Where can the Brakes Finance Graduate Programme take you?

Where can the Brakes Finance Graduate Programme take you?

Friday, 2nd of November

Where can the Brakes Finance Graduate Programme take you?

Meet Yasar, Finance Director at Brakes Group, who joined Brakes as a graduate...

What first attracted you to Brakes?

I grew up near a Brakes depot and the history and heritage with the Brakes brand really appealed to me. I absolutely love the story of the Brake Brothers and how they founded the company and then set the foundations for what it is today. When I looked further in to the finance graduate scheme I was really excited about the opportunity to rotate through various finance departments to gain the relevant experience aligned to studying towards a professional qualification.

Why did the FMCG sector appeal to you?

The FMCG sector is a very diverse sector and whatever degree you study, there are opportunities to gain employment and make an impact in the industry. I was excited about working in a fast paced and innovative sector which allowed the chance to work with the Brakes products as well as the biggest brands.

Where did you go to Uni and what did you study?

I studied Accounting & Finance in Leeds which was a 4 year sandwich course that allowed me to work in industry during my 3rd year. The opportunity to gain some experience as an under graduate was the main reason I chose this course and put me in good stead for the Brakes graduate scheme.

Did you have a game plan when you started on your degree and have you moved away from it?

No, managed to stick to it. The game plan was always to qualify as an accountant and I have been fortunate enough to have had the support from Brakes to be able to achieve this.

Tell us about your professional high points?

Promotion to Finance Director. I started as a finance graduate and moved through many departments and different areas of the business. I have worked  across many of the divisions including Brakes, Brake Logistics, Pauley’s, Fresh Fayre, Wild Harvest and now M&J Seafood. This has allowed me to gain valuable experience and knowledge of the businesses and along the way have built some fantastic cross functional relationships.

Do you have any professional regrets?

Yes, I would have loved to have spent a year working in Sales!

What are you most passionate about?

I am really passionate about people. I pride myself on being a people person and  I believe having a great team is key to helping drive any business forward. Personally, I am really passionate about my family. I love spending time with my daughter and brothers.

What career advice would you give to others?

Work hard and be yourself. Great opportunities will always come up, it’s just about the timing. When they do, embrace with open arms.

Who is the person you most admire at Brakes?

Difficult to single one person out so I will go with two; 1) Raj Tugnait CEO - Fresh Direct Group. Raj joined Brakes many years ago and started off in Sales for Country Choice and since then has worked in many senior roles in different areas of the business. I have complete admiration for the Journey Raj has been on and I personally think he is one of the best CEO’s I have come across and a huge asset to Brakes. 2) Mike Walker MD for Fresh Fayre, Wild Harvest and M&J. Mike is a fantastic leader and I have nothing but respect for what he has achieved at Fresh Fayre. He works very hard but also is a great family man.

If you were to choose another career what would it be?

Traffic Police – something about driving fast cars!

If you could rule the world for a day what would you change/do?

Fire Donald Trump, end world poverty, abolish the death penalty in all countries and relegate Manchester United to the Vauxhall Conference as I’m a big Liverpool fan! 

And now Vicki, Finance Manager at Brakes Group, who also joined Brakes as a grad...

What first attracted you to Brakes? 

The grad scheme offered the chance to rotate around Finance and gain experience in all areas.  As I wasn't sure exactly which area I wanted to work in, this offered a good chance to try out different departments and see which was the best fit. The grad scheme also offered study support and I was keen to achieve a professional accountancy qualification 

Why did the FMCG sector appeal to you? 

The FMCG sector is fast paced and dynamic. Working in the food industry particular appealed. Its really interesting how Brakes keeps up with the different food trends in the market and continues to produce innovative products that work for our customers. Its also good that we get to try some of the new food!

Where did you go to Uni and what did you study? 

I studied Management and Spanish at Lancaster University. It was a 4 year degree where I spent the first two years in Lancaster and the second two years studying in Madrid.

Did you have a game plan when you started on your degree and have you moved away from it?

No, I didn't have a game plan. I found I enjoyed the modules in my degree that were numbers based. Given this, I thought I'd enjoy a career in Finance. I did think that I'd use my language skills more in my career.  Sysco Europe does cover multiple countries but unfortunately for me, we don't have a large presence in Spain.

Tell us about your professional high points? 

I'm proud of the fact that I've worked in so many of different Finance teams and have a large understanding of the business.  Moving roles every 2-3 years is one of the reasons I'm still at Brakes 15 years on.  There is always a new challenge to face and more to learn. 

Do you have any professional regrets? 

No, apart from not using and forgetting most of my Spanish!

What are you most passionate about? 

Professionally - working with the business to drive real improvements and make sure we do the right thing for our customers. Its often easy to forget this when just looking at spreadsheets. Personally - I enjoy playing tennis, doing pub quizzes and spending time with friends/family

What career advice would you give to others? 

Say yes to any good opportunities that come up.  Its better to regret the things you're tried than the things you wish you'd done.

Who is the person you most admire at Brakes? 

This is a tricky one. Rather than one person, I'm probably avoiding the question by saying my current team. Its one of the best I've worked in, everybody is willing to share advice and help each other out during any tougher times. 

If you were to choose another career what would it be? 

Professional poker player.

If you could rule the world for a day what would you change/do? 

Redistribute global wealth, create world peace, make all drivers indicate properly and move Harry Kane & Kieran Trippier to Hull City.

Do you fancy seeing what the Brakes Finance Graduate Scheme has to offer? Check out the job description here and if you're interested, submit an application! 

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