- Why did you choose to study at CEFAM in the first place?
CEFAM was the only school I applied to get into. I met some of the CEFAM team at a school fair in Southern France, Senior year in high-school. The unique American based program and model, topped by the fact that you have the opportunity to study abroad and graduate from an American University is what drew me towards choosing CEFAM.
When I first applied to get in, I was not accepted due to my poor English. I went to the UK and spent a few months immersed, getting more comfortable with the language, and returned to take the entry exam again, successfully this time. CEFAM truly was the only school that spoke to me.
- What do you remember from your experience at CEFAM?
The involvement of not only the professors, but the staff as well. All following your journey along and helping you in any way they can. From assignments, to internships finding, College recommendation and career goals, the staff and professors were always available to guide me in the direction that made most sense for me and in line with my goals.
- How did your internships help you to progress in your professional career?
Being exposed to the “real world” is invaluable. Turning theory into practice, seeing how crucial basic business knowledge is in the workplace, being faced with challenges other than having a paper due in a couple of days, feeling “the heat” of performing well and earning a paycheck. If I had to give any advice to students looking for internships now, I would try to find an internship that’d challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone a bit – rather than going easy route.
- What is your professional background since you graduated?
After graduating from CEFAM and Temple University in 2009, I worked for a German company in the capacity of Assistant Manager at the Philadelphia International Airport. Because of the company culture, company structure and service we were providing, this position taught me the “getting down and dirty” and ropes of managing people, budgets, and being held accountable for the performance of the location.
I then moved on to managing a US network of installers for my current employer, Endlesspools. I was in this role for a year before moving to Washington DC. In DC I was going through my certification on helping government and corporate buildings get their Green status (through construction stages and then management of the upkeep of the buildings). 9 months later, I was back at Endlesspools after they offered me a newly opened position in the International Sales Department. This position is where I knew “this is where I belong”. I was promoted from International Account Manager to International Business Development Manager after 2 years later. I stayed in the role of International Business Development Manager the next 4+ years.
- What is your current job and responsibilities?
My current title and job is International Sales Manager. I oversee the international sales department for the world leader in aquatic exercise and swimming pool, Endlesspools.
Some of my responsibilities are to drive my team of business development managers and account managers to deliver the results our company has committed to to our parent company, MASCO, a publicly traded company and Fortune 500.
From establishing strategies (including product, marketing, sales, finance and more) to implementing them, working at the macro and micro level is a very exciting aspect of my responsibilities. Going after new markets like China, understanding the culture and what the market can bare, how to go about taking our products to market there, who are the players we want to partner with, and then implementing and auditing the results, is my idea of fun! Managing personnel, assessing risks that could cost millions of dollars to the company are also part of the job.
Things aren’t always pretty, but I got ready for it the 3 years I attended CEFAM. The aggressiveness in the way business is done and companies are run in the US is something that always appealed to me. The CEFAM was a great way to get ready to enter this work environment and culture. If I had to do it all over again, I would!