Changing function and changing country, Christian Revilla (click here to see his LinkedIn profile) has done both. A current student at IE in the Executive MBA program, he is happy to share with us some of his experiences in career management.
Christian originally studied system engineering and started work in highly technical functions in Venezuela. Some years later he was a successful marketing manager in Spain. According to him, the key ingredient to make this transition possible was to have a strong sponsor within the company.
What seems like luck at first sight is nothing like that if you look closer. When Christian realized that he would not be happy as an engineer in the long run, he decided to do something about it. “First”, he says, “it is important that you share your desire with others. Especially with your boss. People need to know.” Having discovered that his true passion was with communicating values to clients, he took every opportunity to excel. In particular when there was a chance for client interactions. He went the extra mile whenever possible and took on responsibilities that were much more marketing that they were engineering. This did not go unnoticed and by constantly overachieving, his boss became a strong promoter of him throughout the company.
Having complemented his skills through an MBA, he could then leverage his network to move to the UK, gained insights in several areas within his company and finally started his career as a marketing manager in Spain a couple of months later.
Is it easy to become marketing manager when you are an engineer? No it is not! Engineers are certainly smart enough to pick up the basic skills, but the personal profile usually does not match naturally and there are already an awful lot of people with marketing background out there. So why should recruiters pick the odd egg? Christian’s case proofs that it is possible. But be wary of the fact that it was only the combination of his attitude and some hidden talent with his hard work and full dedication that made this possible.
If Christian had one advice to current IE students, he would probably tell them that a program here is what you make out of it. Try to exchange with other people! If you spend your time alone at home reading books, you might not be doing the best for your career – neither for yourself… He currently lives in Madrid and is highly willing to share his story and insights with anybody who is interested.