Breaking out in Bangkok

Thomas O'Brien
Thomas O'Brien

Thomas is a graduate of UCD with a bachelors degree in Business. He is currently on his first year on the programme.

When did you decide that you wanted to take part in the Jameson Graduate Programme?

Starting my final year in college I knew that I wanted to be a part of this programme. Over my four years in college, I developed an interest in marketing and how brands tell their stories. I knew for quite a while that I wanted to work in this industry at some stage in my career. My brother had worked in the beverage industry for 7+ years and I was always fascinated with his work. The Jameson International Graduate Programme brought these two interests together.

At 22 years old – the opportunity to live in a new city - in a new continent - working with a global brand of Irish distinction - for a multinational organisation – this programme ticked all the boxes for me.

What market were/are you in?

Thailand (based in Bangkok)

Do you speak an international language & do / did you use this as part of your market placement?

No – however, since moving to Thailand, I have started to learn the Thai language. The company support this. It has been very helpful and really a lot of fun!

What characteristics do you have that help you effectively do your job as Brand Ambassador?

Positivity – Energetic – Passionate.

What is the most rewarding thing about being part of the Jameson International Graduate Programme?

Growth – after three months in market I can already feel a lot of personal and professional growth. The programme challenges you to ‘distil your own success’ as we say. Whether it’s presenting in front of a crowd, juggling project logistics or initiating conversations in a new language – the experience I’ve had to date as a Jameson Brand Ambassador has really helped build my confidence.

What is the most challenging thing about a Jameson Brand Ambassador?

Arriving in Bangkok only a few months ago marked my first trip anywhere in Asia. The greatest challenge for me is undoubtedly settling in and working in a new cultural environment.

The Thai people are among the best in the world – kind, welcoming and lots of fun – quite like the Irish in ways. I’ve had so much fun learning and settling into Thai culture. The Pernod Ricard Thailand team have played a huge role in helping me settle into the role and life here in Bangkok.

How has the programme helped you to develop your own personal brand?

The programme places a great emphasis on building your personal brand. It’s something that I hadn’t really engaged in before. Now, I can really appreciate the value of building your own personal brand within your team, the industry and online. During induction an entire week was devoted to ‘Brand You’. Here we were given all the tools to get us started but most importantly, we were given the encouragement. The team want to set you up for success both in the programme and beyond.

What skills do you feel you have developed through the Jameson International Graduate Programme?

Organisational Skills – in this role I have a lot of responsibility, but also a lot of freedom in terms of schedule flexibility etc. – I’ve learned to manage my time effectively while maintaining work-life balance.

Project Management – as a Jameson BA I’ve worked on many activations/events – from big Brand Team activations like our JamFest music festival to small solo activations. Seeing solo events through from first ideation to final reporting has helped me learn to communicate better, be more logistically minded and be flexible when facing challenges.

Cultural Awareness – for me, this is the most important skills I’ve developed since joining the programme. BA’s will have different cultural experiences, but I think all leave with a newfound understanding, acceptance and appreciation for other cultures.

Outside of the day job what do you do for fun?

Football, swimming, rock climbing, golf – anything active. There are endless options in Bangkok.

What is your favourite memory from your time on the programme so far?

JamFest is the first Jameson owned music festival in Thailand – 3 stages, 27 artists & a craft marketplace – it was our biggest activation of the year and brought a natural close to my ‘settling in period’ in market. 4,000 people brought together and immersed in all things Jameson. What truly amazes me is the love for the brand and how much the Jameson family motto ‘Sine Metu’ means to people half way across the world

Any tips for anyone applying for the role of brand ambassador?

Be Yourself – this time last year this was the advice I was given – I didn’t quite get it back then but, having been through the application process, now I do. The Jameson International Graduate Programme takes people from all backgrounds – business, nursing, teaching, music etc. The global Brand Ambassador family is full of different personalities with no two the same. There’s no blueprint or specific criteria for what makes a suitable Jameson Brand Ambassador. ‘Serious Character’ can be found within anyone.

Also, don’t be afraid to contact current Brand Ambassadors of the programme – trust me we are only happy to help