On Friday 10th January, we were delighted to host Rob Merry (Old Cranleighan,1 North/North) in the van Hasselt Centre, with over 60 Sixth Form Business Studies students present. After a quick overview of the Amazon business, he explained that since his last visit he has moved into a new area at “Amazon” and is currently operating as Head of Globalisation, where he focuses on developing and managing Amazon’s Fashion private brands. This includes overseeing the overseas performance of key brands such as ‘Amazon Essentials’, ‘Goodthreads’ and the recent addition ‘Care of’, which is focused on athletic leisurewear, in collaboration with Puma. 

Rob gave students a superb insight into the process of developing a brand from scratch and building it over time, as well as the challenges he and his team have faced along the way. This allowed pupils to apply the concepts they have studied in the classroom into a real-life situation with a company they are familiar with. For example, Rob spoke of the huge opportunities associated with globalisation, how Amazon has developed as an MNC, and how it continues to develop in the face of such dynamic markets. He also brought to life the considerable challenges he faces, including: making sure products are relevant to different customer tastes in each country; optimising a complex global supply chain; and forecasting demand for new products with no prior sales history.

Rob fielded some interesting and insightful questions from both students and staff, who were intrigued to hear about Amazon’s success, and gave them a taste for what life is like working for one of the most successful companies in the world. Bringing the Business Studies course to life, students benefited from making the links to the various topics and themes studied in the classroom, and we will look forward to using these as a basis for discussion as we learn and explore new content.

Rob also gave some excellent and valuable advice to the Sixth Form interested in a career in the Business world. He gave some tips and advice regarding enhancing their CVs and business experience ahead of applying to Universities, graduate schemes and beyond.

We are very grateful for the time that Rob gave up to return to Cranleigh amidst a busy and demanding work schedule, and look forward to hearing about the brands’ success if we are treated to any future visits!