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Forging an international career with Diageos iconic brands

Forging an international career with Diageo's iconic brands

“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further” is a famous quote by Scottish philosopher, Thomas Carlyle. This quote has become a mantra for Erszebet Radics, a Financial Controller at Diageo’s Justerini & Brooks, the largest wine importer from top wine estates into the UK.

Erszebet (known as Betta)’s international role in finance has provided a varied and exciting path and continues to offer infinite possibilities for growth and development.

Early career path

Having studied at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics for a degree in Economics with a Master in Controlling, Betta learnt early on that she wanted to pursue an international career when she spent a year in Germany on an Erasmus scholarship.

“I really enjoyed meeting people from various countries and cultures and learning about their different perspectives on life. These encounters have affected who I am today, how I think about both my professional and private life and about the world in general,” she explains. Describing herself as an individual who is persistent, positive and proud to take ownership, Betta’s first role was with Deloitte Hungary as an auditor which offered a broad view of various industries including everything from car hire companies and media agencies to the bank sector and pharmaceutical companies. It was during this early position that she learnt how to provide solutions to real life finance problems as well as honing her skills in managing stakeholders with diverse professional backgrounds.

Famous iconic brands

Many people are aware of Diageo’s famous brands around the world but Betta admits she had never come across Diageo until she joined the global business as a senior statutory accountant in 2008.

“To be honest, I’d never heard about Diageo before, but I had heard about the brands. I found it very exciting that I could be the person who prepared the local financial statements of our great brand portfolio owners. In this role, I was responsible for Irish and Dutch financial accounts preparation which gave me the chance to further extend my accounting knowledge and to familiarise myself with local accounting principles like UK, Irish and Dutch GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles),” says Betta.

This role was the start of a successful and fruitful career journey with Diageo, as she progressed on to an exciting position in Amsterdam working on the financial controlling activities from the Benelux market to Budapest. “This was a memorable time of my life as I spent three months in Amsterdam with occasional commuting to Brussels. This was my first experience of working closely with a market and I found it very motivating to be part of an international team, participating in their business decision making processes, controlling their marketing expenses and overheads in line with Diageo’s productivity agenda,” explains Betta.

A supportive work environment

Keen for greater career progression and with her passion for the business, Betta pursued a global role with Diageo so she could develop a high-level understanding on Diageo’s group performance. “In 2015, I moved into a Global Marketing Finance Manager role where I worked closely with various global brand teams supporting the Premium Core Brands. This was a very colourful era of my finance career as I gained insight into different global marketing projects including the ‘JW - Joy Will Take You Further’ campaign that helped focus the brand and had a halo effect on the whole whisky portfolio,” exclaims Betta.

A move to London and a thriving career

With a love for travel, and the desire for an international career, Betta moved to London to take on her current role as Financial Controller at Justerini & Brooks. “I felt very enthusiastic about this new career journey as wine was always close to my heart, nonetheless I felt that this role can help me to become more confident in my professional life in terms of leading an international team far away from my home country, getting familiar with end-to- end business processes including purchasing, storing and selling wine on-trade and also to well respected private clients. The business was very welcoming and instantly made me feel like being part of a big wine merchant family,” explains Betta.

The pursuit of an international career has not come without its challenges however, as Betta explains. “Even though I always wanted to have an international career, when this dream came true and I had to move abroad and start a new life in a foreign country, it was quite challenging in the early days. However, my colleagues at Justerini helped me to feel like I was at home and provided valuable advice that helped me settle in London. Moreover, London on its own helped me to feel comfortable thanks to the city’s openness and diverse
culture.”

What’s the secret to a great career at Diageo?

When you join Diageo, you join a team of professionals who will support and encourage you to pursue the career you want, be it leadership or a management role. Diageo has the programmes and mentors in place to help you make it possible - and International opportunities are abundant.

But what really makes an employee stand out and achieve real success in a financial career at Diageo? Betta believes her triumphs have partly been down to her professional approach in ‘acting like an owner’. By this she means scrutinising and challenging old ways of working, simplifying processes, taking austerity, but at the same time being rational as sensible decisions can help to boost profit.

It is exactly these sort of actions that Betta understands were recognised at the ‘Europe Finance Hero Awards’ and ‘Role Model Awards’ - two achievements that she is very proud of. “All these awards prove that it’s worth thinking outside the box, having a growth mind-set and going the extra mile. Even if this seems to be challenging and uncomfortable for the first
time,” she adds.

Pursuing a career in finance?

As a successful financial professional at a worldwide premium drinks business, Betta believes there are certain skills women require if seeking to forge a similar role.

“Continuously learn and deepen your financial knowledge so that you can quickly react on emerging difficulties and tackle them efficiently as well as noticing and seizing financial opportunities that could be beneficial for the company,” suggests Betta. “Have patience and empathy for managing stakeholders with various backgrounds, even non-financial backgrounds, whilst controlling budgets. This requires a persuasive, but friendly personality. And always have effective time management and strong prioritisation skills for coping with tight deadlines in terms of month-end/year- end closures, financial accounts filing and statistical return preparations,” Betta outlines.

A full and rewarding lifestyle

Outside of her thriving financial career, Betta enjoys diverse sport activities like boot camps, running, skiing, diving, and surfing. “Sport helps to ease the everyday stress as well as providing the opportunity to meet interesting people with similar interests in sport,” she says. With an unwavering love for travel, Betta continues to discover new countries, mingling with locals and her bucket list is growing every day. 

Career opportunities at Diageo

For a fast-moving and rewarding role like Betta’s, take a look at these current vacancies with Diageo and perhaps it could be the start of an exciting international career.

 

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