Sarah Stewart Graduate Manager Ulster Carpets
Describe your roles and responsibilities.
I am part of the European Contract Sales Team which deals with customers who want to purchase bespoke woven axminster for a commercial use, say in hotels or casinos. It is my job to develop new and existing business within my assigned territories and manage projects from acquisition through to completion. The client will provide me with a brief and I will then co-ordinate with design, planning and production to ensure we deliver the order to the set deadline. My role requires me to travel regularly across Europe to negotiate on pricing and sales conditions which has been a great experience.
How did you get into this line of work?
A business role, dealing in foreign markets allowed me to combine my love of business at school with my degree which was in French and Spanish. I worked part – time as a Retail Assistant for 7 years and this gave me a great insight into sales. Working within the Sales Department of an international company is perfect for me!
Tell us about your typical working day?
Ulster Carpets is a fast paced company and working with large complex projects and being the point of contact for numerous clients, means a number of new challenges every day. I usually start by answering all my emails and then liaising with other departments to iron out any issues or finalise project details. I also spend a portion of the day developing new business in further export markets.
What qualities are required for your job – personal and professional?
Organisation and project management are very important. I am solely responsible for the co-ordination of my projects. I must ensure that all other departments have the information they need to proceed. Good customer service and product knowledge is essential. As I am dealing with the hotel owners, interior designers etc. of prestigious hotels who are purchasing large quantities of custom-made carpet, they need to receive the best possible service. Ulster Carpets is known for the quality of both their product, and the service they provide.
Another important quality would be the ability to work as part of a team. I have to co-ordinate constantly with all other departments. We must come up with an action plan and solution together. You have to be able to negotiate, deal with difficult situations and make decisions under pressure.
What are the biggest challenges and rewards of your work?
One of the biggest challenges is making sure all production deadlines are met but at the same time trying to work with the customer’s schedule. The biggest reward is seeing the carpet finally installed in the hotel after months of planning.
Tell us about your education & qualifications.
I have a Joint Honours Degree in French and Spanish, 3 A Levels, 4 AS levels, 10 GCSE’s and Key Skills Communication.
How do you spend your spare time?
I enjoy going to the gym and I go back to Scotland a few times a year during my holidays to visit my friends from my previous retail job.
What inspires you most in your life?
My mum inspires me the most. She has a successful career in a demanding job but still had time to look after me and make four different dinners every night.
Want to know more about graduate careers at Ulster Carpets? Check out our stand at Queens University Graduate Fair from Tuesday 20th – Thursday 22nd October. For more information head over to our Facebook page.