Dr Chris Thorogood

Report
WORKING IN PRODUCT DESIGN FOR A
MULTI-NATIONAL FMCG: MARS
CHRIS THOROGOOD
AGENDA
My background – how I moved from academic research to FMCG
How I got the job
A day in the life
Challenges
Transferable skills from research in academia
FMCG vs academic research. Compare and contrast
Career opportunities
How to apply
AGENDA
My background – how I moved from academic research to FMCG
How I got the job
A day in the life
Challenges
Transferable skills from research in academia
FMCG vs academic research. Compare and contrast
Career opportunities
How to apply
•PhD then 1 year of Postdoc in plant molecular biology
•Decided to move to industry, thought about which
companies I wanted to work for
AGENDA
My background – how I moved from academic research to FMCG
How I got the job
A day in the life
Challenges
Transferable skills from research in academia
FMCG vs academic research. Compare and contrast
Career opportunities
How to apply
•Applied for role as Product Innovation Scientist
at Mars, working in the Petcare segment (direct
entry)
•Numeracy testing
•Telephone interview
•Assessment day and interviews
AGENDA
My background – how I moved from academic research to FMCG
How I got the job
A day in the life
Challenges
Transferable skills from research in academia
FMCG vs academic research. Compare and contrast
Career opportunities
How to apply
•Main meal and Care & Treats
• A three-site, multi-technology European business
• Care and Treats as a business segment is growing –
Mars owns leading brands in each category
•An expandable business area (shows year on year
growth) so interesting and exciting to work in!
THE ROLE: GENERAL DESCRIPTION:
Accountable for the delivery of innovation projects
to launch multi million euro sub-brands from
development of concept to launch for a
multinational FMGC.
Contribution to the renovation and innovation of dog
and cat treats under reputable mainstream brands
including Pedigree and Whiskas.
Working extensively across a three-site, multitechnology European business, developing
complex innovation projects and collaborative
relationships at an international level.
THE ROLE: KEY SKILLS
Product design: developing concepts from design
(front end innovation) to execution with precision and
at pace.
Solving complex technical problems relating to cooker
extrusion and baking technology on an industrial scale
from the Pilot Plant to the Factory.
Understanding how to legally substantiate claims to
drive sales volumes (and write legal dossiers)
Actively developing collaborative relationships across
European sites to deliver cross-functional large-scale
projects.
KEY ROLES I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO
WORK IN:
1. Product Designer in a highly successful innovation
project to deliver a new multi million euro sub-brand sold
in all major retail multiples in the UK, and later rolled out to
European markets; overcame significant technical
challenges to deliver a new product at precision and at
pace.
2. Technical Leader for an innovation project to develop
new SKUs for UK markets, involving scaling up concepts
from Pilot Plant to Factory across two European sites.
3. Co-piloted a concept development programme involving
front-end innovation with the Central Marketing team;
launched a concept development project to populate the
business’s innovation pipeline with future projects.
An example of a project in Product
Design at Mars
•Worked within a team to develop a new
mainstream brand called “Misfits” – a new brand in
the marketplace, now in all major retail mults
•Worked closely with Marketing team to establish
the business need, the Finance team to produce
P&Ls, and the Activity (Project management)
teams to make sure deliverables were time-bound
•Developed the products in Hungary – involved
factory trials using cooker extrusion technology
AGENDA
My background – how I moved
from academic research to
FMCG
How I got the job
A day in the life
Challenges
Transferable skills from
research in academia
FMCG vs academic research
Compare and contrast
Career opportunities
How to apply
•5 products launched in UK
markets in 2011; rolled out
to European markets in
2012.
AGENDA
My background – how I moved from academic research to FMCG
How I got the job
A day in the life
Challenges
Transferable skills from research in academia
FMCG vs academic research. Compare and contrast
Career opportunities
How to apply
MISFITS – the
challenges
Conflict of interest challenges – conflicting
success mechanics across sites
Communication challenges – working in a factory
which operates in another language; cultural challenges
MISFITS – the rewards
Business acumen – understanding how
your work ladders into the business
Navigation through the organisation –
working across teams, sites and functions –
great for personal development
Project completion – seeing a product
you have designed and manufactured
on shelf in major mults
Working in another country
and learning about new
challenges
AGENDA
My background – how I moved from academic research to FMCG
How I got the job
A day in the life
Challenges
Transferable skills from research in academia
FMCG vs academic research. Compare and contrast
Career opportunities
How to apply
• Problem solving systematically – from the
lab to the factory
• Quantitative analysis
• Attention to detail – whilst understanding
how the detail ladders into the bigger picture
• Dealing with ambiguity and driving projects
forward to completion
AGENDA
My background – how I moved from academic research to FMCG
How I got the job
A day in the life
Challenges
Transferable skills from research in academia
FMCG vs academic research. Compare and contrast
Career opportunities
How to apply
PROs
• Secure employment and fairer career opportunities –
doesn’t feel like a lottery anymore.
•Great emphasis on personal development - highly
transferable to any business.
• Feel looked after by a company – benefits (gym, private
health care).
• Leave work at work, don’t take stresses home as much
• Sense of collective achievement – much more of a
cooperative working environment.
CONs
•Can be scary having the responsibility of looking after multi
million dollar brands – risks are higher and mistakes are
bigger!
• Travel over extensive periods can be tiring as well as
rewarding.
AGENDA
My background – how I moved from academic research to FMCG
How I got the job
A day in the life
Challenges
Transferable skills from research in academia
FMCG vs academic research. Compare and contrast
Career opportunities
How to apply
•Opportunities include (1) Direct entry or (2) Grad scheme.
•Direct entry has benefit of staying in a single site & more in
depth knowledge of a particular topic.
RDP Format is 3x8 month placements run across Choc and
C&T (2 placements at one, 1 at the other).
Applications are open now and deadline is November
1st. Candidates should visit www.mars.co.uk/graduates to
apply. Face to face interview rounds are from mid to the end of
November. Offers will be made within 48 hours of the
assessment centre. We are looking to take on 4-5 RDP’s this
year.
•Entry requirement: 2:1 degree in Maths, Chemistry, Physics,
Engineering or another Physical Science (e.g Materials
Science) or Biological Science (e.g Biology) + 300 ucas points.
Any Questions?

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