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Amandine Duprez

Please tell us about your career path since leaving Northumbria

Right after leaving Northumbria I went back to France, wrote my dissertation and looked for a job. I really wanted to work as soon as possible. I was done with my studies and was really excited about entering the market place.

Please tell us about your current job and what it involves

Since September 2012 I've been an Account Manager for an IT consulting firm in Paris, called NetXP (from Network and eXPerience, because we are working mainly on Network-related project and our consultants have a high expertise and lots of experience in this field). I am in charge of 3 customers (including two French Banks).

This job has many aspects. Every day is different from the other.

Firstly, I have to develop the business within those firms (answering customers’ needs, canvassing, finding the right consultant for the right need). This job is very fulfilling, I am often outside the office, meeting with customers and consultants.

NetXP was created 10 years ago. The company still has to create its reputation on the market. Most of the time, customers feel more confident with consulting firms that are more renowned and bigger, such as Accenture or Logica. This is also what makes my job very challenging and fulfilling. We really have to convince customers that our company has the best vision and the best consultants to solve their IT problems.

Then, there is also a management side to this job: I have to manage the consultants that are currently on a mission in those companies (6 people) and I don’t only have to sell our services to customers. I also have to sell the mission to the consultants. Sometimes they might not be motivated enough to get involved in a mission. Thus, I have to convince them that this project might be good for their career and for the improvement of their technical knowledge.

In 2013, there are about 55 people working for NetXP, including 50 consultants. We are expanding at a very reasonable rate because we are very careful with the recruitment. The HR team pays a lot of attention to the candidates’ profiles. This selection and the high-quality of NetXP’s profile is what makes the difference comparing to other consulting firms.

Even if it is a “sales-oriented” job, there is also a management part and even an HR one. I often have to think like an HR manager and imagine which consultant would be the more adapted to a specific mission.

There is a great atmosphere here at NetXP. I am getting along very well with all my colleagues. Once a month there is a teambuilding event organised either by NetXP or by one or two employees. We are going to bars or restaurant, there are wine tasting parties and even Poker Nights organised. I've worked here since September but I can already say that some of my colleagues have become my friends.

The only thing that I really miss in this job is that my customers are only French-companies. There are no international relations in this job.

What made you choose Northumbria University?

I chose Northumbria University because a friend of mine studied there for a year. She was part of an exchange programme. She told me that it was the best year of her life. She enjoyed the city, the university, the courses, and the residence. When I told her that I wanted to do my Masters in the UK she immediately told me: Go to Northumbria!

Why did you choose to study in the UK?

I did a Bachelor in a French Business School. During this programme I spent a year in Canada as an exchange student. I really loved studying abroad. I think that you learn so much more when you study in another country: the language of course, but also how to interact with other cultures, how to behave in an unknown environment and how to face challenges. That is why when I had to choose a Masters Degree, I did not want to stay in France. For me, studying in the UK, in addition to this year in Canada, would be a great asset on my CV and a great way to spend my final year of studies!

What was your favourite thing about your course and/or Northumbria University?

I had the chance to study at the Business School, which is located in a brand new building. The facilities are great and I really liked the campus life. It is something that we do not really have in France. I enjoyed going to the library and then meeting friends at Habita. All activities were located in the same place. It was really convenient and it created a great atmosphere.

What societies/activities did you take part in outside of your studies?

I was working for the Alumni Office as a Student Caller. I had to call former students and ask them to help us raise money for the Alumni Fund in order to help students in needs.

It was very interesting and I learned a lot: making so many calls in a language that is not yours is quite difficult, but I really enjoyed it. I got the chance to speak with very nice people.

I also went to different events organised by the Students' Union: concerts, Halloween Party etc.

How would you describe the city of Newcastle as a place to live and study?

Newcastle is definitely a great place to live: you can walk everywhere, the city centre is in a walking distance from the campus. That is great!

It is also a great place to party, even if I wish I had more time for that!

It is also geographically well located: you can easily travel to great places: Scotland, London and the Lake District.

And finally, a great place to study thanks to all the facilities that are provided.

In one sentence, sum up your time here at Northumbria.

I had a great time at Northumbria: I met great people, I had great professors in a fantastic University and Newcastle is a great city!

If you have one, please describe a fond or positive memory of your time at Northumbria

While I was studying at Northumbria I was also working for a French Bakery located in the Grainger Market (the French Oven Bakery, If you have never been, you have to!!). Customers often thought I was the owner of the Bakery because I was French. And they always tried to speak French to me. “Bonjour, Comment ça va?!” It was very funny, because it was always the only same two sentences that they knew!

What professional achievement are you most proud of since leaving university?

I am very happy that I found a job so quickly (I started mid-September). It was a great achievement for me, because many of my friends that stayed in France for their Masters are still looking at the moment.

What career objectives do you still have?

I would like to find a job where I could travel abroad very often and where I would be in contact with people from various countries every day. I once working in the tourism field and I quite liked it. I might want to go back into this industry one day.

How have your experiences at Northumbria University helped your life and career so far?

When employers in France saw that I did my Masters in the UK they were very impressed. The french are quite bad at foreign languages and it is quite rare to meet a bilingual candidate. I think that was one of my main assets on my CV. As I was looking for an account manager position, it showed that I was ready to accept any challenges and that I was not scared of taking risks, both in my career and in my personal life.

What advice would you give students who wish to pursue a similar career to yours?

Communication skills are very important in this career. A good account manager, and from a larger perspective a good salesperson is someone that knows how to communicate. It also includes listening skills.

You will never be able to sell if you do not know what your customer wants first.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about studying at Northumbria University?

Northumbria has many great things to offers: various courses, great professors and brand new facilities. This University is quite well-knowed and if you are a foreign student it is a great asset on your CV.

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