By Jessamy Baldwin
Being artist liaison for Wiz Khalifa at the O2 for Culture Clash, assisting athletes at an extreme cliff diving event or organising an immersive theatre production through the backstreets of Soho – these are just a few of the tasks assigned to 21-year-old Guernsey boy Jean-Paul Baudains, a UWE university student brand manager for Red Bull.
Business and Marketing student JP applied for the job in his second year of university, but with such tough competition for the SBM roles – available across universities in the UK – he never thought he would land one.
‘I first heard about the job when I was still at school. A friend of mine was working for Red Bull at the time and he told me all about it – what he’d been able to do, people he’d been lucky enough to meet and events he’d run through the work. It all sounded pretty amazing and right up my street.
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‘I liked the brand anyway and it just seemed like a great opportunity. I felt it was something that would really give me purpose rather than just working in a bar during my days off at uni. It was about working to gain life experience and I took it on just to see where it could take me.’
There are a number of different aspects to being an SBM, he explained.
‘There’s the university side of things which involves brand personality hacks (quirky ways of giving people a can of Red Bull and giving them the message to work hard this year e.g. placing cans around the library for people working late), third party event support (putting Red Bull fridges or speakers in the artists’ or athletes’ changing rooms or around big events) and then direct working of the big branded Red Bull events – and that’s what everyone wants to do.
‘Whenever I’ve had the chance to work those major events, I’ve put in 110%. They range from an immersive theatre production through the backstreets of Soho to cliff diving in Wales.
‘This job changes every day. One day I could be artist liaison for Wiz Kalifa and the next day you could just be carrying a crate of red bull cans across university. Working at the cliff diving has been a major highlight. The respect you have for the athletes is crazy. You can’t even understand how they are able to do what they do and it’s incredible to watch that absolute determination and sheer bravery.’
Now in his final year at university, JP has truly pushed the boundaries of what it means to achieve something ‘outside the box’ at University.
‘It’s not just about good grades. Yes they are important, but so are memorable experiences and lasting friendships. That’s what I’ll look back on and Red Bull has been a bit part of that.’
He said he found himself lacking inspiration in his first year of university.
‘In my first year, I’ll be honest and say that I was quite bored. You have work and lectures, but there is also a lot of free time and it wasn’t a good feeling to be twiddling my thumbs. I wanted to ‘get moving’ with my life. Having this job whilst I’ve been at uni has kept my mind focused on what I need to achieve in my day, kept me organised and given me something to strive for outside of exams and essays.’
Whilst proud of his achievements, JP remains humble and is constantly setting himself goals for the future.
‘For me… this has been the best thing that could have happened to me at this age and I want to use everything I’ve learnt in my future career and life generally.
‘It’s given me so much more confidence to speak my mind and speak in front of other people. It’s also transformed my ability to organise myself and solve problems. It’s one thing to work to a deadline at uni, but when there is real business at stake, you hold yourself even more accountable.
‘I’ve also tried to bring the people around me into the job as well. So my girlfriend Libby comes to a lot of events and I’ve had other friends come along too. I’ve also got to know the people at Red Bull and I’ve made lasting friends there, which is something I really value.’
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Being an SBM isn’t suited to only one type of person either, he added.
‘I’ve met so many people who have the same job as me in different parts of the country. The job can be done well by so many different people, whether you’re quieter or more outspoken, there is a way for you to shine.’
After finishing his degree this summer, JP is planning to ‘get out in the world’ again – having caught the travel bug on his gap year back in 2014.
‘I took a year out before university where I worked for an IT company, taught sports in Fiji and travelled across Australia, Thailand and Bali. I’m itching for another adventure! This time I’m planning to go to Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South America, but who knows where the trip may take me.’
After his trip, JP plans to start a four year Professional Yacht Cadetship – based in the Isle of Wight. As a gifted surfer, talented wakeboarder and keen sailor who grew up navigating Guernsey waters and tides, it comes as no surprise that his love for the sea has shaped his professional dreams.
‘It involves nine months tuition, after which I’ll move on to working on superyachts as a deckhand. That will allow me to gain sea miles to get the necessary qualifications,’ he said. ‘It’s always been my dream to work on boats and at sea. It’s where I feel at home.’
JP said his aspirations for the future are more based on being ‘happy’ rather than financial fulfilment.
‘I don’t think money will ever make me “happy”, as it were. Not to sound cliché, but as long as I have a strong network of family and friends and I’m living with a smile, I’ll see myself as a success.
‘As long as you’re happy you’re successful in my eyes.
‘Don’t do what you think you should do or what someone tells you to do, because you’ll go to bed each night wondering… what if?’
When he’s not working for Red Bull or studying, you’ll find JP either surfing, skateboarding or playing with the nearest dog or cat. Any will do!
Follow his adventures on Instagram @jp_baudains