After spending six months working in-store, Carly Harris is currently two months into the merchandising rotation of the grad@Loblaw program at Loblaw Companies Limited’s head office in Brampton, Ont., where she’s working with the pork and sausage team in the meat and seafood department.
There she’s learning about the business of that department, as well as the various roles, such as category managers and merchants.
“I was attracted to the grad@Loblaw program because it really showed me that Loblaw was interested in seeing me succeed. They are committed to providing me with all of the tools, knowledge, and experience I need to excel within their company.”
—Carly Harris, Store Management Stream, grad@Loblaw
The Oakville, Ont., native earned a Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies degree last year from the University of Western Ontario and then jumped right into the grad@Loblaw program after graduation.
grad@Loblaw is an 18-month, paid rotational program that lets recent college and university grads see the company from different angles.
Grads work in the stores and merchandising department with a final placement in store management, or in marketing, merchandising, product development, quality assurance, supply chain, IT, human resources, corporate strategy, central operations or finance.
Keep reading for our full interview with Carly about her experience so far in the grad@Loblaw program and her future career with Loblaw.
Q. What do you currently do on a day-to-day basis in grad@Loblaw?
A. Following six months working in-store, I am currently completing my merchandising rotation of the grad@Loblaw program. For the three-month merchandising rotation, I was placed in the meat and seafood business unit to work with the pork and sausage team. I work closely with category managers and merchants on the team to learn about their roles in the business.
Now that I am two months into this rotation, I have taken on more responsibilities within the pork and sausage team, and am working more independently on tasks, such as reviewing weekly front page sales results. This relates very closely to my education because I am constantly analyzing reports like sales forecasts,and costing sheets.
Following my three-month merchandising rotation, I will be starting my destination rotation. Because I am a store management grad, my destination rotation will take place back at the store where I will work in a management role.
Q. Why did you choose to work at Loblaw?
A. I was attracted to the grad@Loblaw program because it really showed me that Loblaw was interested in seeing me succeed. They are committed to providing me with all of the tools, knowledge, and experience I need to excel within their company.
Q. What was your experience like when you first started grad@Loblaw?
A. I found myself surrounded by colleagues who were genuinely interested in teaching me the ins and outs of the business. During the first few months there was a steep learning curve where I was really able to take control of what I learned, while being very much supported by the grad@Loblaw program.
Q. What has surprised you the most about the retail industry and Loblaw?
A. I was surprised when I got to head office for my merchandising rotation and saw the many levels of ‘behind-the-scenes’ store support colleagues.
Click here to learn more about the grad@Loblaw program and other entry level opportunities at
Loblaw Companies Limited.
Q. What has been your most valuable experience at Loblaw so far?
A. Meeting hundreds of colleagues, from VPs and Directors to part-time store-level colleagues, has exposed me to a huge amount of valuable knowledge and experience that I could never have learned in a classroom.
Q. How do you see your career progressing in the near future with Loblaw?
A. I see myself being placed in a management role at a store in Ontario. I have been chosen for the general merchandise stream, which means I will be trained to become an expert in the general merchandise side of the store.
Q. What is one piece advice you have for students and new grads who are interested in starting their careers in the retail industry/with Loblaw?
A. Be a sponge. Always be ready and willing and open to accept all of the bits and pieces of knowledge that you can pick up from colleagues at every level of the business. The retail industry is fast-paced and people-oriented so be smart, positive and engaged always.
Q. Is there anything else we should know?
A. The retail industry is an incredibly complex world where you can combine all aspects of business: HR, finance, marketing, merchandising, operations, and the list goes on. No matter what you are interested in, this could be the place for you.
For a list of entry level opportunities for recent grads, visit Loblaw’s company profile on TalentEgg or www.loblaw.ca and click on ‘careers.’
Recruitment for the next intake for the grad@Loblaw program will begin in Fall 2011. To learn more, visit www.loblawgrad.ca and the grad@Loblaw Facebook page.