‘You have to clearly define what it is you want to achieve’
My career path: Kevin O’Neill is Jameson brand ambassador for Indonesia
Kevin O’Neill: “I definitely think coming into a new role with an open mind and a willingness to be flexible helps a lot.”
What/where did you study and when did you graduate?
I studied law with philosophy (BCL) in UCD and graduated in 2017. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed studying this course and the friends I made throughout my four years there, I felt like this wasn’t the professional route I wanted to pursue upon graduating. However, the skills I developed during my time in UCD, such as an analytical approach and having to think outside of the box, helps me greatly in my current role in marketing.
What attracted you to the role you now have?
I’ve been working with Irish Distillers on the Jameson International Graduate Programme since August 2017, and it’s been a fantastic experience so far. I was attracted to the role because I wanted to explore the option of a career in international marketing, and Jameson was the perfect brand to do this with owing to its growth in recent years and the range of markets the company is focusing on. There are two rotations on the programme and I’m just about to start my second rotation as brand ambassador for Indonesia.
What did you find most challenging about the working world?
There are lots of different challenges that present themselves when you enter the world of work after college, and it definitely takes time to get used to it. For me, not having a background in marketing was probably the biggest challenge. However, there is a fantastic support structure in place in Irish Distillers and the Jameson graduate programme in general, so I never felt too overwhelmed in transitioning to my new role. Getting into a good routine and making sure you find a healthy work/life balance are also extremely important.
Do you have any mentors and if so what is their value to you?
I consider so many of my colleagues to be mentors. From my direct line manager to other senior members of the business to the close friends I’ve made during my time so far on the programme, learning from their experiences and understanding their ways of working can be invaluable. I definitely think coming into a new role with an open mind and a willingness to be flexible helps a lot. There’s absolutely no way you know everything on day one, so it’s good to identify a few potential mentors within the business and learn as much as you can from them.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned since you joined the workforce?
The most valuable thing that I’ve learned is that with every project, task or objective you face, you have to clearly define what it is you want to achieve and make sure that every stakeholder involved is on the same page. This allows you to get from A to B more efficiently, but also in such a way that everything is accounted for and nothing is glossed over. As I prepare for my new role in Indonesia, one of the first things I will do is sit down with my manager to define my KPIs [key performance indicators] for the year ahead, and what does success look like for the brand one year from now.
One piece of advice for graduates
The one thing I would tell all graduates starting out in a new role would be to make the most of the opportunity that’s being presented to you. Being based in Dublin in the company’s head office for the past year, I’ve learned an incredible amount about the brand, the wider portfolio and marketing in general, as well getting the chance to build relationships with some amazing people. Things like joining the sports club, attending social events or even just grabbing a coffee with different people allowed me to get to know my colleagues on a personal basis, and this definitely helps with your working relationships. I will definitely take this same approach when I begin my next adventure in Jakarta!