Confessions of an Oracle CX Technical Consultant
By Maria Sandu on Jul 31, 2014
Hi! My Name is Maria and I am a Customer Experience (CX) Sales Consultant at Oracle UK based in London, one of the most vibrant, energetic and coolest cities in Europe. My journey here has been fun, interesting and full of new experiences.
It’s not unusual to have a recent University grad not know what they want to do right after college and of course that is exactly what happened to me. But let me tell you a secret: you don’t have to! It’s your attitude that really matters. What do you do when have new opportunities in front of you? Do you ignore and walk away from them or do you accept them and welcome change? Like Paulo Coelho would say “The boat is safer anchored at the port; but that’s not the aim of boats” (The Pilgrimage).
I will let you know a bit about myself and my background, so you can understand how I’ve come to be where I am at today. I was born in the US from Spanish parents and grew up between Spain and the US. My father’s career involved us moving every 3 years to a new city. So you can imagine that adapting to change for me is second nature. After finishing high school in Madrid, I decided to go back to the US to study Business Administration and International Business Management. So I am not your typical Engineer or “IT geek” who dreams about a job in IT. After I graduated I honestly did not know what field or industry I wanted to focus on.
When I moved back to Spain I got a job at a big international company where I was working on implementing Siebel CRM. I made really good contacts with Oracle consulting experts and learned to love the product. I realized that my role as a Consultant and my daily tasks were too technical and data entry was not making me happy. So thanks to my Oracle Colleague who referred my CV, in the summer of 2010 I got a call from Oracle. Do you see the trend...the importance of networking and building honest and good relationships?
I joined the EMEA Presales Centre (EPC) in Malaga on November 2010; the weather was still so warm you could go the beach and I joined a small team that soon started to grow, with more young, talented, motivated professionals joining. We all shared the same energy and enthusiasm to learn and prove ourselves. While we were all very different (aside from being each from a different country in Europe) we immediately became friends, we enjoyed traveling and we made sure we didn’t miss any popular events, like the Carnivals in Cadiz or the different Ferias’ in Andalucía. My 3 years in the EPC were full of fun; the atmosphere in the office is always relaxed and outgoing, and yes there is still room for professionalism.
One of my favourite things about Oracle is all the different opportunities to collaborate and volunteer with their “Leadership in Society” program the fact that the company not only lets you take time in your day for helping other but it encourages and supports such initiatives is great. I participated and even coordinated many different events from many different fundraisers; to family fun days with all employees and their friends/family. My favourite was collaboration with the Junior Achievement program, where we went to a local high school and had a session on the importance of education and staying in school, making career decisions, and writing CVs.
Now back to business; our role was to support the Presales teams in the field, so in my case I had to provide support to the team in Madrid and soon grew to also support UK and other English speaking opportunities like the Nordics. We provided back-office support, which consists of answering functional requirements for Oracle’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) suite of products, and creating deliverables for the different customer opportunities. While the field presales consultants are in front of the customers presenting the Oracle solution and building rapport with the customer. But what I found to be a big difference to my previous role and which has made me love my job, is that it’s not Technical even though I’m still a product expert. It’s all about understanding and learning how a product functionally fits a customer’s needs. It is all about knowing how an end-user will USE the product. So with the appropriate product trainings which we received on a continuous basis, a person with no IT background can be a Presales Consultant.
Only two years in my EPC role and thanks to an excellent relationship with the UK field and the advice and support of my mentor and manager, I was offered the position I am in today and switched sunny Malaga for the not so sunny London, to continue growing, learning and living new experiences.