Nolan Russell '13
What are you currently doing for work and how did you get there?
I am the Northeast Account Manager for Crosby Hops, and have been since Aug. '18. I graduated UNH early in December of '13. From there I got a one-year master's in international business degree from Hult International Business School in Cambridge, Mass. I graduated froom that program in August of '15. From there I went straight into the craft beer industry solely out of passion and also wanting to work my way up the ladder to a sales position within the industry. In a matter of three years, I worked for four different breweries and climbed the ladder: bar staff, cellarman, assistant sales rep, sales rep and now regional manager.
How did your education in COLA prepare you for life after college?
Learning a foreign language helped me embrace making mistakes and putting myself out there. It also developed my confidence in speaking with people for the first time, and learning to let my guard more often. In doing so, especially during my study abroad in Vienna, I found myself being more open to initiate conversation, knowing that I will make mistakes, but still presenting myself in a genuine and honest way. Through learning German and studying abroad, it really put me in my place. I started to think before I spoke/acted, and tried to put myself in other peoples shoes more often.
What person most influenced you while at UNH?
Professor Frank in the German Department for sure. He's retired now but definitely got me invested in my degree. He lived through The Fall of the Wall and learning about that from someone who experienced it first-hand is something that not many people can experience. He challenged me to get my head in the game and take the deep dive: learn from mistakes, have confidence and invest yourself.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known while at UNH?
I wish I would have known that its OK to feel the pressures of post-college life, and its perfectly fine not to give in to those pressures. I felt like I had to have a job lined up or grad school ready to go for right after graduation. This is great if you do have it lined up, but especially now in the current industry I am in, its very much like climbing a ladder. You have to start at the bottom and work your way up, regardless of your education. I stressed tremendously about my next steps post-graduation. But looking back, there was no need. Everything worked out, and I am in a great spot that I never want to leave; I have a dream job!
What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
In the beer industry, people have all types of degrees: special ed, engineering, English, medical, etc. This industry is largely full of people who want to be here based on passion rather than just because they have a degree. There are limited brewing programs in the country and I am so proud to say UNH has one. In terms of being in sales, I highly advise networking. It's a broad term, but I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for networking. Put yourself out there, meet new people, go to events and be a social butterfly. You never know who you will meet. In my case, someone who helped me start my beer career.