Alumni stories: Planning for a rewarding career after graduation

For Louise Pirlot de Corbion, (MSc International Business 2015) planning and perseverance helped her to secure a rewarding career in the fast-paced IT sector, that has allowed her to progress quickly within a global organisation.

Whether you’re preparing to graduate or planning a mid-career move there is no doubt that finding the right job can be a daunting prospect. Taking time to think about your ambitions and planning your next move can go a long way to helping you achieve a challenging yet satisfying career.

We asked Louise Pirlot de Corbion to reflect on her current role with Gartner Inc, a leading research and advisory firm, where a fast paced environment has allowed her to grow professionally and progress quickly in a rewarding environment.

Here, Louise shares her tips for surviving the job search to find a role where you can truly learn and grow while your career flourishes.

What was your experience of looking for jobs after graduation?

Some of my classmates started working before handing in their dissertation, some straight after that, and others took a few months before starting in their jobs. Job hunting was a true learning experience. It was the opportunity to discover what was out there, learn about different companies, their cultures, roles and industries. However, I found the ocean of information challenging and it took me so time to find the right fit.

What advice would you offer students who are making plans beyond graduation?

Looking for jobs was about asking myself sets of questions. What sector am I interested in? What work do I want to do? What motivates me? What company culture am I looking for? These decisive factors allowed me to narrow down my search and find the right company and culture.

Information Technology (IT) is an ever-evolving and fast paced sector. It defines and affects nearly all companies across sectors and across countries. During my studies at the University of Edinburgh, I was particularly interested in how technology affects business models in frontier markets. Starting my career, I wanted to learn more about IT and be part of an industry that is shaping the way we live. It led me to apply for a client services role at Gartner UK.

If you are currently searching for a job, I would encourage you to identify the sector you are interested in and learn more about the nature of the roles available. It will also give you an understanding of how you can grow and develop your skills over time.

What do you like the most about the role and organisation you are in now?

Gartner is a leading IT research and advisory firm that has over 13,000 associates worldwide. As with many fast-paced environments, you get to learn a lot and progress quickly. Within a year, I moved to a new role in Client Services. Working in Client Services at Gartner means you are ensuring your clients are finding value with their Gartner service. By understanding what they are working on, you can advise them on the actions they can take to get the right answers.

What is great about Gartner is the number of opportunities to learn and grow. It’s a collaborative and diverse environment encouraging you to do your best. You will find many internal opportunities, be it moving to other business units such as consulting, events or moving to another Gartner office somewhere in the world.

I like that the business is constantly moving. As a Client Engagement Partner, I primarily work with unengaged clients across EMEA and across products, which means that I work with technology vendors as well as buyers and technical professionals. I like the diversity of the role and the emphasis on collaboration and knowledge management.

Why do you think you were offered the position?

Gartner seeks employees that can demostrate drive, intellectual curiosity, interpersonal and organisational skills and of course, excellence. During the interview process, I was able to illustrate these traits with examples, which led me to get an offer. Moreover, your interviewers (being recruiters or hiring managers) are assessing your fit within the organisation and the team. Gathering information and understanding the company culture contributed to getting an offer.

What are your goals for the year ahead?

Many companies, like Gartner, are just gigantic teams. For university group projects for example, you and your team would typically discuss the project, elaborate a plan, assign the tasks and everybody contributes to the output. At Gartner, I witnessed how every employee has a critical role in creating and delivering that output: helping clients across industries to make the right decisions at the right time and cost effectively.

My goal is to continue supporting the organisation’s priorities and challenges as well as widening and deepening my IT knowledge. I want to learn more about specific domains such as Data & Analytics and Security and widen my understanding of the role of IT within sectors.

What would you like to achieve in your future career?

In the near future, I would like to support clients within a specific industry or domain and develop my knowledge in that field. I want to understand the evolving drivers of change and their interdependencies within our societies and international business. In the long-run, I would like to help clients solve their biggest challenges on a global scale.