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Describe your ScotGrad Placement.

I currently work as a business development executive at Thistly Cross Cider. The main focus of my role is the growth of our US exports. I spend roughly a third of my time in America, travelling from state to state. The export strategy I have employed in the US involves targeting the on premise market, using metal American style kegs filled with single malt whisky barrel aged cider. Thistly Cross is on course to triple sales to the US market due to this approach - with current availability in 44 states.

It sounds like you get to travel loads!

I do. My placement involves market trips, which have been a great learning experience! I visited Milan at the end of last year, and plan to visit contacts across Europe throughout 2015. A large proportion of my time is also spent arranging festival placements, which again involves travelling. Over the last two months, we had festivals in Glasgow (GSBC), Edinburgh (Heriot Watt Beer Fest), Skye (Skye live music festival), Aberdeen (North Hop) and Birmingham (Food and Deli Show). I attended all these events, to represent the company and set up festival kit.

What other projects are you part of?

My other duties at Thistly Cross are split, with some of this spent expanding and developing other export opportunities. Our 2015 exports excluding containers to the US, are set to surpass the previous years (which included US exports).

I’ve also been involved in domestic business development. After having our cider established at the Wetherspoons cider festival, I arranged contracts with the Edinburgh accounts - which led to our cider replacing Strongbow/Heineken on Wetherspoons main T bar at all accounts in Edinburgh. I’m the first point of contact for Wetherspoons enquiries, and have arranged multiple staff-trainings and tasting events at their branches across Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Describe your general thoughts on ScotGrad and what it has done for your career.

ScotGrad has been an amazing platform, and has allowed me to kick-start my career. In a tough job market, it has given me a direct link to an industry of interest, tailored to my degree. The time spent studying was definitely justified! ScotGrad has also provided training, giving an outside perspective on placements, and how to improve functions of the business.

Any advice for other graduates?

Prepare far in advance. It's easy to get dragged down by studying, lectures and exams, then end up graduating without a plan for the future. Your careers service is always worth a look if you can spare an afternoon!