AN INTERVIEW WITH
AN INTERVIEW WITH
I studied 'Business Management with Accounts and Finance' at the University of Dundee and achieved first class honors. My parents had successful business-related backgrounds, so that's what I wanted to go and study when I went to University—they inspired me. But when it came to the end of my degree, I was thinking what do I want to do next and where do I want to go? As graduation loomed, I saw this internship advertised from NCR and I thought it was an amazing opportunity for me to get some experience. I could see what corporate roles were really like, then better decide what route I wanted to go down. I eagerly applied. Thankfully my interview was successful, and the Monday after graduating I joined the Banking Product Management team in Dundee.
When a full-time position conveniently opened, I had the experience needed to demonstrate I would be successful in the role. I ended up turning down my master's degree and decided to put my full focus into pursuing a career at NCR. My work as an intern definitely helped me secure the role and allowed me to hit the ground running.
I now also get to do customer-facing work for the team, leading customer calls and presentations. So, it was a very big transition for me, moving to the engineering organization and taking on a lot more ownership. Luckily, I’m a fast learner, and my ‘get stuck in’ enthusiastic attitude eased my transition – although I am still learning every day. My more experienced senior colleagues really support me and help me to learn in the role.
I've also got a really great manager who champions my personal development, providing opportunities for me to gain the skills I need to progress in my career. I think that support, whether it be from colleagues or your manager is just so, so valuable. I now get continual exposure to new business areas and that learning journey really keeps me motivated. They're not just telling you what to do, they get you to work holistically, out of your comfort zone, on new things, and pick up knowledge that will also benefit you well into the future.
I had been able to contribute outside of my direct team and help them on significant and urgent projects. At the end of 2020 I was awarded the Dundee Office ‘Orr Wullie’ award - a reference to a comic book character published by D.C. Thompson who’s quite famous in Dundee. The award was voted by senior management, and is representative of being a good team player, one that goes above and beyond and works hard to support their team and NCR. I was proud of that as a reflection of not only my work, but my attitude. I think that’s the thing that really helped me when I joined — I was always willing to help. Fast forward to now, as a product manager myself, it's been great having more ownership and responsibility. I really enjoy presenting and running customer meetings, especially when they help get new customers connected or help secure a service contract! So even just my personal development, if I can call that a project, is something I’m really proud of with the journey I’ve had at NCR to date.
Everyone was very welcoming. No question is a silly question, and I think that's really an important vibe to feel when you go somewhere new. No one was beating you down because you didn’t understand the first time, or you don’t know an acronym. There is also the obvious fact that NCR is a global corporation, with a diverse workforce, and it was always exciting going to work in the office. I knew there would be so many opportunities for me to learn from others and grow professionally and personally.
I was quite used to the habit of working from anywhere, wherever I was — since I had that flexibility as a student. I also had the benefit of having not been ingrained into the office routine for too long. I really do enjoy being in the office, I find the office environment very motivating and enjoy collaborating with others, but thankfully, I’ve been able to adjust to working virtually. I always feel motivated to get online and get work done, and I had the excitement of becoming a Product Manager while we were completely home-based, too.
I think the biggest difficulty was trying to remember that there's a start and an end to the workday, you don’t want to fall into the trap of living at work rather than working from home. This is especially true with colleagues and customers in different time zones! I had to make sure I was being meaningful and purposeful with my time, but I think working from home has really helped me refine my time management skills. Work-life-balance is an important thing to respect. But I’m also lucky as I have a lovely home environment, living with my partner Marc, so that’s made both lockdowns and working from home easier for me.
We also have a wee Border Collie named Chief, so our life mostly revolves around him. We’re both into running, so you’d likely find us on a trail or training for a race. I'm grateful that we enjoy the outdoors together, time when we’re completely removed from our screens. Where we live in Scotland, there's so much wilderness and scenery on our doorstep, so we're very lucky. If it’s a rainy day, I’d likely still make it outside – there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes!
Because if you don't make an application, you’re not even giving yourself a chance. The application is the first hurdle, don’t talk yourself out of it even if it seems daunting.
For interviews, my golden rule is just be yourself. Being well presented, speaking confidently, and being prepared, these are all obviously valuable points, but there is no need to overthink. At the end of the day, they want people who are going to join a team and get involved; join the discussion, raise ideas, or even challenge the status quo. They're not going to expect you to know everything, so don’t psych yourself out about your experience or lack of it.
Lastly, remember you don't have to walk through the door with everything mapped out - I most certainly did not.