Success Stories

Success Stories

Jessica Harrier – Distillery Manager’s Assistant with Verdant Spirits Ltd

University – Edinburgh Napier
Qualification – MSc in Marketing

My journey to where I am now has been long, stressful, and terrifying – but ultimately very much worth it. When I started university in 2011, studying Biological Sciences with Immunology, it was my dream to be a research scientist for a big research institute. About halfway through my undergraduate studies, it dawned on me that this wasn’t actually the career path I wanted to follow – a scary realisation when you’re over 50% through a highly specialised biology degree. In an attempt to broaden my skill set, I volunteered as the PR officer for the university’s theatre society and discovered a love for all things marketing.

I left my first degree with a 2:2. As an undergraduate student, you often hear the phrase “if you don’t get a 2:1 you might as well have not done your degree”. Well, everyone, I’m very pleased to report that despite not quite achieving the grade I wanted, it has not affected my employability whatsoever and has never been mentioned by a prospective employer. If you can prove you’re the right person for the job, it doesn’t matter what degree you have.


Following my degree at Dundee, I applied for a position on the MSc Marketing program at Edinburgh Napier and to my delight was accepted almost immediately. I was by no means a model student but left Napier with a master’s degree and a distinction in my dissertation, which set me up well to apply for jobs in the marketing industry.

Job hunting experience
Going into the world of work after 5 years of being a student was a daunting prospect. My first “job” out of University was an unpaid internship with an online start-up. Despite being great to have on the CV, in reality, the role wasn’t particularly challenging or worthwhile in terms of actual marketing experience. That being said, if you can afford to work unpaid for a short time to get your name out there, I would definitely recommend it.

I had applied for a few jobs with Adopt an Intern before finally finding the perfect role for me: A Marketing Assistant internship with Dundee-based gin distillery Verdant Spirits. The reason I got the role was actually an incredible stroke of luck and probably the biggest coincidence of my life so far. During my time at Napier, I took an entrepreneurship module, where the main project was to create and pitch a business idea. I pitched a gin distillery start-up based in Dundee, which had remarkably similar ideals to that of Verdant Spirits. I had actually only switched to this module at the last minute too, so it goes to show just how much university module choices can shape your future career.


Role and responsibilities
At Verdant, I was thrown in at the deep end, gaining experience in everything from social media to web design and product distribution. I even learned how to drive a forklift! As a first job, it was great to get insight into so many different areas of marketing and the experience really helped me shape my ideas of where I wanted my career to go. Free gin samples were also a huge bonus.

Where are you now?
After my internship ended, I was offered a role as a Social Media Executive at Scottish publishing giant DC Thomson – a company whose publications have been part of my life since a very young age. It’s just me in my role at DCT, so I get the opportunity to work across a huge range of titles and help shape social strategies for audiences of all different ages, genders and interests. I’m also heavily involved in the promotion of our new product The Gin Kin where I am lucky enough to be on the receiving end of, yes, more gin samples. Never would I have thought I’d be fortunate enough to work in two roles where I get to explore my passion for gin and get paid for it!


A few weeks ago, I was invited back to Edinburgh Napier to give a lecture on how we use social media and data to target audiences and to share my journey with their current MSc students. Things really have really come full circle for me. If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be in the position I am now, I would have laughed in their face. I am hugely grateful to Adopt an Intern for helping me get to where I am. Before I got my internship with them I was applying for sales assistant roles to pay the bills, so they played a huge part in setting me up for my current career.

To anyone who is considering applying for an Adopt an Intern internship, I cannot recommend them enough. Not only do they have some of the best graduate jobs out there but they support you fully throughout the process and ensure that your internship sets you up for the best future career possible.

Jessica Harrier
AAI Alumni
Distillery Manager’s Assistant with Verdant Spirits Ltd
Connect with Jessica on LinkedIn


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