When people are considering a career change, most of them think of leaving their current employer. Nevertheless, Iliana’s case shows that such transitions do not necessarily involve applying for jobs at other companies.
Hi, Iliana. You started your sales career at Brunel Switzerland in 2018. Fast forward a few years and we find you in the Netherlands. How did that happen?
Well, it’s a long story. Basically, I started working at Brunel when I was hired as a sales trainee in Zurich. After the six-month traineeship, I was offered a job as Account Manager, and I stayed in that position for two and a half years. However, I always had the desire to do something more creative and had imagined going abroad and doing my master’s. Finally, in early 2021, it seemed like the right time to take the plunge, so I applied for a master’s program in the Netherlands. When I got the acceptance letter, I quit my job at Brunel and moved to Rotterdam a few months later.
What did you study in the Netherlands and what was your experience as a student there?
I studied Media & Business at Erasmus University Rotterdam. I was really excited to be going back to university. But I also knew it would be a big adjustment, as I was already accustomed to a life as a working professional. I was used to having my own apartment, my car and a steady income. And by moving to the Netherlands, everything changed. As a student, I was living in a shared apartment with two other girls. I rode my bike to university and used public transport to get to work. I also turned twenty-seven here in the Netherlands, so compared to my classmates, I was one of the oldest students. But the experience was amazing! The Dutch are incredibly welcoming. And everyone speaks English, which made interacting with the locals a lot easier. All in all, I had so much fun studying here, and I would do it all over again.
You mentioned that you continued to work during your studies. What role did Brunel play in this decision?
When I looked into different master’s programs in the Netherlands, I also did the math to see what this year abroad would cost me. I figured that I would be able to support myself financially and cover my expenses with my savings. That also meant that I didn’t have to look for a job and could fully enjoy my student life – which is a luxury, of course! Nevertheless, when I told Brunel that I was leaving to pursue my master’s, one of the managers in Switzerland urged me to stay with the company and suggested that I contact the global head of marketing & communications based in Amsterdam. I saw this as a huge opportunity to gain some valuable marketing experience, as I’ve so far only worked in sales. So, upon my arrival in the Netherlands, I had a conversation with two hiring managers from Brunel and shortly after, started working as a part-time Marketing Assistant at Brunel’s headquarters in Amsterdam, alongside my studies.
You graduated this year. Congratulations! What plans did you initially have after completing your master’s program?
Thank you! To be honest, the initial plan was for me to come here, do my master’s and then move back to Switzerland. But life doesn’t always go as planned, does it? Instead, I decided to stay in the Netherlands a little while longer. For one, I really liked living in Rotterdam, a thriving and vibrant city with a lot to do. For another, I really enjoyed working in the global marketing team and was eager to stay and grow my career within Brunel. However, my position as Marketing Assistant was only temporary, and there was no other suitable job opening for me available at that point.
It seems like everything worked out for you in the end, though, as you recently took up a new position as global content specialist?
It did! You can tell that Brunel attaches great importance to employee retention. They truly put a lot of effort into nurturing and developing their workforce, as well as creating new opportunities for them. In my case, Brunel created a new position that matched my skills and interests. Moreover, due to the size of Brunel and their global footprint, employees have the possibility to switch careers within the same company and work in other fields and departments without having to actually leave Brunel. And if you’re open to relocation, even more doors can open for you: Brunel currently operates in over 40 countries.
What exactly does a content specialist do?
My responsibilities lie in content production. And content comes in many forms, shapes and sizes, which is also the beauty of it as there are no limits to the creativity of a content creator. Although I mostly use the same communication media, such as our blog and our social media channels, there are many ways to deliver a message. Depending on the topic, I use either words, images or videos to promote our brand.
Although new to this role, you’ve been with Brunel for over four years now. What do you like most about the company?
There are a lot of things I like about Brunel. One that stands out, however, is the family-like atmosphere. The colleagues I had back in Switzerland quickly became my friends, and even after moving to the Netherlands, we were able to stay in touch. The same thing has now happened again with my colleagues in Amsterdam. In my opinion, having fun colleagues and a work environment where you can be yourself and feel comfortable is crucial – especially considering how much of our lives we spend at work! Additionally, I really like the flexibility at the workplace and our global footprint. On the one hand, I can work from home as long as I don’t have any important face-to-face meetings or video shootings in Amsterdam. On the other hand, I have the option to work from over 120 offices. And I know that no matter which country I go to, Brunellers working there will welcome me with open arms!