Current position and company/organization: Key Account Manager at Google
Home/Host School: WU / UoC
Alan was born and raised in Croatia. In 2012 he moved to Vienna and started his Bachelor’s at WU. After graduation, he decided to continue his academic career with the CEMS program at WU and finished his studies successfully in 2017. Alan graduated among the top 1% and received the merit scholarship.
Having attended several internships, he started his professional career at Google and is currently working as Key Account Manager in Dublin.
In which way is your current role different than you expected it to be?
Having worked in SMB part of Google’s sales organization, I expected the role to be very much alike, if not the same. However, working with our large advertisers in so-called LCS, is much more focused on consulting the clients, data analysis and project management than just sales. What’s more, the role itself is defined broadly enough for each of us to do it the way that best suits us, our skills and client’s needs. The role allows people to work on the skills they want to improve or focus more on the types of businesses they are interested in. I would even go so far and say that no two key account managers in LCS actually do exactly the same role the exact same way.
How has your CEMS experience helped you in fulfilling your current role?
The CEMS experience has proven to be a great basis for the role I am currently doing. As mentioned in the previous question, I am very much focused on consulting, data and project management. For example, much like at the university, we start with a clearly defined hypothesis – the difference is that in this case, we have to define the hypothesis ourselves. This is usually the hardest part of the process. Then we move onto analyzing the data (internal data, client’s own data, 3rd party data, etc.), which very much resembles the data gathering during your business project or a case study. The last step, should the hypothesis had been confirmed, is the actual perfecting the outcome and implementing this with the help of the specialist team and resources that are at our disposal. This is the most exciting part and also the part that I was usually missing at the university. And the best part is, it is highly measurable so we know the impact we had.
In addition, I work in a highly international environment with people from diverse backgrounds whose work culture often differs from my own. Hence, having learned how to navigate such an environment and communicate effectively in project groups and externally, makes all the difference. This is crucial for the success of highly complex problems.
Which is your favorite leisure time activity on WU campus (old or new)? (any activities from taking walks to enjoying the Glühweinstand are welcome)
My all-time favorite activity during my student days was day drinking. This is really something that is only possible during the student days. And actually, any time was the right time for it, before a class, after, always. Hence, enjoying a beer either at the Campus or simply getting some drinks from Spar and finding a chill spot to hang out with friends was the best. I also enjoyed the WU Cocktailstand in summers from mid-May, which also seems to be getting longer every year.
Which were your favorite 3 CEMS-moments?
Huh, this is a little bit tougher question since there were so many great moments, which makes it very hard to pick 3 out. If I had to choose, however, I would probably go for (in no particular order) the regional seminar I did in Prague at the very beginning of my studies. I met some great people there some of whom I still keep in touch with.
I would have to name the exchange here as well. It was a great time abroad, I met some extremely interesting and smart people I still see at least twice a year. This was also one of the very few periods in my student life that I actually had the opportunity to enjoy the student life and see how chilled and good it actually can be.
And at the very end comes something that is maybe not directly connected to CEMS, or actually only started once I actually graduated. That is traveling and visiting old friends from across the world in their home countries or somewhere where they are currently based. This network and friendships that I have built during the CEMS time are just priceless.
What has your CEMS experience taught you about life?
Well, I guess the experience confirmed something that I have been at least unconsciously aware for a while – home is where you want it and make it. Having moved 4-5 times in my short 3 semester studies, I have learned to quickly adapt to a new environment, language, culture, and the people. I have realized that people who move a lot usually get exhausted emotionally and start closing off. However, for your move to be as smooth and successful as possible, you have to be open to make new friendships and actually accept the new city and country as your new home. Constantly comparing it to your “real” home won’t do you much good and sooner or later you will be under so much pressure that your move will be unsuccessful and make you unhappy no matter what.
If you started all over with CEMS, what would you do differently?
I have to say that I am in overall very satisfied with how everything went and glad that I studied and worked the way I did.
However, that being said, I do believe that with the knowledge I have now and if I had it back then, I would have paced myself more. There was no reason to aim to finish everything until the end of the third semester and to also have two four-months long internships in between. This has put much stress on me and I packed my semesters with so many obligations that I barely had time to enjoy and socialize with colleagues. In fact, in order to make it all and still have a social life I have changed my sleep pattern so much that I still didn’t manage to get back to at least 7 hours sleep a night even two years later. I was too focused on the fact that I didn’t want to study anymore and that I wanted to be the first one to finish that I completely forgot that not studying also means not being a student anymore.
Last but not least, I wish I had completed my plan to travel the world for 9 months upon finishing my studies in January 2017. But at that time, my desire to kickstart my career and prove myself in the corporate environment was much stronger and I disregarded the fact that it was probably the last chance I had to do something like that.
All in all, I should have been a bit more thoughtful towards myself back then.