My career objectives have changed completely: before it was all about money and status, now it’s mostly about making an impact and returning to the community at large.
I was fascinated by the opportunity of investing a year to explore new professional and personal options. I had lived most of my life in the same country and I liked my job in consulting, but it also felt a bit “mainstream”. It was mid-2005 and Steve Jobs had just spoken in front of hundreds of Stanford graduates with the words: “the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” Those words inspired me, and I decided to keep looking.
The MBA opened up a range of new professional and personal options, and still today it continues to be a great asset, thanks to the amazing alumni network globally. It’s not just about faster career progression; in my case, an MBA transformed my career entirely and helped me build international experience. My career objectives have also changed completely: before it was all about money and status, now it’s mostly about making an impact and returning to the community at large.
I currently work in Google’s advertising business. My main responsibility is to build solutions that will allow our clients to fully harness the opportunity of Brand advertising through digital and Google’s products, such as YouTube, Display, Google+, etc. Success in my role would mean that, in a few years down the line, leading companies in APAC will consider Google as the preferred partner to build their brands amongst consumers.
I ended up at Google a few months after I met an INSEAD alumnus who told me about some open opportunities there. I wasn’t really looking for a job but I felt intrigued, so I started to meet people and learn more about Google’s business, mission and culture, which I found refreshing and energizing. In the end, what convinced me to join Google was the quality of the people I met. I wanted to be part of that winning team, so I took the leap. Incidentally, the person who introduced me to Google is now my boss.
When I meet MBA students, they often ask me the same question. There’s plenty of advice out there but obviously there’s no holy grail, so I prefer to offer a different perspective: think of yourself as a brand. There are many brands out there trying to reach the same consumers, and rising above the clutter is very challenging. So think of how you can differentiate yourself, beyond selling your ‘product’ on a standard CV and instead, trying to engage your audience with a distinct brand message about the value you can bring to your target ‘consumer’. And the last thing, make sure you don’t want to work for Google just because it’s GOOGLE, and the same goes for other successful employers out there. Winning brands often succeed because they dare to take less beaten paths.