Alexander shares on how he got his internship, what he liked most about his school, and how his career changed after graduation.
Alexander Onish MBA 2012 HEC PARIS
Assistant Manager, E-Commerce & Interactive Marketing at L'Oréal - Kiehl's Since 1851
HOW WAS YOUR INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE?
I got an internship through an alumni at a small marketing consulting firm in France. For me, this was the pinnacle of my MBA experience. I had practiced really hard in my French language, I had worked really hard in my marketing classes, and all of my classes frankly, and it was me coming to this marketing consulting firm and being a consultant. I got to immediately work on projects for new clients to win new clients, and to win new business from old clients. I really got to improve my presentation skills from the people who were working there. I learned great ways to present facts and information and ultimately learned that I was not making presentations just for the sake of making a presentation, but for the fact that there’s an end business goal. That’s something that was always said in the classroom. “Yes, there is a business. Yes, there is something to be done.” You want to sell, you want to convince, but in theory, when you’re actually practicing it in a business environment, the stakes are higher. There are actual budgets, and to put this in a context like that was invaluable. For me, it was also a great stepping stone because I wanted to change the industry that I was working in and change the functionality that I was working in. I wanted to learn more about social media and CRM, how to work with more e-commerce platforms and learn how businesses can leverage all of this stuff together. So, I worked with some amazing clients and people during my internship. I had a really great time and the internship definitely helped me get the position that I have today with L’Oreal.
WHAT DID YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL?
There was amazing cultural diversity on campus and we had these amazing cultural weeks throughout the year. During these weeks, one culture would bring in business leaders to talk about how business is done in that country, another culture would prepare traditional foods, there would be arts and crafts from another culture in the middle of the common space, etc. So, when you were on a break between classes, you could practice traditional Japanese calligraphy or you could learn how to make dim sum from my Chinese classmates or you could learn traditional Indian dance. There were so many different things going on during these weeks and each week would end with a big gala. There were about 8 or 9 of these cultural weeks throughout the year. It was a nice way to learn about the way business worked in different countries and I was surprised to find out about the way business life worked in terms of culture of an employee in the company and what things happened after work as well. It was a tremendous amount of exposure to things that I never would have seen in my life and I consider myself someone who has been to a lot of places and have experienced a lot of things. But, I discovered foods that I never tasted, facts that I never learned and films that I never saw. Putting all of these things together, I had a great experience learning about my friends’ heritages, cultures and business cultures in other parts of the world.
HOW DID YOUR CAREER CHANGE AFTER GRADUATION?
Before the MBA, I was working in the music industry in a marketing role. Now, I’m working for one of the luxury brands of L’Oreal doing digital marketing and e-commerce. I started out in the music industry in a very traditional marketing role. It was about getting people to attend concerts and making sure that all the national publications knew about the concerts and managing, in a way, the e-commerce platform of people buying and selling tickets. This was a very basic role. I really wanted to broaden myself with an MBA. In my new role, I’m working in more of a strategic role in the e-commerce perspective, and digital marketing. I never had the confidence or budget to pull-off all of the things that I learned in my old job and always wanted to do. I am now managing a really large budget with great sales goals and I am focusing on growth and how I can help my company meet and exceed our sales goals while also being innovative.
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Main website: http://www.mba.hec.edu/