“No career would be possible without fluent English – English is the cornerstone of everything.” – Louise d’Amécourt
Louise grew up between London and Paris, and studied history and English at the Sorbonne (Paris) and the University of Edinburgh (Scotland). After spending four years in India working for HCL Technologies, she decided to study MBA at INSEAD (France). Currently, Louise is a European Sales Optimization Manager at Braintree, a PayPal company. In November, she will be giving a lecture at the Career Beyond Borders seminar in London.
We were able to talk to Louise during the break between her trip – we asked her about languages, travel enthusiasm and curiosity. world helped her in her career
Louise, your course was history and literature, and now you are a manager – how did you fit?
I have always believed that studies do not dictate your future life, and especially not fuel your professional life. I have always been interested in literature and history – I have read a lot for a long time and knew that this was something I would like to do at university. At the same time, I was aware that I would never become a writer or historian, so for a long time – basically when I was 16 – I was interested in various internships in London and Paris. By the time I graduated, I was already quite entrenched in the corporate world, so I started working right after graduating. For this reason, I did my MBA degree. I knew I needed some knowledge and basic professional skills: in college, I learned quite abstract things, and my internships were based on practical skills, such as working in a bank. By doing an internship, you learn a lot about how to navigate the business world.
What did you learn while studying and living abroad?
Learning and studies abroad have taught me to listen and then speak. I can adapt to other cultures fairly quickly and feel like a fish in water in my new environment. I enjoy working in a variety of multicultural professions, and when I manage a project, I know how to encourage people to me so that our diversity translates into benefits. After working in India for four years, I have learned to be flexible, patient and adaptable to new cultures. I realized that there is a method for everything!
Did your international experience help you to get a career?
It’s easy to break the ice with this topic during a job interview! Indeed, my international résumé has always helped me when asked about leadership skills – people are always interested in travel stories abroad. In my daily life, the experiences abroad have really helped my teamwork. They certainly had a positive effect on my behavior at work. The experience of living abroad has only advantages – it makes you more mature, you have broader horizons.
What advice would you give to young people looking for a work?
Everything depends, of course, on the context and where you live and where you come from. However, everyone is probably a bit stressed during their first job, everyone also thinks that it would be appropriate to start with a well-known company, something that will look good later in the CV. Personally, I don’t think that’s true. It seems to me that views on this issue have changed significantly, and recruiters are primarily looking for people who have experienced various things. It may sound trivial, but they are interested in people who love and are interested in what they do, rather than simply working for a well-known company just because it will look good on a resume. Do what you want to do. But try to go abroad. It’s an important experience, especially at a young age, when you have the opportunity to learn so much and come home as a much more mature person.
How important are languages in the job market currently?
I work for an American company in London so we all speak English; but it was the same before, when I was working in India – all in English. Knowing the languages definitely helps – personally knowing French I always feel a kind of close connection when I work in a French team. However, we all know that it is impossible to master every language in the world, so the most important thing is to master English at a high level. I’m not just talking about getting along, but a lot more. When you think in English (without having to translate it into your native language) or when you can joke and laugh spontaneously – then you can be sure that you have mastered the language perfectly.
Do you have any tips for those who want to work in a great city?
I can definitely recommend “living in” in big city once in a lifetime – even if you don’t know how long you’ll be staying here, try to get the most out of this stage. Immerse yourself in the big city reality as much as you can – through work, personal life and relationships, including professional ones. Big cities offer great networking opportunities. Sometimes it may seem that living in a big metropolis is difficult and tiring, but for me personally it is an amazing adventure. Big cities offer a ton of benefits, even if their size may seem overwhelming. An open mind and enthusiasm are essential. You will surely appreciate how lucky it is to be professionally fulfilled in a big city!