Making Magic as a Finance Business Partner!

25/03/2022
Natalie Mallory

Merlin Magic Making is the wonderous brain that drives the inspiration and creation of our iconic Attractions and Resorts. Our Magic Makers are dreamers, thinkers, creatives, and believers. They deliver world-class attractions, hotels, and investment projects – from designing sky-high LEGO Models and thrilling Theme Parks to replicating celebrities for Madame Tussauds, and scouring the world for new sites and opportunities. They are the team that makes Merlin’s magic a reality!

This week we wanted to shine a light on our finance team. The people behind some of our biggest projects and investments such as opening a brand-new LEGOLAND in Korea, and the world’s first dedicated Peppa Pig Theme Park in Florida! In fact, the team are currently hiring and the new Finance Business Partners will be working on several top-secret new attractions and experiences! The team have a very packed pipeline for the next few years and so it’s a very exciting time to join the team… But don’t take our word for it! Check out what the team had to say:  

Kendra

What made you decide to join the Merlin Magic Making Finance team?

“Merlin Entertainments is a really unique company with a huge array of different attractions located all around the world, and MMM is the beating heart of the business. We get to be involved in all of the newest attractions, and help the business deliver magic to our guests from the initial conceptual stages through to launch.”

What’s different about a project-based finance role at MMM, compared to anywhere else?

"The projects that we get to work on are one of a kind, which can be challenging but also very rewarding! Even projects with similar underlying concepts can be drastically different depending on where they are in the world. Working in MMM means working on a variety of projects at any point in time making it much more interesting than some project roles which are focused on delivering one thing at a time. There are very few finance roles in the world where you spend your days talking about things such as building rollercoasters, stocking new aquariums, and launching new world-class attractions."

What's your favourite project that you've worked on?

"I’ve been involved in quite a few so it’s hard to pick favourites! The most challenging ones would be our SEA LIFE Aquariums as there is a lot of added complexity that comes from working with live animals, but the end product is always really cool. LEGOLAND Discovery Center American Dream, which has a lot of in-tank theming based on the local area, is a particular favourite. Secret World of Beasts at LEGOLAND Windsor was also amazing to see come together, as we had a different concept originally but ended up pivoting and delivering our first fully in-house IP featuring a massive LEGO lion created by our awesome production team."

Where do you work and what’s the community like?

I am based out of our Poole Head Office, which famously features a slide between floors. While it’s still not back to pre-pandemic activity, the office is slowly coming back to life and feeling increasingly like a community again. Our team is based in a few locations but we all come together at least once a month, and we make the most of it by planning at least something together.

Market Square Merlin Ents

What’s your favourite thing about your role?

The best thing about this role is getting to see a project go from conceptual drawings to realised attractions. We work with sites all around the world so we aren’t able to see the works on a daily basis, but we do try to get out to the sites a few times while a project is ongoing and it’s always incredible to see the ideas that the creative team started with coming to life

What does it take to be a great Finance Business Partner in the Merlin Magic Making team?

No two days are ever the same, so a great FBP needs to be flexible and adaptable. We are here to support the delivery of projects, meaning that we need to deliver good customer service to our partners within the business as well as robust financial reporting & analysis to the wider group. More than anything we need to be great communicators; we often act as centres of information for many different areas and levels of the business, and we need to be able to communicate effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders.

Natalie

You’ve worked for us for quite some time, what’s been keeping you with Merlin?

I feel like I can add value to Merlin, the environment created supports a safe space to continuously improve, in both your work & your development. I'm proud that I got to work on the Ninjago project in LEGOLAND Windsor, and as well as delivering in time and on budget, my nephew visited the land and told me “I was really cool” – That’s a pretty big deal.

What makes a finance role with Merlin different to anywhere else?

You don’t get to build Castles filled with lady knights & wizards or join forces with the legendary Ninjago team to defeat the serpent in normal “finance” roles.

Ninjago

Michael O’Sullivan

What’s your favourite thing about what you do?

I love working on developments in finance at Merlin, being given scope to be involved in the whole project delivery process and knowing how exciting the end product is for families. In developments finance, I feel at the forefront of the delivery of the exciting group development strategy and can see first-hand the progress being made and the bold new ideas and investments being brought to life. The role is very flexible and allows me to find my own ways of working. I get to work with so many different people and parts of the business which is great for developing an understanding of how successful projects are delivered.

What makes Merlin Magic Making a great place to work?

Working in MMM gives you a unique opportunity to work all aspects of delivering magical experiences, from the initial ideas dreamt up by the creative department, the project delivery team who drive the projects, the attraction operators, the legal and finance departments, animal welfare experts, technical experts and lots more! Being a group function there is worldwide exposure and always exciting things happening. The team is great fun to be a part of and no two days are the same!

Paul Piao

What’s your favourite thing about what you do?

My favourite thing about what I do is being part of building something amazing. Feels like you are leaving a good legacy behind. What Makes Merlin the best place to work is the people that you work with. People are all so super friendly and happy to help. Also, it is so diverse, and everyone has their own unique skillsets and experiences, weird and wonderful.

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Make Magic as a Finance Business Partner! 

If this seems like the kind of team you'd like to join, apply for our new Finance Business Partners roles today! You can fill out an application here.