Hannah Yarr – BA (Hons) International Business graduate

Current employer: Diageo

Current job title: Supplier Performance Manager

Current location: Glasgow

“In the work place there are a lot of overlaps with what I learned at Plymouth University: the course not only improved me as a person, but is still helping me within my new role.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

Since graduating, I have been accepted onto a graduate scheme with a company called Diageo. They are the world largest alcohol manufacturer, producing brands such as Guinness, Johnnie walker, Smirnoff, Cîroc, and Baileys. I have joined them on a three year graduate scheme where I will have three different, yearlong roles. After the three years I will then remain in a permanent function. My first rotation is situated within their international supply centre working within procurement.

How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

My degree helped me to discover my passion for operations management and supply chains. By focusing on this during my year in industry, I was able to understand that this would be the path for me. I wouldn’t have been able to get into this graduate scheme without having covered relevant modules at Plymouth.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

So far it has been moving to a different country. I am coping with the day to day things at the minute because of the practice gained during my placement, but I will be leaning and stretched a lot more within my projects in the coming months and years.

Initially, I moved from Cardiff to Plymouth to study and settled in straight away. Moving for a job, however, is a lot different as you don’t have lots of friends surrounding you like we did in halls and lectures. I am overcoming this by joining different activities around the city and getting involved in as much things as possible to meet new people.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

I am at the start of my career; however, I have visited several suppliers, ranging from closures, to glass bottles, to the cartons. It has given me a real insight into supply chains and has also allowed me to travel.

Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

I would make use of my summers a bit more. I travelled each summer, but for another a month or so would have been great. Once you get into a job you are only given a certain holiday allowance. University isn’t just about the academic learning, it’s about the experiences you have and how you grow and develop as an individual.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

I would say get as much experience as you can before deciding on what career you want. I got involved with a lot of extracurricular activities and with a lot of companies before I started looking at what area I wanted my placement to be in. Once you have an idea, get a placement within that area, whether over the summer or for the year, and decide if that is the best decision for you before graduating.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

The support services at Plymouth University have helped me in all aspects of my life: with confidence, team working, and by providing the facilities for me to succeed, such as the 24 hour library.

What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?

From my course I learnt a lot of functional knowledge, especially from modules such as supply chain or operations management. In the work place there are a lot of overlaps with what I learned at Plymouth University: the course not only improved me as a person, but is still helping me within my new role.

Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so, how did this benefit you?

Yes. I worked in the European office for procurement at a company called Dow Corning which has now become Dow Chemical. They are an American based silicone manufacturer which produces the basic polymer which goes into thousands of products across the world, such as shampoo, cars, and health care. This placement helped me to gain an understanding of a real life workplace and confirm my passion for the supply chain. I knew that even if I didn’t like this area of business, then I could change my career decision before graduating, which was great. The placement has set me up for understanding my graduate role.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

I would recommend Plymouth to anyone interested in going to university. The campus and the location have so much to offer. Prospective students need to remember that they are spending three to four years at university, so it isn’t just the course they need to consider. The facilities and support from Plymouth University were also great. The Students’ Union, Employability Service, the 24 hour library, and the extracurricular options all allowed me to develop as a person. I filled my days with lots of activities and met so many people who were willing to support me. Students need to look at the bigger picture and I think Plymouth offers something for everyone.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

Enjoy your time at university: get involved with as much as you can and meet as many people as possible. Try to push yourself so you can develop even more. For final year students I would say look for graduate jobs as soon as you start your final year. All the best schemes are open before Christmas, and being offered a job before you have to submerge yourself into final year exams and dissertations really helps you and gives you a head start.