My journey from studying at WBS to working at Google
05 February 2018
Edouard Chopinaud shares his experience of studying BSc Management with an placement year in Canada and explains how his time at WBS has helped him progress in his career.
I was born and raised in the north of France and have always been deeply attracted by British culture. As a kid, I used to disassemble computers and resell their components for profit. Later, I opened my first share account at 13 to bet on technology companies I followed. I was lucky enough to know from a young age what career I wanted to pursue and combining my passion for technology with my taste for entrepreneurship has been my chosen career path.
Warwick Business School (WBS) was the perfect place to complement my practical experience with cutting-edge theoretical knowledge and bring my skillset to the next level. Given my passion for technology, a fast moving sector, I was naturally attracted by Warwick’s forward-thinking view. Looking back, the initiative to apply to the University of Warwick has been one of the best decisions of my life so far. The Warwick Business School experience has indeed far surpassed my expectations by providing much more than mere academic knowledge.
What did you enjoy most about studying at WBS?
Warwick provides everything you need in order to improve yourself. The campus that we call the “bubble” is everything but a claustrophobic experience! The international openness as well as the numerous opportunities offered by WBS are endless.
At WBS I studied management and enjoyed the multidisciplinary aspect of the course given the wide flexibility given to students regarding their module choices. For instance, I had the opportunity to study a module within the Computer Science Department.
Additionally, I was given the chance to go on a year abroad. I chose to spend this at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. There I decided to study silent movies, creativity, design thinking and new product development. These allowed me to think differently and paid-off when I applied my new skills while working with Samsung during six months to design a new smartwatch.
Did you do any form of placement or summer internship while you were here?
Work experience is a crucial chance to stand out from the crowd. I worked at Orange, IBM, and Microsoft and I believe it definitely played a role for my future career. I learnt how to complete a project from scratch and work within teams alongside other inspiring people. It was also a chance to challenge and learn about myself. The help proposed by the WBS Careersplus team is precious: checking your CV, providing an external eye on things, interviews training. Additionally I relished the opportunity to attend the numerous career fairs where you exchange directly with companies and alumni.
What inspired you to follow a career in technology?
My desire to pursue a career in the technology sector comes from a desire to tackle complex problems. All I ever wanted is to have an impact so my actions and work can have a positive influence on people's lives.
The numerous societies on campus can support you, there are so many to choose from such as: Warwick Entrepreneurs, Warwick Coding, Warwick Tech and even Warwick Rocket. I joined the Warwick Business School Society (WBSS), the largest independent society on campus, as a Corporate Exec - I was able to organise an office visit to the IBM HQ in London, where we had a privileged access to their artificial intelligence platform. The record number of societies that you can either join or work for is the backbone of a system where students take part and become their own stakeholders.
What has your career journey been like since graduating?
Graduation was an interesting experience full of mixed feelings - a moment I was looking forward to but also dreaded! This is because I truly loved my time at Warwick, I did not want it to end. I graduated in July 2017 when I was already working at Microsoft Ireland. In August, I did 4 weeks of intensive coding training at the School 42 in Paris, which similarly to WBS, is a very innovative institution.
Whilst at Microsoft I was approached by Google in September to work as an Account Manager. This involves helping and coaching businesses to grow with Google and YouTube advertising. The main aspect I love about my work is that I can contribute to the success of my clients while learning extensively about their industries and products.
A more personal story is that I had the chance to follow and advise my father on how to sell his company very recently. The finance and strategic modules that I took at WBS allowed me to understand the business and to demonstrate some empathy towards the buyers in order to sell better. This process was long and complicated on several levels, but ended up being a rewarding experience.
You are just starting your job at Google – what skills did your course teach you that have benefited you throughout your career?
Google is an amazing company that will always challenge the status quo. A fresh outlook and the ability to think outside the box are required. If a company rests on its laurels, it will simply be another one biting the dust!
My module choices at WBS were multidisciplinary and as such I realise now that I look at global problems from numerous perspectives every day. The constant exposure that you have during lectures, seminars, breaks or parties to different cultures with peoples from very different backgrounds leads to creative and innovative thinking.
What advice would you give to current/prospective WBS students on how to make the most of their time here?
I believe the key is to take pleasure in what you do, simply because it would be much harder to be good at something you do not enjoy. I always valued quality over quantity as I found that skimming the surface is often pointless. I think that the ability to go in depth gives you a competitive advantage as you want to be unique and valued, but not replaceable.
When it comes to leadership and authority, millennials are rewriting the rules. One of my favourite thinkers Michel Serres described a shifting of power from an authority & argument to a competency based one; our new generation will be far more responsive to the outcomes and meanings of an action than just rules and norms and thus challenge homogenisation. This is why you should remember that your time at WBS is limited and that you should seize every chance to build your skill set. This includes going out of your comfort zone and try new things. For instance, while at Warwick, I co-authored an academic article in a medical journal about a ground-breaking treatment of Hypertensive Leg Ulcer using stem cells.
If this interview is a chance to highlight my achievements, I do remember that there were failures along the way. However, I chose to be optimistic as I do not see the point of being anything else. I therefore decided to learn from my failures instead of counting them. To wrap-up, my main advice is to invest in yourself and make the most of the opportunities that the university has to offer.
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