greatest reward is “being held accountable for many the successes in my category, and therefore being a valued contributor to the overall business’ success. When managing my first big product, my department and I were very hopeful this product would be ‘a hit,’ but as our customer base is very unpredictable, we could never be sure. When we launched the product, we all were waiting with bated breath whilst the orders started to come in… and it was a huge success! We were inundated with orders from customers, and started plans to market the product across various channels. This is what drives me and my job satisfaction – being able to say ‘I just made £XXXX for the company today.’”

“When you get to see the orders come in for the product you have been working really hard on, or when you first get a sample of the product you have been designing with the Product Development Team, there is a real sense of achievement as you can see the tangible results that you have made happen.” Of course, the end of the work day doesn’t necessarily end Rob’s association with his colleagues: “I’m part of the social committee, working to engage all members of staff and to run events smoothly. We are currently working on the Christmas social, which is set to be a big night! A few of us also go out for drinks and sample some of London’s finest cocktails on a Saturday night.”

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Surrey

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