You might’ve studied abroad in college, but have you ever considered working abroad? After a few years as an Associate in AlphaSights’ London office, Jonathon Buck saw an opportunity to help grow the information services firm’s San Francisco office. Now, he’s been working in SF since January 2017, helping grow the company’s accounts there.
It’s all part of AlphaSights’ Global Specialist program. After two years with the company, Associates can apply to work in one of eight international offices (San Francisco, New York, London, Hamburg, Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul) for anywhere from 18 months to three years.
Read on for Jonathon’s experience with the program so far, then head over to WayUp and apply to start your career at AlphaSights.
What drew you to AlphaSights’ San Francisco office, specifically?
The San Francisco office in particular was an opportunity to grow something from the ground up. The thing I enjoyed most about AlphaSights’ London office was that it was a lot smaller when I joined. The overall approach at AlphaSights is that if you can present a business case and it makes sense, nine times out of ten, they’ll make it happen for you. It’s clear that the management team cares about the development of young professionals and they’re willing and able to support and challenge them as much as possible.
How did your role change from an Associate in the AlphaSights London office to a Specialist in the San Francisco office?
In the Associate role, you do a bit of everything. The Specialist role has become an evolution of that. I have much more time now to dedicate toward account management and thinking more strategically about accounts. When you’re an Associate, you’re responsible for delivering our core product to your clients and 75 percent of the role revolves around that for the first two years. For the Specialist role, account management is 25 or 30 percent of my time and the other 70 to 75 percent is now filled with general management and putting in place ways to grow our accounts.
How has AlphaSights made you feel at home while working in another country?
I think the main thing that makes it work is the people. Making me feel welcome is definitely a testament to AlphaSights and the quality of people we hire everywhere. It would be very different, especially in a small office, if everyone was in a drastically different place in their lives and it wasn’t a fun place to work. Everyone here has been fantastic at helping me fit in and giving me the resources and information to help me out.
What have been the most valuable aspects of the program so far?
It’s a combination of things: just moving countries for the first time is a good personal experience, but it’s also about putting yourself out of your comfort zone. I was pretty comfortable with what I was doing in London and I needed a fresh challenge. The culture is slightly different, so I’ve had to make the adjustment, build on my skillset and learn different things. From the outside, the work we do in San Francisco is not so obviously different, but it is different in terms of the client base and the actual deliverables. I’m still learning new tricks after doing the job for two years!
How can someone decide if the Specialist program is right for them?
It’s worth thinking about where you are in your career and what you’re looking to do at that point in time. Looking back, I think I made the right choice. I wasn’t ready to take a manager role, and this has let me do one more year of more commercial work, focusing on client relationships and building the business. It also gave me an extra year to build my management skills for when I do hopefully become a manager.
What advice do you have for someone who’s applying to a job at AlphaSights and interested in working for an international office?
The main thing is attitude. It’s a major decision and I think everyone underestimates the culture shock. You’ve got to be in it for the long haul and recognize that the first three to six months may not be the most comfortable thing in the world, but it certainly improves with time. Reflecting on the first six months, I can see that my personal and professional growth have skyrocketed.
You can also maximize your time in the Specialist program by being open to new things. The program relies on everyone approaching it with the mindset that they can learn from their colleagues in different offices.
See yourself thriving in AlphaSights’ Global Specialist program? Employees are eligible to apply after their second year as an Associate, so head over to WayUp and check out their open positions now.