Interviews with alumnae: Anna Nilsson

3 minute read
Anna Nilsson

After Oxford, I changed my career trajectory completely, from energy trading in Germany to Google in Dublin – a phenomenon referred to as ‘triple jumping’ in the MBA world.

I had never been to Ireland before but was used to moving to where the job was, so it came quite naturally to me. It was a bit of a coincidence that I ended up at a tech company. I had my eyes set on a consultancy or finance-related role during the MBA and prepared for it accordingly with case study practice and Finance Lab evening classes. However, as those roles mostly required prior work experience in the field, I started to broaden my search and noticed the job advert about a Google MBA internship. To my surprise, I got accepted and ended up spending the summer in Dublin as a Google intern.

Although Dublin wasn’t my first choice in terms of location (I, like most other students in my class, was determined to move to London), it positively surprised me with the short commute to scenic cliff walks, hiking and its incredibly friendly people. During the internship, it was crucial to perform well to get a good rating and consequently be able to apply for a full-time position. The Oxford MBA prepared me well for stepping into an entirely new area of work. I noticed myself feeling more confident and better equipped than before to ask questions and challenge the status quo.

I am now working as a Google Sales Manager, leading a team of ten people as well as driving various initiatives to improve our sales culture and efficiency. In my job, I am privileged to have the opportunity to develop my leadership skills on a daily basis and fine-tune my coaching skills.

What enabled this shift for me was the flexibility to move to a new location and start off with an internship rather than a full-time job. I doubt I would have progressed to the interview stage with Google without having proven myself in the initial internship position.

Therefore, first of all, I would really recommend anyone wanting to do a significant industry move to actively search for opportunities to get your foot in the door, such as internships or short-term projects.

Secondly, if you apply to a company like Google or Facebook, it is important to remember the values that those companies are looking for. Being humble and a true team player is incredibly important – the term ‘Googleyness’ is actively mentioned both during the interview process and when working in your role.

Thirdly, I would encourage you to reflect on why you chose to do the MBA in the first place. In my case, it was primarily to change my career path and try out something entirely different. It is easy to fall back into a similar type of role afterwards as that feels more familiar and safe rather than pushing yourself and getting out of your comfort zone.

Finally, I believe supporting each other in the job search is extremely important. I spent quite a few months practising case studies with my friends and having lengthy discussions over coffees on how to best approach interviews and utilise our networks. It can be quite challenging emotionally, especially in current tough times with fewer opportunities than normal. But keep being persistent.

Having an Oxford MBA on your CV is an amazing achievement and sometimes it just takes a bit of time before you find a good match.

I really hope that this can serve as a bit of an inspiration for those who are now starting their job hunt and are maybe looking to do a transformational career move like myself. Best of luck everyone and hope to connect with some of you over the next couple of years!