Graduate success stories Back to success stories

What's your background?

Originally from Kirkcaldy, I moved to Crail in the East Neuk of Fife during my primary and high school days.  I studied in the USA for a year while on a golf scholarship, returning to Scotland in 2010 where I achieved a 2:1 BSc in Business Economics with Marketing at Dundee University in 2014.

What appealed to you about the placement?

I had tried Innis & Gunn on several occasions before I was aware that they were looking to take on a graduate. I really liked what I tasted, and appreciated the strong brand image, product story and visual creativeness of I & G. This all added up to a company I would be passionate about working for and knew I could grow in. The role itself involved helping develop new and exciting initiatives for the business, which offered the opportunity to put to work all those days spent living in the library!

What did you expect to gain?

I expected to gain a real world understanding of processes, decision making and how businesses really operate. In a way, unearth the true likeness of all those authors’ work you slavishly read and quoted in your given coursework (sometimes to help the word count along), to ‘real life’.

With that said, it’s quite difficult not to colour your thoughts on what you thought you would gain, with what you have gained.

What I would say is, before I started, I was very keen to make an impact straight away, perhaps to the point of wanting to run before I could walk. Whilst enthusiasm is good, I’ve learned not to tie myself up in knots trying to be perfect. Every day has been a school day and having an open mind to always learning is invaluable. 

What have you learned?

Effective brand communication – the brand is one of the most important aspects of any business. Knowing how to effectively deliver and communicate it consistently across all forms of communication from marketing materials to the tone of voice online is key.

Part of my job is running our Online Shop. This has exposed me to some of the workings within the departments of finance, logistics and stock management. More relevant to my role, however, has been the customer management side of things – making sure the consumer’s experience of the brand is friction free and a positive one whatever their touch point is with the company.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to graduates?

Having just graduated, some people feverishly start looking for jobs or have been for a while before graduating. This is sensible, but at the same time don’t rush into things. Have a plan, even if that does mean taking time out to really consider what you want to do before looking for work.

There has been a phrase that has stuck in my head throughout the last year. They say ‘fake it ‘til you make it’, but I’d heard ‘fake it ‘til you become it’ (no doubt during a uni TED Talk binge) and has been a bit of a mantra for me this year. Whilst these sound like two of the same thing and a bit superficial, it’s something I’ve personally found to be quite useful. Not everyone has the big impressionable personality or the confidence to readily share their thoughts even when they could be brilliant. If you feel you have valid input, but are worried it might get shot down within work, interviews, or wherever, say it anyway with confidence and belief. Try and not shy away from your own ideas and thoughts – give them a shot!

Finally be honest and don’t pretend to know everything – it’s early days and there’s plenty time to learn and gain experience. 

What are your future career plans?

For now I’ve been fortunate in that my contract has been extended. Innis & Gunn has achieved a lot in the time I’ve been with them (not entirely because of me…) but with success comes change to make way for even better things to happen. I hope to continue my career with Innis & Gunn and I’m excited at the prospect of challenging myself and making a significant impact on the brand’s future.

Beyond Innis & Gunn, the marketing world is a big place, and down the line I look forward to discovering what’s out there and pushing myself to accomplish new and exciting things. Life is too short to be small as they say.

Want to start your own career? Apply here.