Case study

Jasveen Kaur Kular — Procurement analyst

Employer
Tesco

Jasveen graduated with a degree in Spanish and French with European Studies from the University of Bath before landing a role as a graduate procurement analyst for goods and services not for resale (GSNFR) operations at Tesco

Why did you decide on this career?

When exploring career options, I tailored my search around key interests such as retail, people, learning and development.

The Tesco Procurement Graduate Programme description met these criteria, as it highlighted that I would be negotiating, managing professional relationships, and agreeing contracts that make a difference to colleagues and customers.

Balanced with the fact that Tesco invests time into developing their graduates, I was confident that this was where I wanted to start my career.

How did you get your job?

I joined Tesco by applying for their Procurement Graduate Programme in my final year of university. I went through the various online stages of the application process (application form, games-based assessment and video interview), got invited to an on-site discovery centre, and was then offered the job.

There was a lot in the programme description that I hadn't necessarily had the opportunity to explore at university, but Tesco recognises this and invests into training their graduates to help them launch their professional career. Tesco now offers a generalist Business Graduate Programme, providing valuable hands-on experience in two different parts of the business, to maximise the opportunity to learn and develop skills.

What's a typical day like in your role?

As cliché as it sounds, no day is the same. It involves a combination of managing daily business partner/supplier relationships, alongside long-term project work.

My role is heavily dictated by the needs of the business. Often, I find myself juggling various projects to accommodate and align with timelines across several teams. Learning to prioritise, multi-task and adapt to change are only a few of the skills required daily within procurement, and Tesco has supported me to develop these vital employability skills.

Describe your job in five words.

  • Fast-paced
  • Exciting
  • Challenging
  • Rewarding
  • Topical

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

The responsibility. From day one, graduates can work on meaningful projects that really make a difference to the team and our customers. I've been given the opportunity to take ownership of my area, and have been trusted to make independent decisions, which has accelerated my professional development. Graduates are always provided with support from colleagues in a way that promotes critical thinking and autonomous decision making. As a result, I've found myself completing both routine and new tasks with confidence.

What are the challenges?

The retail market is fast-paced and constantly evolving, and the impact of this is felt not only at a top-level, but by all colleagues. Therefore, one of the challenges is learning to order and often re-order priorities as the needs of the business change. Consequently, time management is crucial to this role.

In what way is your degree relevant?

Building relationships and interacting with different people are what my degree and career have in common, and what drew me towards procurement initially. I had the confidence that my degree equipped me with the soft skills necessary for this role. Alongside the learning and development opportunities presented by Tesco, I knew I would have the opportunity to develop my hard skills, such as project management, negotiation, contract drafting and spend analysis.

What are your career ambitions?

I've had the opportunity to work closely with new technologies and explore how innovation and artificial intelligence can positively impact businesses. This is where my interest currently lies and so my ambition is to become a subject matter expert, by expanding my understanding of process-enabling technologies in the procurement space. I've been supported to explore different opportunities, to help me move into a role that will suit my strengths at the end of the graduate programme.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into procurement?

If you're looking to develop a well-rounded skillset that can be applied to several areas or industries, then procurement is a career path worth considering. The role has given me the confidence to see that whether I develop my career within or outside of procurement, I've got the necessary skills under my belt to do so. A role in procurement doesn't come without its challenges, and therefore being open minded and adaptable to change is a must, but it will ultimately be a hugely rewarding experience.

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