Job Title
Commercial ManagerName: Lee Robinson

Company: Robert McBride Ltd

Professional Qualification(s):
9 GCSE’s, 4 A levels, BA (Hons) Economics & Business Studies, Chartered Management Accountant

Degree studied at: 
Newcastle UniversityBrief job description. 
Commercial Manager – providing financial support and control to a sales and marketing function covering a huge array of customers, mainly for UK retailers

My career so far…
I was a graduate trainee with Nestle UK for 2½, years followed by 2½ years with Unilever as a market analyst. I joined my current post in May 2000.

What does your job involve in a typical day? 
I know that it is very cliched to say that no two days are the same but it is true. Essentially I like to start the day clearing out admin before the day gets busy. Then during the day I may be giving pricing advice to national account managers, attending product group meetings at manufacturing sites, authorising promotional activity, brokering terms with customers, costing new product opportunities, or really anything else which involves a calculator! Many people go home at around 5pm which gives me some more ‘quiet’ time to concentrate on the more nuts and bolts element of the job. On a weekly basis I like to meet with my staff and at least try to plan out the following weeks work and try to spend as much time as I can training with them.

What do like most about your job?
The fact that the industry is so demanding and dynamic means that my job focus has to change continually to keep up with consumers.

What skills are required in your job?
You need to think quickly and have the drive to put things into action. You need to be flexible, as in this industry the best laid plans……. Also as a management accountant, I need to be numerate.

How many people work for you?
Four people – all accountancy and finance based.

What is your advice to people looking for a career in the food and grocery industry?
In terms of financial careers, there is no better industry than FMCG, and even though not the best for pay (compared to banking), the job satisfaction is terrific.

Some of the best experience you will pick up will not necessarily be with the biggest companies.

Find out who makes or sells what to discover who you find intrinsically interesting. Ask friends and family (we are all consumers) about products they think are great and why.

The faster and more complex a business is, the better the experience you will pick up.