My name is Kate Guimaraes and I worked in architecture for several years before I decided to take an MBA at IESE Business School in Barcelona.
When I started the MBA I wanted to pursue a career in strategy but wasn’t sure which industry to follow between consulting, tech or real estate. I decided to attend all the events of both consulting and tech clubs and practice many case interviews with my peers as I thought it would be a good preparation for any of these areas. I was not very familiar with the tech industry but the MBA has opened the doors to opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
The more I learnt about the jobs in tech, its fast moving culture and innovation environment, the more I got interested in this area. Fortunately I was offered an internship at Facebook in London (where I was living before my MBA) and I feel that this was the choice that best suited my interests and skills. This is a brief recollection of my experience.
Having no previous experience in tech, strategy or advertising, I soon felt an immense impostors’ syndrome as I didn’t know if I had the skills to perform the job. What surprised me the most about this experience was how supportive everyone was and invested in my success.
When you start at Facebook you immediately feel part of the family. There are sessions to make you feel integrated in the company culture and people are very curious to know more about you. I learnt that having impostors’ syndrome is quite common and people usually talk about this to give you confidence.
As a Product Marketing Manager (PMM), I worked with the brand advertising team to understand the business opportunities and the market fit for the products we build. PMMs are the voice of the market into product and the voice of product in the market. My project entailed looking at growth within small and medium businesses and the highlight of it was a customer immersion in Austin (Texas) where I had the chance to interview some clients. I had to meet with several stakeholders – sales teams, data scientists, engineers- to understand how the clients were segmented, quantify the opportunity gaps and discuss product improvements.
I had never worked on this field before, but my colleagues and manager helped me to leverage the skills I gained from previous work experience and business school. Some things came easier than others. As an architect I felt comfortable in communicating my project in a very visual and structured way and presenting my work to the team. The marketing and strategy classes I had on my first year at IESE were also crucial for me to think in business terms and succeed in such a short period of time.
Not having a consulting or business experience before can be challenging. You’ll need to show analytical skills but this shouldn’t refrain anyone from applying to a role as a PMM. I believe that structured thinking comes in various forms and is present in many professions, whether in using numbers, drawing lines or writing reports.
Overall, the experience was extremely positive. I enjoyed every moment of it – the project I was given, the team and all the people I met. Everyone is really smart and incredibly giving of their time. On a social level, Facebook promotes various team interactions. You get involved in discussions about future development of the company, go out with your team for a boxing class and dinner at a nice restaurant. We get to know about each others projects but also about our backgrounds, the last holidays and some funny and weird hobbies.
I hope this experience encourages other students from non-traditional backgrounds to use the MBA platform at IESE to apply for the jobs in tech. All you need is passion for this area and be willing to embrace the challenge.
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