Kevin McBeth talks to the Glasgow Guardian about how he found employment following his MSc in International Finance and Economics Policy
Continuing our interviews with recent alumni about how they got their jobs, we know what you’re all thinking. Where are the finance people? Do not fear, we have not neglected the pecuniary field! Kevin McBeth, who graduated with an MSc in International Finance and Economics Policy in 2009, now works at the well-known and prestigious company - PepsiCo.
1) How old are you?
2) What is your job title and can you give a brief summary of what you do?
I am a Finance Manager for PepsiCo. My responsibilities include developing annual plans, forecasting volume/revenue/profit, setting retail pricing architecture, managing a team of analysts and interns, hoc analysis, and presenting strategies to executive management.
3) How long have you worked there for?
I’ve worked here for 5 years.
4) What kind of salary do you make?
The salary is competitive.
5) Why would this job appeal to students yet to graduate?
I think your current studies give you a great idea of what is out there, and when you find a field of interest you should pursue it. In my corporate finance and economic classes I found elasticities and econometrics to be a fun concept but did not expect to use in the real world. However, I find myself calculating elasticities to help model pricing and profit plans weekly. I have the textbook “Modern Financial Management” from school on my desk, and I recall one time I took it to my Sr. VP’s office to quote a formula and he pulled out his own textbook to verify. My studies at Glasgow gave me a strong base of knowledge that has given me a leg up and, more importantly, confidence in my work.
6) How did you get the job and what was the process like?
After University I worked in portfolio valuation for a Hedge Fund for two years and then moved to PepsiCo as a Financial Analyst, which is a typical entry-level job for finance. I had set up a job alert on the PepsiCo career website and received an email when the position was available. I applied online and then, utilizing my network, I was able to contact someone at PepsiCo who was able to forward my resume (CV) to the hiring manager. Using your network is a great way to get your resume in front of a real person with a better chance of getting an interview. I had to interview with several people and after about a week I was called with a job offer.
7) What are the main perks of the job?
I won’t lie, getting a regular paycheck is probably the best perk. However, I’m fortunate in that I work for a large company where our products are everywhere. Even though it is a large company I have surprising autonomy to influence our business and strategy. I take great pride in walking into a local grocery store and seeing our products at retail prices I helped set. Even though I’m based in the US, when I visit the UK I know that Walkers crisps are part of our broader portfolio. Also, since our products are everywhere I also get the opportunity to travel for work several times a year. My job has sent me all across the US from Denver to Seattle, New York, Phoenix, and even to Hawaii. Outside of the basic perks of having a job, taking pride in what I do is a perk I never expected.
8) Do you have any tips for students entering the job market soon?
We get a lot of very qualified resumes, so spelling errors are an immediate disqualifier. What makes a candidate standout is that they list curriculum that would support the job they are applying for. Also, list anything you have done outside of University that shows you have grown as a leader or achieved added skill that would aid you in your new job. Again, utilise your network if you have the chance. When in doubt be persistent, I applied to a lot of jobs before someone took notice.