General Manager, William Grant & SonsPaul Marsella

What made you look at the University of Strathclyde as an institution option?

Strathclyde has long been regarded as one of the top technical and engineering Universities in the country. I was aware of how the University linked with industry and researched with many FTSE100 companies.

The location is also an advantage with it being so central within the city.

Why did you choose to study your course?

I shortlisted a few courses, all of which had a creative aspect to them. DMEM, and in particular Product Design Engineering, stood out to me as it offered a well-rounded education which allows for graduates to follow various career paths. With knowledge across design, manufacturing and management the PDE course gives a huge advantage to new graduates as they don’t have to follow a pure design or engineering discipline when starting their careers.

Previous graduates were able to share their experience and careers which validated my thoughts about the course.

What was it like studying in DMEM?

Studying in DMEM feels more like working in a top global company.

The facilities are second to none, staff are truly there to support your development and the classes are engaging and hands on.  There is a real sense of close community and students in different years offer support and guidance to one another. 

What key skills did you learn as part of your studies?

In comparison to other new graduates from other degrees I felt as though I learnt more of the practical and soft skills required to be successful in a working environment. Studies focussing on management methodologies, lean, 5S and CAD/CAM armed me with knowledge which a pure discipline could not have offered.

I believe this allowed me to progress my career faster.

Did you gain any industry experience during your studies?

I carried out two summer placements with Rolls-Royce which allowed me to test some of my new knowledge and understand some of the barriers and challenges faced within industry. I was also able to use this experience to complete university modules and gain credit for the work.

Where has your career gone since you graduated?

I’ve now had the opportunity to work in three companies and two different industries.

Upon graduation I joined Procter & Gamble’s beauty business where we manufactured fragrances for brands including Hugo Boss, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana. In P&G I worked in a variety of roles including process engineer, production manager, project engineer, supply chain leader and operations director.

I have now moved industry to William Grant & Sons were I am the General Manager for our luxury whisky manufacturing site. In this role I have the opportunity to build a factory and business from pretty much a blank canvas. Recruiting a team, setting up a new site and launching new products.

What kind of person would suit a role in engineering/manufacturing?

If you enjoy learning how things work and have a passion for problem solving then you would love a career in manufacturing.  Not one days goes by where I don’t learn something new.

School subjects such as physics, product design, graphics and mathematics are a great place to start if you think you would be interested in working in design or manufacturing. 

What are your ambitions for the future?

I would like to continue to broaden my experience in a variety of roles, industries and functions which would enable me to join a company board and perhaps take a CEO position in the future.

Would you recommend studying in DMEM?

Absolutely, it’s got so much to offer. When you see the variety of careers you can follow and the successes from graduates it is a clear choice.