cropped-lgoo-1.png Business & Technology Management (BTM)

Our Senior Leaders share the secrets to success!

James Bruce – Executive VP Enterprise Solutions and Information & Analytics

  • Studied Economics at The University of Warwick

James was initially driven by the need to put a roof over his head, coming from a family of small business owners with limited success. His original aim was to work for a large company, gain experience and return the family business to profit.

What has made you stay with Unilever your whole career?

Having not set out with the intention of becoming a ‘lifer’ but new opportunities presented themselves as James excelled in each role he was given. The size of Unilever lends itself to an abundance of opportunity.

Read more “Our Senior Leaders share the secrets to success!”

abbie Business areas

Function insight into Marketing and Finance!

Megan Chadwick – UFLP Marketing

A little bit about me…

I am from a large, working class family in Gloucester (1 of 7 children). I studied Business & Marketing at Oxford Brookes because this offered an IP year. Even though I achieved 1st grade at university I feared I would not get a place on the UFLP because I did not go to a red brick university.

I have always wanted to work in the FMCG industry and spent my Industrial Placement year at GSK.

What inspired you to apply?

I was inspired by the brands and the gigantic selection. Unilever offers the opportunity to work in a global company, but with the ability to move around.

Read more “Function insight into Marketing and Finance!”

Maria and Paul Polman2 Business areas

6 months down the line: Maria Snowden, Finance IP

Hi, I’m Maria. I study economics at the University of Bath and am currently an IP on the Finance scheme.

My last blog post was about my experiences in Brand Development for Homecare, which involved business partnering a marketing team and working on everything from
business cases to brand strategies. Over the past few weeks I’ve transitioned from that role to working as part of a project team with external consultants to streamline our cost recovery process. It’s been a strange feeling joining a new team and feeling totally clueless all over again! I’m still based in our Global HQ in Central London, which is a really buzzing office to work in- not to mention being in a perfect location for socializing after work.
Read more “6 months down the line: Maria Snowden, Finance IP”

Maria profile pic Finance

Finance, it’s not just sitting in an office all…

Hi- my name’s Maria and I’m three months into my Industrial Placement in the Finance Function. I work in Brand Development for Homecare, which is a really exciting global role that gives me a first look at some of the newest innovations coming out of Unilever. I’ve already been given lots of responsibility after just a short while- including leading a Strategic Plan for the Living Hygiene brand in Household Care, updating the quarterly results scorecard for the Homecare VP and creating a cost model to identify potential for margin improvement.

It was pretty daunting coming in for my first day working in central London. However, I was soon put at ease since everyone in my team was so welcoming; my manager even took me for lunch on the rooftop terrace on the first day! Day to day it’s not just creating and updating spread sheets- I’m also having conversations with people all over the world about some of the key issues affecting the Homecare category. I’m constantly liaising with new people, learning about different aspects of management accounting and problem solving, which definitely keeps me on my toes.

But it’s not been all about finance- I’ve also done had some additional voluntary work towards Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan. In September, through Unilever I got the opportunity to spend a day with a fantastic charity called Fareshare, who distribute surplus food from supermarkets to places that really need it- including homeless shelters, rehab and community centres. We spent the day delivering food all over London and meeting the people who benefit from their work. You can see us below (I’m second from the left) enjoying a cuppa before we set off on a hard day’s work!

Maria Finance

I also contributed to Dove’s Self Esteem Project by delivering a body confidence workshop to a group of Year 8 students. It was a pretty nerve wracking experience- and a long way from the days at the office that I’ve been used to! But it was incredibly rewarding to see how well the kids responded, and we even got some freebies at the end of the day.

I’ll soon be rotating to a new role, so I look forward to seeing what the next few months will bring!

Alex Walton profile Finance

My first few weeks as a finance UFLP: Alex…

Hi everyone,

I’m Alex and I’ll be writing a few blogs on my time in the graduate scheme (UFLP) at Unilever. I’m on the Financial Management programme and I’m currently based in Leatherhead on my first placement. I thought I’d give you a bit of an insight into my first month at the company, and let you know what I’ve been up to and what you can expect when you get here!

Read more “My first few weeks as a finance UFLP: Alex Walton”

amelia 1 Business areas

My First 6 Weeks in Finance: Amelia Swan, SP

Hello – I’m Amelia and I’m on the Finance Summer Placement. I’m going into my final year at Durham in October. Here are my highlights so far, things I’ve learnt and what I’ve been working on…

Some highlights…

  • Free Ben and Jerrys
  • Finance Sports Day (Should have seen me win the bouncy hopper race)
  • Living in London
  • Team away day to the Escape Rooms
  • The view from the rooftop garden at the central London office
  • Discounted Shop (Definitely making the most of it)
  • Lots of freebies!
  • After work drinks and meals out

amelia 1

Photo of the winning team of our Finance Office Olympic Games (I’m in the middle!).

I honestly had no finance knowledge/experience before I started (I’m studying Biology and Anthropology). This has not mattered at all and I feel like those studying Finance/economics related degrees had no head start at all.

Finance is a very diverse function – I’ve had nothing to do with any accounting in my placement. I’m working in a centralised finance team that provides financial insights to the category teams (i.e. Hair, Skin Care, Tea etc) and to those teams working with the customers (Tesco, Boots etc). It’s interesting seeing the monthly figures behind brands I use all the time and how they perform compared to competitors.

12 weeks seems like ages but means you can get into the role and make a difference. It goes quickly as you’re so busy with a work plan set on day 1. Sounds daunting but it’s cool to be able to get stuck into your own projects and feel useful.

