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Life After College: Meet Maria and Mona

31 March, 2016

If you are or know a soon-to-be college graduate, you are well aware of the world of cover letters, resume edits, and interview preparation. So, what happens when you get through it all and land your first job? I recently sat down with Maria and Mona, two grads and early career professionals, to discuss life after graduation and their developing careers at CEB. Both Maria and Mona started their careers with CEB in member support roles.

If you could go back in time to graduation, what advice would you give yourself as you started the job search?

Maria: I think the advice I would give myself would be not to worry so much. I think a lot of recent graduates have a good idea of where they want to be, but they may not have an open-minded outlook on all of the opportunities that may be available to them. And I think it’s important to keep an open mind about what looks interesting and the experience you’d like to gain right off the bat, and then build on that initial role.

Mona: Take it easy and be patient, and everything will fall into place eventually. I like having a plan set in place, so job searching after college was not very fun at first, with so much unknown or undecided. I was really stressed out and nervous after graduation—a lot of people are—but as you start getting to know the process more, it becomes easier. It comes with time, so there is no need to worry endlessly about the lack of a plan. Just put your best efforts forward, and keep at it.

How would you describe CEB’s culture?

Maria: I would describe it as engaging. I feel very connected to CEB, very optimistic, and I feel like myself and everyone I work with is very enthusiastic. I think everyone is really dedicated to provide the best possible product and the best possible service that we can. It’s nice working for a company where we all work as a team. The aspect of teamwork is very strong at CEB.

Mona: Innovative, young, and unafraid of change. I was encouraged to contribute ideas and share my opinion on how we work and how efficient we are. People at CEB are not afraid to take on a new work system or take on change, and that can be seen through their openness to feedback. I have also seen a lot of colleagues adapt remarkably well to change.

What advice would you give to new CEBers?

Maria: Challenge yourself to ask questions. Even if I think I know what the answer is, I always try to ask questions just to clarify and solidify everything I’m learning. I think everyone here is also so friendly, that we can help each other grow, and asking questions is a great way to help yourself and your colleagues develop.

Mona: Take the opportunity to get to know people—as many people as possible. Whether it be at orientation, on your floor, or through company events, strive to understand your department’s place and value within CEB. Luckily, I had a lot of people approach me, which encouraged me to be more outgoing and friendly with others. And it was through meeting others that I also began to understand the context of my role and my department’s place within CEB.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve taken away from your current role so far?

Maria: The power of positivity: a positive outlook on the challenges you face can help build momentum and enthusiasm, which can help drive results. I think having a positive attitude helps develop the culture of asking questions to lead to professional growth. It encourages people to be approachable and open with one another.

Mona: I think the biggest lesson I have learned so far is to be persistent and keep your motivation up when facing a challenge. Being faced with challenges in your career can feel like you’re hitting a wall at first, and it’s up to you see it as an opportunity for growth and development. Those are the best lessons learned—the ones that take place when you motivate yourself to turn a problem into a challenge.

What is your favorite aspect of your role?

Maria: My favorite thing about my role is helping my team and helping our members. From questions about research, to helping members get on our sites, to helping my team become more familiar with our products or protocol, I enjoy helping people.

Mona: Every now and then I will speak with a member who is thrilled with the level of service we provide, who is enthusiastic about our products, who asks the right questions and really draws value from what we offer. Those are some of my favorite moments, knowing I helped with a project, deadline, task, skill, or challenge in their career, and that it was because of our service that they were able to come a little closer to reaching those goals.

I also have felt very recognized by other departments at CEB. It’s encouraging to know your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed and you work with people who want to celebrate hard work and accomplishments together.

CEB Maria
CEB Mona

Interested in starting your career at CEB? We are looking for driven, intellectually curious, and service-minded graduates to join our team. Apply today or check out our global career map to explore job openings near you.

About the Author: Karen Devigili is an associate on our Global Communications and Engagement team; she started her CEB career in 2014 in a member support role. Karen is a 2013 graduate of the University of Mary Washington.


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