- Critical thinking – especially relating to problem-solving. You’ll encounter challenges and issues on a day-to-day basis and you need to be able to think of solutions quickly without compromising on ethics or quality.
- Presentation and communication skills – this will enable you to convey your message when presenting to executives or teams.
- Resilience – not every submission or business case will push through, but you need to accept the timing might not be right and move on. Go back, look at your numbers, find the gaps and try again.
Career success in FMCG
AN INSIDER'S GUIDE
Featuring: Angel Navarro / Filipina / Master of Business Analytics
Not everyone can say they get to go to work and experiment every day. But that’s been my experience working in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry over the past 13 years.
Looking at my early career, one thing I’ve always known is that I didn’t want a ‘routine-based’ job. I wanted dynamic customer-facing roles that would energise me. The FMCG industry offers that, and much more.
Working across the Philippines and Australia, with exposure to various products from Coca-Cola to fresh food, while navigating advancements in commerce and digital technology, has given me some insight into what it takes to build a successful career in this field.
Top skills for working in the FMCG industry
The nature of FMCG is that you’re working with goods that go out on shelves quickly. And it’s not just the products that move fast in this industry. The trends do too.
It’s incredibly faced paced and you need to be forward-thinking. In the fresh food space, for example, we’re always working to predict how consumers will buy things in the future. We need to stay on top of trends such as working from home, to be able to analyse how they might impact product design or distribution.
You also have to be a good collaborator. In my current role as national business manager for Woolworths at PMFresh, I work closely with our product development team to create new products. This requires a high level of organisation across various teams in innovation and packaging design.
The value in upskilling
After moving to Australia, I started my MBA at Kaplan Business School with a specialisation in digital management.
Everything is now online; whether you’re talking systems or marketing, you need to have that scale and distribution on a digital level. Observing how the FMCG industry had to evolve and adapt online during COVID-19, made me even more focused on the importance of this particular skill set.
Upskilling in digital management has helped me immensely as an account manager for Woolworths. For sales to grow we need to be digitally savvy, constantly responding to how customers are shopping online and developing strategies to make their experience more intuitive, seamless and rewarding.
Analytics is another key consideration. Through subjects like Real-world Business Analytics and Management I was able to ask questions like: how do we use the immense amounts of data available to us to innovate in the FMCG space? We currently rely on third-party agencies like Neilsen data and other digital management tools for raw data, but it’s critical to have the skills to interpret that data effectively and transform it into language that will add value to our key stakeholders.
During my MBA, the Careers Central service also helped me find and secure an Academic Internship as a marketing executive. It's an immersion experience I’ve always been an advocate of; it really built my confidence in nurturing relationships with clients which is a big part of my job today.
Taking your FMCG career to the next level
Having a passion for what you do and a driven attitude will get you far, but it’s important to reflect on areas in which you can grow and extend yourself to get the most out of your career. Here are a few top tips based on my own experience and career trajectory:
- Make yourself known
Sometimes it’s not about how long you’ve been in a role – your overall experience, potential and team’s support, can go a long way in enabling career progression. So I would say: make yourself seen. Be present in important meetings and make active contributions. You don’t have to revolutionise operations overnight, just show you can add value to what’s currently happening.
- Don’t settle for comfortable
Here I was lucky to be guided by a mentor and director I worked for back home. He pulled me out of sales and into a temporary assignment in marketing, despite my initial hesitation. Always staying in your comfort zone can come at the risk of missing out on learning opportunities that might add value to your overall skill set. In the end, doing stints in marketing, sales and commercial planner managing helped me to understand the big picture of business operations in the FMCG industry.
- Diversify your experience
Working across various markets, regions or roles can teach you how to think, handle and process different situations. By working in the Philippines and Australia I was forced to adapt to different sales and marketing platforms, which really grew my expertise.
- Stay agile
I’ve always encouraged continuous learning and development. If you want to move forward and grow your career you need to be clear about your goals. Find the gaps where you can develop, and hit those KPIs hard.