Things I’ve been working on…

  1. Creating a file that compares the shelf price of products against our key competitors which updates every week, in each Customer (Learning to love Excel).
  2. Creating an Information Pack for New Joiners in CD Finance.
  3. Helping with the monthly sales forecasting process.
  4. My ‘Plus 1’ – Arranging a ‘Durham@Unilever’ Afternoon – Entrepreneurs Durham Society are coming to Unilever for an afternoon in September to find out about the company and careers.

So far it’s been challenging, rewarding, fun, and a very steep learning curve! The weeks have flown by and I’m looking forward to what the next 6 weeks will bring.

Stuart Business areas

Why you should consider Finance: Stuart Hoddinott, UFLP

I am currently one year into starting working and it feels like I finished university yesterday. Finance seemed like the right option for me because out of all the functions at Unilever, it was the one that I felt the most relation to. My degree was in Economics but what you study has no impact on your ability to work in finance, Unilever accepts people with all sorts of background and they teach you what you need to know to succeed here.

My first placement was working as a Business Partner in the Global Deodorants team. This involved helping the marketing guys to make decisions from a financial point of view about some of the biggest projects they were hoping to launch in the near future. For a first role, it was fantastic. I got to work hands on with some Unilever’s brands and I learnt from the bottom up how major innovations come to market. On top of that I had the opportunity to work with a large variety of people from all across the world. An amazing experience is seeing an advert pop up on telly, or a product appear on shelf, knowing that you have worked on the business case for that product.

For my second placement, I have been sent to work in the European supply chain hub that is based in Schaffhausen. This means that I get the chance to live and work in Switzerland for 9 months! So far, it has been an incredible experience. One of the major pieces of work I have been involved in is helping to build the plan for the European supply chain in 2015. This is an amazing chance to see how planning happens in the supply chain and the way that Unilever places itself to become the market leader in supply chain. During the weekend, I get the chance to explore Switzerland and the surrounding countries and at the minute am waiting for snow to come so that skiing can begin.

One of the main reasons that I chose finance is because of the ability to see the widest range of the business possible. Finance touches every part of Unilever which means that you have the opportunity to work in every aspect of the company. I have given two examples, but you could also work with the sales teams, with the country marketing teams, with HR and so on. My two roles I have had so far couldn’t be further from one another and that is a great opportunity to learn as much about the business as possible. The culture in Unilever is unique as well. You are encouraged to learn and to take on responsibility as soon as you walk through the door. From what I can tell, the grad program here is pretty unique.

In terms of tips for applying for finance, I think it is important to show your enthusiasm for the function and an understanding of what role finance plays within Unilever. Good luck!

finance-2 Finance

Welcome IPSP Finance!

Welcome to our 2014/2015 Industrial and Summer Placement Finance students! Here they share with you their profiles, what attracted them to Unilever and top tips for future applicants:

Abbie-Thistlethwaite

Name: Abbie Thistlethwaite

University: Loughborough University

Course: Accounting & Financial Management

Function: Finance

Role Title: CD Finance Analyst, Tesco

What attracted you to Unilever?

The UFLP (Grad scheme) and free ice cream

Any top tips for future applicants?         

Know the brands and understand Unilever’s core competencies. It was also useful to understand that the company has a strong marketing focus, which was highlighted as a strength during my assessment centre.  Just be confident in your abilities!

Alex-Bick

Name: Alex Bick

University: Nottingham University

Course: Economics with French

Function: Finance

Role Title: ETS Finance Support- IT Geography

What attracted you to Unilever?

Initially, the prospect of working for a world leader in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry- a constantly evolving industry- was the main attraction to working at Unilever. Unilever’s global presence also offers a huge number of opportunities to work abroad, meet people from different cultures and travel within your work which appealed to me, as a keen traveller. I was attracted to the Finance role particularly because it offered a chance to add real value to the business and promised immediate responsibility at the start of my placement for personal growth in my work. In the second week of my placement, I was communicating with Unilever employees based across Europe, resolving issues with actuals that would make a real difference in next month’s reports. Working for a company that owns renowned brands like Ben & Jerry’s also has its perks!

Any top tips for future applicants?

Do your research! Know the real reason you want to work at Unilever, why working at an Fast Moving Consumer Goods company appeals to you and what attracts you to your chosen function.

Be yourself! Your assessors want to get the best out of you and find out if you are suited to the company. They want you to show your best side.

Matthew-Haughton

Name: Matthew Haughton

University: University of Oxford

Course: Mathematics

Function: Finance

Role Title: Unilever International Finance Analyst

What attracted you to Unilever?

So many things attracted me to Unilever! One great aspect of Unilever is that it is a truly global company with over 2 billion consumers using a Unilever product every day! Unilever has a huge variety of brands in its portfolio from Cif household cleaning products to Magnum ice creams.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Ensure that you understand Unilever’s Standards of Leadership as these form an important part of both the recruitment process and Unilever’s culture. It is very helpful to try and think of examples of experiences where you have demonstrated each of the five Standards of Leadership.

Romilly-Smith

Name: Romilly Smith

University: University of Edinburgh (& 1 year at University of California, San Diego)

Course: Social Anthropology and Politics

Function: Finance

Role Title: ROMI Finance Analyst

What attracted you to Unilever?

Opportunity to work for a Fast Moving Consumer Goods company with potential roles abroad.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Do not let your degree title put you off applying for any of the functions – it really does not matter in the assessment day, they just want to see how you think and whether you can be analytical in a general sense.