Not so long ago in a city not so far away by Carlos Martin
By Maria Sandu on May 29, 2014
This is the story of how the EMEA Presales Center turned an Oracle intern into a trusted technology advisor for both Oracle’s Sales and customers.
It was the summer of 2011 when I was finishing my Computer Engineering studies as well as my internship at Oracle when I was offered what could possibly be THE dream job for any young European Computer Engineer. Apart from that, it also seemed like the role was particularly tailored to me as I could leverage almost everything I learned at University and during the internship. And all of it in one of the best cities to live in, not only from my home country but arguably from Europe: Malaga!
A day at EPC
As part of the EPC Technology pillar, and later on completely focused on WebCenter, there was no way to describe a normal day on the job as each day had something unique. Some days I was researching documentation in order to elaborate accurate answers for a customer’s question within a Request for Information or Proposal (RFI/RFP), other days I was doing heavy programming in order to bring a Proof of Concept (PoC) for a customer to life and last not but least, some days I presented to the customer via webconference the demo I built for them the past weeks. So as you can see, the role has research, development and presentation, could you ask for more? Well, don’t worry because there IS more!
As the organization’s name suggests, EMEA Presales Center, it is the Center of Presales within Europe, Middle East and Africa so I got the chance to work with great professionals from all this regions, expanding my network and learning things from one country to apply them to others. In addition to that, the teams based in the Malaga office are comprised of many young professionals hailing mainly from Western and Central European countries (although there are a couple of exceptions!) with very different backgrounds and personalities which guaranteed many laughs and stories during lunch or coffee breaks (or even while working on projects!). Furthermore, having EPC offices in Bucharest and Bangalore and thanks to today’s tele-presence technologies, I was working every day with people from India or Romania as if they were sitting right next to me and the bonding with them got stronger day by day.
Apart from the research and self-study I’ve earlier mentioned, one of the EPC’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI) is that 15% of your time is spent on training so you get lots and lots of trainings in order to develop both your technical product knowledge and your presentation, negotiation and other soft skills. Sometimes the training is via webcast, sometimes the trainer comes to the office and sometimes, the best times, you get to travel abroad in order to attend a training, which also helps you to further develop your network by meeting face to face with many people you only know from some email or instant messaging interaction.
And as the months go by, your skills improving at a very fast pace, your relevance increasing with each new project you successfully deliver, it’s only a matter of time (and a bit of self-promoting!) that you get the attention of the manager of a more senior team and are offered the opportunity to take a new step in your professional career. For me it took 2 years to move to my current position, Technology Sales Consultant at the Oracle Direct organization. During those 2 years I had built a good relationship with the Oracle Direct Spanish sales and sales managers, who are also based in the Malaga office. I supported their former Sales Consultant in a couple of presentations and demos and were very happy with my overall performance and attitude so even before the position got eventually vacant, I got a heads-up from then in advance that their current Sales Consultant was going to move to a different position. To me it felt like a natural step, same as when I joined EPC, I had at least a 50% of the “homework” already done but wanted to experience that extra 50% to add new product and soft skills to my arsenal. The rest is history, I’ve been in the role for more than half a year as I’m writing this, achieved already some important wins, gained a lot of trust and confidence in front of customers and broadened my view of Oracle’s Fusion Middleware portfolio.
I look back at the 2 years I spent in EPC and think: “boy, I’d recommend that experience to absolutely anyone with the slightest interest in IT, there are so many different things you can do as there are different kind of roles you can end up taking thanks to the experience gained at EPC”