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Inside View: Coca-Cola Enterprises

Think you've got what it takes to grow iconic brands like Ocean Spray, Fanta, and of course Coca-Cola in Western Europe?!

By  Ifeatu Nnaobi

Thu May 24 2012

This week's Inside View is with Tanya Pakeman, Senior Manager for Talent Acquisition at Coca-Cola Enterprises GB. Tanya has been in recruiting for over six years and has been with Coca-Cola Enterprises since 2010.

Coca-Cola Enterprises is the world’s third largest marketer, producer, and distributor or products of The Coca-Cola Company, covering the UK and France, as well as parts of Benelux and Sacndinavia.

The Coca-Cola Company in the US has operated a franchised distribution system since 1889. It might surprise you to know that The Coca-Cola Company only produces syrup concentrate (the syrup for Coke famously contains a secret ingredient) which is then sold to various bottlers throughout the world who hold an exclusive territory. 

Coca-Cola Enterprises hit its £2bn profit target for 2011/2012 and growth plans for 2012-2013 include providing more products and services to meet beverage and business needs in Belgium, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Tanya speaks to us about the opportunities for MBAs to join the company's European business.


What roles at Coca-Cola are MBA grads best suited for?
We don’t specifically hire MBAs but our relatively senior roles would be suitable for MBAs. Our European group would be attractive for MBAs because their responsibilities span the business development of the entire company. They work on things like strategic planning, revenue, growth and marketing.

Do you have any openings right now that MBAs could apply for?
No, but we recently hired for a strategic planning role. Job opportunities come up quite frequently so it’s best to keep an eye on the careers section of our website if you’re interested in working with us.

What are the absolute key things that an applicant must know?
Our values are accountability, customer focus and teamwork. People who are a good at working in a fast-paced environment, are flexible and adaptable, can work with a lean team, are self-driven and are great at building networks are a good cultural fit.

Applicants need to have a good grasp of the franchising environment, know the difference between us and The Coca-Cola Company but also understand why the relationship is important. If you are the type of person who is passionate about business and can prove that, you’ll be given a chance to excel. I started two years ago and have already been promoted twice!

There are opportunities to move abroad through cross-office transfers but for that language skills are important.

What's the most exciting business area or market within Coca-Cola Enterprises at the moment?
All of our business areas are going through exciting developments. The commercial team is always on the look-out for new ways to drive up revenue and profits.

Supply chain is equally exciting as we try to find more efficient ways of delivering our products to consumers. We are also very serious with our corporate social responsibility strategies as well as very keen on increasing our diversity statistics.

The business as a whole tries to be very involved in the local community. For instance, the 2012 Olympics has been something we’ve been very excited about. As a sponsor, employees have had the chance to begin their Olympic experience. We’ve had a company conference at the Velodrome, been invited to torch relay parties and can win tickets to the dress rehearsals for the opening ceremony. Circa 500 of our staff will be working at the Olympic Stadium as Merchandisers or Venue Operations Managers during the games.

What's your favourite Coca-Cola product?!
Diet Coke!

Do you recruit from any particular schools?
We focus on the qualifications and the experience of the individual candidate.

What are the special "pros" of working at Coca-Cola compared to other FMCG firms?
In addition to getting lots of free Coke, which is unsurprisingly popular amongst our staff, the benefits you get are representative of those you’d expect in an FMCG environment. It’s a fun business to work for because we’re promoting a brand that so many people love. You can get involved with parts of the business outside your day-to-day role and gain more skills in the process.

Think you've got what it takes to grow a brand that's already iconic? For the latest career opportunities at Coca Cola Enterprises, click here!