Tiernan Lean Kraft Heinz Graduate

Tiernan Lean

Management Trainee – National Account Executive
Tiernan studied Master of Arts with Honours in Politics at The University of Edinburgh

What's your job about?

Kraft Heinz is all about food. From beetroot and freshly squeezed orange juice to baby food and variety sauces, everything we do here is about providing customers with quality products that we can be proud of. Currently my areas of responsibility include helping to manage the Business Development channel. As a channel, BD is focussed on emerging retail accounts. Our current portfolio includes ALDI, Costco, Pharmacy, 7-Eleven, as well as other Petrol and Convenience stores. On a day to day basis I am managing our range of brands and products within these stores. A large part of this role involves scoping out new opportunities for us to grow into. From securing extra ranging for our branded offerings such as Golden Circle, Heinz and Kraft to winning a contract for manufacturing beetroot or baby food. Not limited to mere selling, working in BD allows me to combine aspects of marketing alongside work with the supply team as well as the product research and development functions. Through these interactions I am involved in new product launches. I am able to work through all the stages in the process, from ideation to launch. Working in BD has been an invaluable experience.

What's your background?

I was born in Thailand to a Scottish father and a Thai mother. I was raised in Bangkok before moving to Scotland at the age of 10. I went to school in Scotland, in a small town outside of Edinburgh, before my family moved to Perth, Australia when I was 14. Pulling the short straw, I stayed in the UK to finish school. After which I spent a year living and working as a rugby coach in western Sydney. Having not had my fill of Scottish summers, I moved back to the UK to attend the University of Edinburgh where I read Politics for four years. Throughout this time I was going back and forth between the UK and Australia. By the time I had graduated from university I had had an eclectic mix of experiences, both personal and professional. I spent a couple of summers working for a mining company looking for gold and copper outside of Meekatharra in rural Western Australia. From the vast expanse of the outback to working on a Ferris wheel in Edinburgh I’ve had varied experiences and before moving back to Australia after graduation, I lived and worked as a teacher in Raipur, India for 6 months. Moving to Melbourne in the June of 2016, I did my fair share of couch surfing before I started as an Intern for Kraft Heinz that August. I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve spent in Melbourne and look forward to my future with the company.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely. Working in my role requires quick thinking alongside strong interpersonal and organisational skills. Skills which have nothing to do with studying Politics.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Two things. Firstly, experiencing a blend of working with both customers and internal stakeholders on a daily basis. Secondly, walking into a store and seeing a product you’ve been involved in creating on the shelves.

What are the limitations of your job?

My role does bear a lot of responsibility and weekdays are jam packed. Scoping out new areas of business, and how to partner with stakeholders there, without previous frames of reference can throw up challenges that are unexpected.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Do things – it can be anything, from playing Quidditch, joining the hiking club to volunteering at a food bank every week. Either way, stay active, try new things and invest in yourself.
  • Work, beg, borrow or steal. Whatever it takes, travel as widely as you can when you haven’t got anything holding you back.
  • Go to lectures. Engage with your course. In the grand scheme of things 10 hours of lectures and tutorials a week isn’t back breaking. I tried my hardest to prove that it was.