Case Studies

Toby Cowan - Retail Business Manager (Corporate Scheme)

Company Name: Mitchells and Butlers

Location: Various

University: Manchester

Degree: English Literature and Sociology

I wanted to apply for a certain type of graduate programme. I was looking for a successful blue-chip company, which could offer me the best possible business and commercial training. However, I also wanted to work in an exciting and varied environment which would provide an opportunity for me to be mobile and would ensure I was doing different things all the time. Finally, I wanted to be afforded genuine responsibility from a very early stage.

I had enjoyed working in pubs and bars throughout my time at university and I always felt that they were interesting and exciting places to be. I was familiar with a number of the Mitchells & Butlers brands and so when I came across the Mitchells & Butlers Corporate Graduate Programme, I was immediately curious. I soon realised that this was a company who could offer me all the things which I was looking for.

I joined Mitchells & Butlers in October 2005 as a General Management Graduate and have since carried out a number of different roles within the business. The pub placement at the start of the scheme was great fun and gave me the opportunity to learn exactly how we operate at business level. I then moved to our Head Office in Birmingham and spent 2 months in the Finance Department, before spending 3-4 months at a time in Marketing, Human Resources, Risk & Compliance and Business Productivity.

During my time in Marketing, I was involved with the 2006 World Cup Marketing campaign across around 140 pubs. This role involved me liaising with Britvic and initiating and implementing a soft drinks incentive for the Managers of all the pubs in the brand. Whilst in my HR placement, I helped open two newly converted sites which were part of the recent Whitbread acquisition. I also carried out project work on kitchen capability across the Pubs and Bars division, focusing on the continued drive on food throughout the business. This culminated in me presenting my findings at the HR Executive in front of the Managing Director, HR Director and Divisional Directors.

I completed the scheme in 2007 and was appointed to my first role as a Retail Business Manager (RBM). As an RBM I am responsible for the success and profitability of around 15 pubs, working with the managers on a day-to-day basis and reporting to the Retail Operations Director. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the graduate scheme and am very excited about what the future may bring at Mitchells & Butlers


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