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University of Melbourne
Management Trainee – Sales
Jonathan Duncan, B. Arts / Juris Doctor, The University of Melbourne, 2015
What's your job about?
L’Oreal is the world’s leader in beauty and is known for a wide variety of brands across the consumer, luxury, and professional product spheres. As a Management Trainee, I have the opportunity to experience three 6-month rotations in different areas of the business. I am currently part of a Sales team responsible for a supermarket account. We work with the retailer to help grow their business by ensuring its consumers have the best access to some of the L’Oreal Group’s great brands.
In particular, I am focused on the Cosmetics and Skin categories. My daily work includes assisting the retailer to make sure in-store promotions run smoothly, as well as providing all the necessary information about new product launches and any Point of Sale in-store.
Within the Sales team, I am also responsible for running promotional analysis to identity where L’Oréal Australia can improve and maximise its sales performance. This analysis can range from sorting through weekly sales figures to visiting stores to see how promotions look from the consumer’s perspective.
What's your background?
I was born in the United Kingdom and moved out to Australia just as I was starting school. When I was 16, I moved to Singapore and completed my secondary education at an international school. Following this, I returned to Melbourne for university, where I studied Arts and then Law.
While I briefly worked at a law firm during University, my aim was to ultimately be part of a large multinational company like L’Oreal. I think this was probably due to my experiences living overseas while growing up – I saw the opportunities that are possible in a global company, and I loved the idea of working on brands that are known all across the world.
When I finished my degree, I applied for the Management Trainee program through the L’Oreal Australia website. I then participated in a group interview at the Head Office in Melbourne, followed by two separate one-on-one interviews.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Absolutely! My background demonstrates that L’Oreal Australia recognises the skills required for the Management Trainee program are more than those you learn at University.
While these skills are important, the role often requires you to take on tasks you have never done before, and success depends on how you can work with different types of people. Above all, I think what is required is a passion to learn new things and a positive attitude when faced with new challenges. These are characteristics anyone can have. And while I do have two sisters, my knowledge of beauty products was somewhat limited before joining L’Oreal Australia, so do not let that discourage you!
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The coolest part about my job is knowing that I have a very practical impact on how L’Oreal Australia is represented in the marketplace. When I walk into a supermarket during the week, I know immediately what L’Oreal products should or should not be on sale. This is because ultimately I was part of the team that made it happen. The retailer would not have made the decisions they did unless our team worked alongside them to ensure all parts of the promotion were approved.
What are the limitations of your job?
The limitations of the job are that there are always new challenges, which means mistakes do happen and this is not always easy to accept. Plans can change from week to week… even from day to day! Therefore, it is a role that requires a lot of energy and a lot of flexibility. It is fast paced and someone who does not like that environment would possibly find the role stressful.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
1. Don’t be afraid to try new things – often the experience can be very different from what you might think.
2. Think about what you are really interested in – this is probably what you will be best at in life.
3. Stop worrying about grades – there are more important things in life!