Astrid Sabrina Bifulco
Leadership Development Program Analyst at Restaurant Brands International
- Program studied
- Current Location
Q&A WITH ASTRID SABRINA
How did your experience at IEU prepare you for your professional career?
IE gave me a lot – I feel that the two most important things it taught me are to speak up about my thoughts and opinions and to be curious. In class we have always been incentivized to raise our hand, ask questions or provide comments on the lecture or any other relevant topic. This has definitely helped in my professional development as I do not shy away from the possibility of learning, asking questions or providing a new idea which ensures that I do not loose any opportunity to improve myself and my career.
What is the competitive advantage that studying at IEU provides or has provided you?
Having such an international environment, with so many nationalities and people who have lived all over the world. This helped me become more open-minded and has allowed me to be able to approach anyone. Also, presentations greatly helped develop communication skills.
Could you tell us about the application process and how you got your current role?
I was a summer intern at RBI last year and at the end of the 10 weeks program, I got a full time offer. For the internship application, I had to go through several rounds of phone interviews, mainly behavioural and motivational, to then reach a case study interview, regarding marketing and operations. After these steps I got invited to an in-person assessment center with team exercises, a cross panel interview and a final individual interview with the regional director. I flew back home and two days after they already notified me that I was selected. And that’s how my journey at RBI started.
Do you have any advice for IEU students and alumni who are looking to pursue a career in finance?
Finance is such a broad area, I still need to decide where I want to end up. I would advise them to be curious, attend any possible event that IE organizes, network with alumni that are working in the sector and be open-minded about different roles and possibilities.
What skills do you consider are needed to succeed in finance?
Being resilient and hardworking are two very important characteristics in this sector. Moreover, problem-solving and analytical skills are the very basis of this sector.
Tell us about the IEU alumni community and the impact they have had in your life and/or career.
I actually met a lot of IE alumni in my company, Restaurants Brands International, even during my application process. That helped establish a connection with them very easily. Moreover, during my internship application years, I was constantly checking for alumni working in a specific company in order to ask them tips and to get their overall impression on the company culture and the job itself.
Why do you think it’s important to engage with the IEU alumni community?
IE is constantly developing many smart and successful people, and with this alumni community, we can all keep in touch and approach each other for advice, help, tips, or just exchanging ideas.
What skills would you recommend job seekers develop in order to make them more competitive in today’s workforce?
I would say to develop analytical and problem-solving skills. Creativity is important of course, but when you actually face a problem and are able to connect the dots and form a solution, the employers will see you in a different way.
Try to be as versatile as possible. Nowadays it’s very uncommon to do the same job, in the same company for many many years. Try to have different experiences – engage in internships, volunteering experiences, seminars, conferences… try to learn a bit of everything. In that way, you will always feel like you have that bit of experience and knowledge to get that position or task.
What’s the best career advice you have ever been given?
To be resilient. It can happen that you get ready for an application for weeks, study like crazy for interviews, maybe even travel to the actual office, you feel confident about your interview and then… they do not even call back. It’s tough. Especially nowadays. I got various rejections from job applications but I didn’t let that defeat me and continued applying to different organization, while developing my personal and professional profile with knowledge and experiences and, at one point, emails started coming back with interviews and questions. And now I am very happy with my current situation and with my role.
If someone was considering going to IEU, what would you tell them?
I would recommend it 100%. Not only for the academic aspect, that is great of course. But the best thing about IE was the environment. I met so many different people from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. I learned about respect and empathy towards others and their cultures and beliefs. I learned to always be curious about the person next to you, since you could always learn something new and share many different ideas.
Why did you choose the dual degree BBA / BIR program at IE University?
Since I was 14 I wanted to study international relations as my dream was to work in the United Nations. However, I was also very interested in the business side of the world… how multinationals established themselves, how economies are interdependent. I was not able to choose which one was my preferred option and when I found that IE provides the opportunity to do both, I thought, “why not?”
What is one thing you wished you knew, when you were a student?
I wish I did not postpone plans and trips until the very last year, when I started working and a pandemic hit the world!
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