BBA Management – Lancaster University
Chris joined the graduate programme in 2010, after a sandwich year placement with the company.
“As part of my degree I spent a year with Rolls-Royce before applying for the graduate programme. This meant I already had a pretty good idea of what the company was like when I reapplied. I was based within the Purchasing team which saw me working as a Commodity Buyer for two of the Supply Chain Units. The experience opened my eyes to just how complex and important the buying process is. It also became apparent that Rolls-Royce’s purchasing function was at the very cutting-edge of global supply chain management. By joining the programme, I knew I’d be learning from the best.
“Because I’d already spent quite a bit of time with the purchasing function, my overseas placement came sooner than most. After just five weeks I jetted off to Oslo to work in Global Indirect Purchasing. That was for the company’s Marine business. It was an incredible experience both personally and professionally. It also reinforced the diverse and cosmopolitan nature of Rolls-Royce. As well as native Norwegians, I was working alongside Swedes and Brits. My direct manager was Chinese Canadian. This is a global company in every way.
“I’m really excited about my next placement. I’m going to be the Technical Assistant to the Chief Procurement Officer; who manages the entire function. It’s my first substantive role and it will involve lots of new and exciting responsibilities. I’ll be writing his speeches, attending senior meetings with suppliers and organising our presentations at big events – like the Farnborough and Paris air shows. Considering I’m still only 23, it’s a pretty high-profile role. I doubt many other companies would give me that kind of responsibility at such an early stage.
“One thing I love about the Rolls-Royce scheme is that graduates are seen as a real asset. Not only are we young, ambitious and hard working we’re also a free resource; as we don’t figure in departmental budgets. This makes us ultra-desirable to managers. Make a name for yourself, and you’ll soon find that they’ll be trying to poach you over to their departments. The senior managers here are also surprisingly approachable. You can book half-hour in their diaries just to talk about your career. The culture is extremely supportive.”