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Sherif Aoun

Alumni Story

Sherif, a Lebanese alumnus, graduated from the Business Administration program in 2019. After completing eight internships throughout his undergraduate degree, this multilingual Strategist is currently working at Google’s European headquarters as a Strategic Partner Manager.
POSITION

Strategic Partner Manager, Mobile Apps at Google

Current Location

Dublin, Ireland

Nationality

Lebanese

Program & Graduation

BBA 2019

Q&A WITH SHERIF

Tell us about the IEU alumni in Dublin and the impact they have had in your life and/or career:
It’s great to have so many IEU alumni in Dublin! We meet up pretty often for dinners, drinks or to go out. And the fact that we’re all spread across the biggest tech companies makes it really interesting, as we often bring friends from work and network altogether!

Why do you think it’s important for you to engage with the IEU alumni community?
Having studied at IE makes us all share quite a few commonalities. It’s always nice to remember our university days and our experience at IE – this definitely is a strong bonding point for all of us! Also moving to a new city might feel overwhelming at the beginning, but knowing that there are IEU alumni there, makes the whole process smoother and more exciting – and this was exactly what happened in our case.

How did you land your current position?
I interned at Google over the summer and was offered a full-time position as a result. I’d say IE definitely made available all the resources that ultimately enabled me to join Google. There was a big focus around tech and innovation in most of our classes, which helped a lot. On top of that, the focus on internships, exchange programs, and extracurricular activities ultimately contributed, not only to shaping my CV and getting it noticed by Google’s Internship Recruitment Team, but also in having developed the necessary skills to succeed in the business and tech world.

What advice would you give to IEU students and alumni who are looking to pursue a career in the tech industry?
The tech industry is constantly changing and evolving, which is why it’s key to be versatile and quickly adapt to change. It’s important to benefit from your university years to try out as many things as possible, and always grasp the opportunity when it’s presented to you, be it an exchange opportunity, internship, joining a university club or team etc. This leads me to my second piece of advice: build a profile that you’d want to hire, and definitely start working on it ASAP. Even if you get an internship in a role that you’re not extremely passionate about, give it a try, learn new skills and build your CV! At the end of the day, it’s only for a short period of time, and the pros in the long-run definitely outweigh the cons. This can sometimes be hard but – as cheesy as this sounds – you have to make sacrifices in order to get to where you want.
In my case, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was still at university. I wasn’t sure if I liked Marketing, Finance, Consulting, or Tech. So, I tried them all. Every summer, since 1st year I did internships in different types of companies (start-ups, multi-nationals, family-owned, etc.), in different fields and different countries. So, when I reached my fourth year and was looking for an internship, it was easier for me as I had not only been used to doing interviews (which I used to stress a lot about a few years back), I also had a strong profile.
And don’t forget to make use of all the resources IE makes available and of the IE network globally: the tools are there, but it’s up to you to take action!

What skills do you need to succeed in Sales and Strategy?
I’m currently working in Google’s Partnerships organization, which is a combination of sales, strategy, and relationship management. To succeed in sales, you need to be empathic and put yourself in the shoes of the person you are talking to. It’s also extremely important to think about the client’s culture. I’m currently managing three markets that are totally different from each other: France, Spain, and Middle East & North Africa. You have to have a distinct approach that goes along with their mindset and cultural background and find common ground. Thankfully, spending the last four years studying at IE, with peers from all over the world, and interning in different countries taught me a lot about that. As for strategy, thinking long term and having an overarching approach before diving deeper into the “hows” is key. Ask as many questions as possible and think about all the potential outcomes: how is the market behaving? How is the industry behaving? Is this a short-term or long-term trend? How would consumers perceive it? Being part of a team definitely helps seeing the bigger picture, it’s a sense-check and keeps you from getting blinded by your ideas.

If someone was considering going to IEU, what would you tell them?
Don’t think twice about it. You’ll have the best four years, filled with unforgettable memories. A global environment, a fun, yet challenging approach to education and loads of opportunities presented to you. And being in Spain just tops it all off, amazing weather, food, people, and nightlife! It’s safe to wrap it up by saying that IE isn’t just a university like any other where you would just take a class in a massive auditorium and leave, it’s a family that you will keep being a part of even after graduation!

TO CONTACT SHERIF, CLICK HERE.