Hi I’m Jon and I’m in my third and final year of the Finance Graduate Scheme. This year I’m lucky enough to be working in Portugal (which still seems a little unbelievable) for Alliance Healthcare, the Pharmaceutical Wholesale division of Walgreens Boots Alliance.
The international placement really allows you to utilise the skills and knowledge you have gained during your previous placements. I started my time with the great team in Boots Opticians, which allowed me to get experience across the whole finance function and learn about a really unique part of the business. After a year in Nottingham, I moved down south and joined the Internal Audit & Risk team based in Weybridge. During these six months I visited wholesalers across our business including Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey and Portugal. Here I would be helping with anything from a balance sheet review to reviewing anti-bribery and corruption policies. I then moved back to Nottingham to join the new Global Brands function, which allowed me to work with our innovative insight teams and major brands including No7.
I’ve been in Portugal since November and I am currently based in the Porto office. For those of you who haven’t been to Porto, I’d highly recommend a visit as it’s a beautiful city. I live just on the outskirts in Matosinhos, which means I have a beach on my doorstep, (it really is tough out here). It’s not all about the sun, sea and sand however, during my time here I’ve been working with both the Treasury and Internal Control teams, looking at cash provision management and customer profitability, which is something I’ve never done before, and have found really interesting. I’m quickly learning that pharmaceutical wholesale is a lot more than simply delivering medicines to pharmacies!
Walgreens Boots Alliance has also supported me during my studies for a financial qualification across the three years. I have now completed all of my exams for CIMA and am just waiting on the final result, so currently have all my fingers crossed! I’m also trying to learn Portuguese at the moment, which probably isn’t the easiest language to learn, but I’m sure by the end of my time here I will have a good understanding of what’s being said around me! All the people I’ve met here are really friendly and supportive, which has made the international move so easy! In a couple of weeks I move to Lisbon to spend six months with the Credit Control and FP&A teams.
I feel the Finance scheme at Boots UK is unique, not only do you get the opportunity to travel and work internationally, receive support for a financial qualification and potentially learn a new language, you also get to work across numerous industries, which I feel is extremely valuable experience.