00:16 Reckitt Benckiser are a consumer goods company
00:20 in the household, healthcare and personal care arena.
00:26 My job is quite varied and it tends to go quite cyclically with the year.
00:31 Because of the fact that different things happen at different points throughout the year.
00:36 At the moment we’re busy planning budgets.
00:39 A lot of that involves looking at different spreadsheets,
00:43 we’ve got a large budget for research and development globally
00:47 so we have to work quite closely with the finance teams to ensure that it’s allocated appropriately,
00:54 and that we can track it for the coming years.
00:57 We have to give presentations to senior management to ensure that they’re aligned with what we want to do with the money
01:04 and make sure that we have sufficient funds to do what we want to do for the coming years.
01:11 So it’s quite varied really, there’s work with Excel,
01:15 there’s work with PowerPoint, pulling together presentations and then a lot of meetings with people and discussions.
01:24 I started off working on Air Wick for a year,
01:26 in what we call the category, which is where you take a project from kind of the concept stage through to the launch.
01:33 After that I moved to the New Technologies Group,
01:36 which is more of a blue-sky type arena,
01:40 and then after that I moved to Germany for six months to work there
01:44 in the Auto Dish team
01:46 and that was in the scientific services group
01:48 which is more of a kind of research and development, liaison with the factory team.
01:54 After that I moved to the Veet team for a year on waxes development,
01:59 taking some products there through from the kind of concept stages towards launch
02:04 and then after that I moved into my current role which is finance and planning manager for R and D [Research and Development].
02:12 To work at Reckitt Benckiser on the graduate scheme for research and development
02:16 you only need to have a technical background.
02:20 We’ve got people who are zoologists, we’ve got people who are biochemists that have come in on that route.
02:26 It’s not essential that you necessarily have a chemistry background
02:32 but some technical knowledge for research and development is the important thing.
02:40 The key challenges are probably similar to a lot of organisations;
02:45 communication is a key challenge in ensuring that you’re communicating with the right people at the right time,
02:51 ensuring that you’re on top of your timelines as well,
02:55 that things don’t drop behind because we’ve got products we need to launch to specific deadlines,
03:00 we communicate new product developments to the trades,
03:04 for example that could be supermarkets
03:07 such as Tesco or Asda.
03:09 They expect our products to arrive with them at a certain time,
03:13 so we need to make sure that we’ve planned in accurately all the kinds of milestones,
03:19 all the kinds of problems that we’re expected to hit,
03:22 what risks there are and make sure that people are aware of those and those are communicated sufficiently.
03:31 What do I do on a daily basis?
03:33 I tend to talk to the category group directors about their budgets,
03:38 I will review the spending of the previous month to make sure that we’re on track,
03:43 I will forecast out for the end of the year,
03:46 to see whether we’re on track for our budgets for the end of the year.
03:49 I’ll talk to my boss about where we are with that,
03:53 so that he’s aware of it and if we require any additional funding he can make the case for it.
04:00 I will pull a presentation together so that we can communicate it to the wider organisation at the relevant time.
04:12 The thing I really enjoy about this role, because I am now more removed from the products going to market
04:18 and I’m not working in the lab any more,
04:20 is I really like the fact that I get an overview of all the products being developed within the organisation.
04:27 So before you’d work in your own category,
04:29 you’d know what they were doing, you’d know what products you were working on.
04:32 But you might not know what the team in the States were doing,
04:34 you might not know what the team in Germany were doing
04:37 so from this point of view you do kind of get that whole kind of bigger picture view, which I really like.
04:43 I also like really getting to work quite closely with some of the other functions,
04:46 such as the marketing teams, and the supply manufacturing guys.
04:50 Again, that’s something I was doing before
04:55 when I was working more on the product development side of things,
04:58 but you’re communicating with people on a higher level here,
05:02 so whereas before I’d be talking to kind of manager level, here I might be talking to director or senior director people,
05:08 and just meeting the different people within the organisation and understanding their viewpoints I’ve found really fascinating.
05:16 You don’t have to kind of say, stay down the science route if that’s no longer what interests you,
05:21 I think the skills you gain from it can be very useful in a huge number of areas.
05:27 Also, the opportunity to travel to different places is not necessarily something you think of when you think of science
05:35 but a huge number of organisations have opportunities internationally,
05:39 so there’s a vast array of different areas that you could become a part of,
05:45 and I think that the skills you do learn in doing a science degree can be useful to you for the rest of your life.
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