Alison Smith

Alison Smith

MA Culinary Arts Management 

Developing rice, grains and legumes for the global Uncle Ben’s brand is all in a day’s work for Alison, who had her big break into the food industry at UCB.

Because of UCB’s industry contacts, Alison was able to network with key figures in product development during her course and was offered an internship by Mars Foods.

Writing her dissertation on the use of tomato paste in Mars Foods’ Italian portfolio, she went on to develop cooking sauces for Mars as a contractor and is now relishing her permanent job developing products for, mainly, the company’s Uncle Ben’s brand.

“Being a product developer embodies everything that drives me,” she said. “I love planning, project management, cooking, creativity and working to deadlines. It is amazing to see a product you made rolled out to the factory and into the supermarket.

“I chose UCB because I really liked the course structure. In the product development module, I met people from Unilever, Mondelez and Vend 24, all great opportunities to network and start building contacts. The project management module gave me an opportunity to work on a project for a real client and my team even won an iPad each.

“The advice I would give to a student thinking of taking my course is, if you can, take advantage of any opportunity to do a placement. I didn't have any scientific qualifications and my own work placement at UCB helped me to break into the industry.

 “Go to all your lectures, go to every training session, every networking event and give it 100%. When I met my mentor from Mars, six people had been invited to the session. Only three of us turned up and I was one of them. That day changed my life.”

 

"I love planning, project management, cooking, creativity and working to deadlines. It is amazing to see a product you made rolled out to the factory and into the supermarket."

Alison Smith
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