Mars Canada produces several products most of you love and cherish. The aforementioned Mars Bar, Snickers, Skittles (my personal favorite), Starburst and Twix, and let’s not forget one of the world’s leading chocolate candy: M&Ms. However, most people do not know that Mars actually produces two of Canada’s top five pet food brands (Pedigree: #1 and Whiskas: #4). Mars actually produces more pet food products than confectionary products, despite having twice as many confectionary brands (eleven to five). We sat down with an incoming fourth year student at Queen’s Commerce, Rayna, who gives her experience working as an intern at Mars Canada.
Prelook: How did you get connected with this company and land this internship?
Rayna: My journey to Mars began when they posted a summer internship opportunity on the Queen’s Commerce career portal. I had been interested in working for a CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) company this summer and knew that CPG companies typically posted their summer and full-time opportunities online. I had spent time searching through several career websites such as TalentEgg, but Mars typically recruits through campus recruitment (using the career portal and on-campus events) Their recruitment process began in late September with a Skype interview. Once I advanced past this preliminary stage, I headed to Mars’ head office in Bolton, Ontario. I first presented to a panel of full-time associates and then interviewed one-on-one with another associate. I received an offer to be a Sales Intern a couple weeks later and joined the Mars team this summer!
Prelook: What did you find challenging in landing this job?
Since a lot of job openings were made available to Commerce students, discovering this company and job position was the easiest part of the process. The most challenging part of the process was the preparation for the final round. I was asked to present about an accomplishment that I’m most proud and achieved exceptional results in. I spoke about an internship I completed after my first year of university, during which I reduced accounts receivable of over $150,000 by 50%. I focused my presentation on my ability to take initiative and bridge communication gaps in order to achieve results.
Prelook: What do you like about working at Mars?
Mars has an excellent culture. Their office is located outside of the downtown core, which, is a great advantage because of the vast amount of office space. All located on one floor, each desk partition cannot be higher than a foot, and every employee (even the highest level) all work together in the same space. In addition, the walls are floor to ceiling of glass that lets natural light shine through into the office. Work attire is incredibly casual, so we save the suits for meetings with a customer and for presentations, and I can talk to pretty much any employee I want to as everyone is willing to lend a helping hand to accelerate your learning.
Additionally, the option to work from home is a favorable perk; the commute to Bolton can be long for some, and Mars understands that employees do their best work when they have time for what’s important to them. My two favorite features of the office are the basketball and sand volleyball court. The company takes part in intramurals every week and it is a great way to stay fit (on top of the free in-house gym), take a break from work, and get to know other coworkers. Secondly, the office is pet-friendly, and even has a small leash-free courtyard where our pets can interact. I love having my French bulldog by my side at my desk to brighten my day!
Prelook: What are some benefits and perks the company offers to you?
Working at Mars is great if you love their products; you can buy them at cost on site since their factory is connected to the office, and can always grab a free chocolate bar on Fridays to welcome the weekend. Occasionally getting deals on food or free pet products is also great!
Prelook: What makes their office space unique?
Definitely a tie between areas for intramural sports (the outdoor basketball and sand volleyball courts), and the leash-less courtyard. It allows for employees’ pets to interact while we sit back and chat on outdoor courts or relax in the gazebo. These two amenities are very individual to Mars.
Prelook: Finish this sentence: “Working at Mars is…”
An emphatic “FUN!”. Everything about the culture is fun: the colorful office, dogs roaming, free chocolate on Fridays, people on all rungs of the corporate ladder chatting and connecting, more relaxed meetings in various places, and finally, the monthly results that are celebrated company wide.
Prelook: How would you describe Mars’s culture?
Mars has a different culture compared with similar CPG companies. Our work socials are atypical as the office it is not located in the downtown core. For example, instead of going to grab drinks from a bar after work, we occasionally host company wide barbeques. Many of the employees are outgoing and are encouraged to foster interaction so that the day to days are more enjoyable. The employee base is very diverse in both age and culture/experiences, so it is never a dull moment.
Prelook: Finally, what do you value most working at a company?
Work-life balance, culture, and location are probably my top three. I have a lot of hobbies that are integral to who I am, and having time for those as well as time to see my friends and family is really important to me. Culture is huge, and exciting work that keeps me engaged is also important. I look for companies where the office is a fun place to be, results are important, and where continuous learning and development is prioritized.
I think location is also determinant for accepting a position at a company. You have to understand how your life is impacted if the company is downtown, uptown, out-of-town, or next door, so I definitely take location into consideration. That said, Mars’ policy on flexibility (many employees work from home, and there is generous leeway to coming and going from the office) is indicative of how trusted employees are to achieve great results.
Source for the pet food brand rankings in Canada ^^