One of our MSc Innovation and Technology Management students attended a presentation by Mars, and here is what he found out…
The easiest way to a student’s heart is giving them freebies. So, it was undoubtedly a perk going into a lecture theatre only to see countless free sticks of Extra chewing gum, Starburst sharing packs and Skittles. Turns out these are actually just a few of the many brands under the Mars umbrella.
Mars is a diverse, global business, which owns nine key brands in chocolate, confectionary and pet food sectors – worth more than $1bn globally. Surprisingly, pet care is their biggest segment. Operating in 78 countries, with $35bn in sales, Mars associates are geographical mobile and have the opportunity to experience different countries and cultures. Three Mars associates came to speak to The University of Bath to tell students about graduate their opportunities, and why they believe their business is inspiring and unique.
Mars emphasise employees are not staff, but rather associates. All 80,000 of them work with Mars - not for them. All associates are partners and stakeholders. It started, and still remains, a family owned business; making it a different place to work than other firms. Founded by Frank Mars in 1947, his objective was ‘’to manufacture and distribute food products in a manner that promotes mutual benefits amongst our stakeholders’’. Because it’s a privately-owned company, they have the freedom to reinvest profits as they see fit or in the business. Earnings don’t go to shareholders whose main incentive is profit, but rather they are able to focus on their associates’ well-being and their brand health.
Mars is a business which puts great emphasis on its internal values. In fact, the first thing the team of visiting Mars associates did when they introduced themselves was tell students what their core values were. The five Mars principles governs everything in their business, from the way associates work with each other to their relationships with suppliers. These are quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency and freedom. A top interview tip is to bring up these core values with the interviewer; it really is what they live and breathe! Think about how you can relate your core values back to these five principles, and what they mean to you. They unite the company across the world, and use each of them to grow in a way they’re all proud of.
Divisional teams have few hierarchies – in fact, there’s only eight until you’re on top! Because it’s not a bureaucratic company, as a graduate you’re given a lot of responsibility and have the ability to influence change. Teams are often small, meaning associates are equally valued and they’re able to focus on the collaboration between them. They focus on personal development and encourage associates to move across segments; building knowledge and expertise. They also encourage you to work globally, as this a great opportunity to build a new network and work abroad.
There are many associates which believe Mars is a truly unique place to work. It has a special formula to recruit ‘’really special people’’ and are able to capture this magic to bring out the best in people. You only have to look at their Instagram page to see that there are numerous events they’re proud to take part in. As associates, you are invited to attend these - whether it’s an award ceremony or a gay pride march. Mars pride themselves on their sustainability principles and take responsibility for their environmental impact. They focus on their social responsibility and how they affect the world; requiring associates to take two days per year to volunteer.
So, if you’re interested in working for a company which is consistently ranked as one of the top ten UK companies to work for, there are current graduate vacancies on offer. Graduate schemes offer a competitive starting salary of up to £32,000, with 33 paid days of holiday. The schemes involve Personal Development Programmes; frequently meeting with your managers and reviewing how you can develop as an individual.
They have opportunities across sectors – all of which are three years long. At each year end, you will have a panel review of your successes and learnings before moving onto a different segment within the division. They’re designed to give you a breadth of experience and offer a rotation to placement in another country. Broken down and simplified, the graduate schemes are as follows:
- Mars Leadership Experience is a people management centre scheme.
- Mars Finance Leadership Experience works with managing internal finances. It’s designed to support you in the CIMA qualification.
- Mars Procurement Leadership Experience deals with sourcing ingredients, and how to build strategic relationships with suppliers.
- Mars Engineering Leadership Experience gives you an opportunity to experience both engineering and managerial roles.
- Mars R&D Programme is fairly similar to engineering; working to bring R&D ideas to life.
Whilst they’re not currently offering summer internships, they do encourage you to apply to international Mars offices which offer them.
Mars are looking for a broad spectrum of personal qualities. Not only should you be on course for a 2:1 or above, but be able to deliver through others. They want you to be keen to develop yourself and have a collaborative mind-set – whether that’s personally or in a business context.