Where did you grow up? What has been one of the most important stages of your life?
I grew up 50 minutes west of Melbourne in Bacchus Marsh and have always had to travel quite a bit for school, sports and university between the city and Ballarat.
My favourite and probably the most impactful stage of my life was my experience studying abroad while at university. This was a four-month experience, predominantly in Beijing, at Peking University. Being placed in a foreign environment in a completely different culture was great. This led to a solid understanding of what will become the largest economy, and places me in good stead no matter what career path I continue down.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
Broadly, I think the reasons I got my role are threefold.
Firstly, I’d clearly shown I was brought into the company’s long-term direction. A company is more willing to invest time in you and your development, if they believe you will be there long-term.
Secondly, I showed a strong fundamental interest in what they do now. If you can connect the vision of the company to the day-to-day of the role, you will always be motivated to work hard.
Lastly, I needed to be a culture fit. This can be broken down into a few facets, but essentially it is a drive to continually improve yourself as a person, shown through initiative in other positions, leadership roles within local communities, at university or in sports teams, and so forth. This also includes the ability to understand what your weaknesses are and times where you’ve failed, and what you’ve done to improve on this for next time.
I have just ticked over a year at the company, and am really excited for the year ahead.
How did you choose your specialisation? Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
Almost all commerce and business students dream of working at a Big 4. To begin with, I was no different. Having particularly strong results at university, I knew it was an option to explore. However, I went for sales at a global tech company and haven’t looked back. Here is a quick snapshot into why.
I decided pretty early I’d rather progress quickly in a role I enjoyed, have global travel as an option early in my career, and – if I worked hard – flexibility to enjoy all other aspects of life (sports, socialising, weekends, etc) rather than spend a decade moving up the chain at a Big 4.
Another thing to seriously consider is the role that disruptive technology is having on the workforce and the jobs of the future. Being confident in choosing a role that would future proof myself, to an extent, was really important.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
The interview process was rigorous and really challenging. There were a lot of opportunities to decide if the company was a good fit for me, and if I was for the company.
There were many behavioural and situational questions, but it was a great chance to meet the faces of Meltwater that they put forward to make an impression on you.
You will get stumped on a few questions, but it is important to quickly take on your feedback and improve for the next question. The company hires on potential rather than experience, so don’t worry if you make any mistakes – but steer clear from them if possible! Most people get jobs at Meltwater straight from university and they completely understand the position you are in.
What does your employer do?
Day to day, Meltwater is the largest media and social intelligence provider globally. Currently, the company services across every industry you could think of – big names like Google, Amazon and Alibaba, to large finance and law firms and government, down to small NFPs.
Over the next few years and decade, this will change though. The company has been up against other global tech giants in the race to acquire AI tech start-ups, which is really exciting. We are at the forefront of educating different industries on how to make better business decisions by looking at different types of external data together, rather than in isolation with internal data.
What are your areas of responsibility?
I am responsible for bringing on new clients – the entire process from start to finish. This includes finding new businesses to approach, cold calling typically into Marketing or Communications departments, aiming for directors or C-suite executives.
From here we book meetings to pitch new ideas and solutions to them – even as a fresh grad! The exposure to every industry and learning what issues impact their business objectives, quickly provides you with a well rounded understanding of all businesses.
After this, we typically negotiate contracts and roll outs, and then start working on the next new client.
I think it is worth mentioning that before entering the roll I did a bit of research on similar roles. It never looked as though somewhere with such a large global presence would give such responsibility to a fresh graduate so early in their career.
Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?
A typical work day will have a similar structure, but a very different substance every time.
Working across news and social media I have a really keen interest in current affairs, so the day usually starts with checking the news. This will help inform which new business I should talk to throughout the day, based on which businesses will be impacted by what I have read.
After trying to book new business meetings, we typically liaise with our team to discuss the exciting things everyone is working on, to share ideas so that we can be best informed for the meeting we have during that day.
The things I worked on today include building a compelling pitch to a political party to come on as a client before the federal election, and following up with the Australian head of marketing at a global telco company.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
There are a large number of career prospects within the company, and externally as well.
Internally, the organisation is scaling significantly across new business, account management and client strategy, in different business divisions across every continent. Also, with a lot of recent acquisitions and new, large government contracts, we are creating new business lines and client specialisations that didn’t even exist when I joined the company just over a year ago. I have already seen many people who have been with the company for 2–4 years transfer internationally, and others come to Australia.
Externally, from what I can gather, is really great as well. The responsibility you are given at such an early stage in your career isn’t really the same anywhere else. So of the couple of people that have moved on externally in my time at Meltwater, they have transferred to relatively more senior positions than they would have been in, and accelerated their career a lot by starting at Meltwater.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Absolutely. Simply, you just need to be smart and good with people. I work with people that have finance, neuroscience, accounting, marketing, legal and arts backgrounds. Ultimately you’d just need to be able to demonstrate that you can learn quickly and have a passion for sales and the company vision.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I was only 20 when I received the job offer from Meltwater. So honestly, I would probably still be studying a double degree or master’s degree if I wasn’t doing what I am now. I was always drawn to econometrics and business statistics; it was the interest in using data and information to make better, rational decisions. Fundamentally that is a big aspect of what I do now, so I imagine that after finishing further study, it would have been something similar.
What do you love most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?
Hands down it is the people I work with. They are all young people who are extremely driven, really smart and love to socialise. It is a bit weird telling mates that I grab a beer with everyone I work with – they don’t really get it. If you decide to interview at Meltwater, I am sure that after meeting a few people who might be in your team, you’d agree.
The tasks I enjoy the most are those that clearly generate a tangible outcome. Everyone has targets and smashing them feels amazing, but because of the flat structure, there are a lot of opportunities to show leadership, which is just as rewarding.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Are the stress levels high?
Something that restricts the progression of my job is just that you get out what you put in.
Sales is quite unique relative to other fields, because you determine how you spend your time, what you work on, and how you learn fastest. Given this, there is a lot of responsibility to perform well and become autonomous in your team as quickly as possible, so you can start coaching others.
Do I have to work on weekends? Not a chance. To live the lifestyle I wanted, I made sure that I chose a place that would make me work hard Monday–Friday and have the weekend for myself, my sports, mates, etc. That being said, you get out what you put in. So if you did want to go above and beyond, it is up to you how you spend your time. There is a big focus on prioritising how you spend your time, so you never feel you need to do work on the weekend anyway.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?