Guilherme Ubiali, IE International MBA 2016 Graduate, started this year in the GlaxoSmithKline EspritProgram, a 4-year rotational Program at GSK. He will be based in Madrid, Spain during the first year. Afterwards, he will be assigned to any country in the world where the company has operations and open opportunities that fit into Guilherme’s career plan.

Before coming to IE, he developed the biggest part of his career in Brazil mainly in finance, in the mining/logistic industry in a company called Vale. After that he had an experience as entrepreneur for two years, in a Marketing Agency that he founded along with two partners, focused on helping other entrepreneurs to develop their business image and digital media. His only experience in marketing in big companies was in a summer job during the MBA in Johnson & Johnson Brazil. He explains “I am doing a very significant career change, I am moving for a more senior position, in new company, in a new industry and in a new country, my first time working outside Brazil. I am happy and grateful for being able to do all four changes, and ready for the big challenges that are waiting for me.”

Q: I understand that the Esprit Program is focused on the Commercial aspect of the company. Can you please tell us briefly anything else about your new job? How does this fit into your career-life plan?

A: My career-life plan is to become a senior director or head of a country in sales or marketing departments, because of that I am sure the Esprit Program was the best option. The Program will allow me to work in several roles in the Commercial department in different countries, something I think is very important to my career. Besides that, the Program offers several development opportunities to work on interesting projects in a challenging environment, always with the support of a mentor.

Q: Has your personal career strategy always been focused on the pharmaceutical industry or were you aiming at earning more experience in Commercial functions?

A: I assume that when I started the MBA I was a little bit loss, I knew that I didn’t want to work with finance anymore, but I was not sure in what or even where I wanted to work. So, my first decision was to work in Commercial departments, with sales or marketing. The second decision was the industry and I decided to focus in two industries, FMCG, due to the dynamic environment, and Pharmaceutical, due their leadership in innovation. The opportunity in GSK is in Healthcare Consumer Products (OTC, Skin Health, Oral Health, Wellness, Nutrition, etc), a mix of both industries I was looking for. Therefore, I think the Esprit Program is the perfect program that can allow me to reach my goals.

Q: How did Talent and Careers and your IE experience help you during the recruiting process? Did you use specific career resources or did you come across useful information via an advisor or alumni?

A: Yes, it was more than important, it was crucial. Both, GSK and J&J (where I did the summer internship) were companies that I met because of their Company Presentations at IE. Besides that, I also used Workmaze, MBA-Exchange, Job Postings, Guides and several other resources available on IE Career Portal. One resource that helped me a lot was Vmock, because my CV was not very good before coming to IE and improved a lot after Vmock.

But the help of Talent and Careers with my objectives goes beyond that, our Career Advisor, Teresa González, was really important to help in soul-searching and defining a career strategy and improving my CV. Lorena Martínez, Career Advisor at Talent and Careers, who specializes in Healthcare and Pharmaceutical sector, was responsible for bringing several pharmaceutical companies to IE, and I went to all of the company presentations. And finally, Margarida Constantino, Director of Career Education, organized several interesting Career Fitness events and workshops that helped me to create a good elevator pitch, improve my LinkedIn profile, learn how to properly network and practice interviews.

Q: How was the recruiting process?

A: It was not as long as it usually is in other companies:

  • First stage was sending the CV through an on-line platform, for me, this is the hardest part where the biggest number of candidates fail.
  • After I passed this stage, I received an e-mail inviting me to complete two on-line tests, which included questions about logic and graph interpretation.
  • The third part was an HR interview in the local language of the country, and in my case, it was the first time I did a whole interview in Spanish.
  • Finally, I attended the Assessment Day in the London HQ. It was two days, the first was an explanation about the company and a dinner with previous employees of the program. The second day was more intense, and it was when the company made the final decision. We were 5 candidates for one position in Spain, 3 from IE. We had to work in teams, solve cases, present ideas to a board and do interviews in a very interesting and dynamic day.

Q: Would you want to share any tips or advice with student interested in applying to GSK? To your job position in particular?

A: My first tip is for all IE students that are looking for jobs, even in other industries; use as much as you can of the IE Talent and Careers resources. Nobody will do anything for you, but if you go, ask for help, use the IE Career Portal and go to events, you can find very useful tools that will help you a lot.

Second tip, after selecting one industry, participate in that industry’s IE Club and go to all events of that industry (both Clubs and Careers events), even to events of the companies you are not applying to. You learn a lot in these events, it is very important to learn about the culture of the companies and their “language” and also learn about challenges, opportunities and risks in that industry, questions that all the companies will do in the interviews.

Finally, a more specific tip about GSK, understand the pharmaceutical industry culture. Pharmaceutical companies have a very strong culture with focus on the client/patient always looking for quality and innovation. Even they have some similarities with other industries, like FMCG, their culture is unique and all the recruiters are trained to identify if you will adapt or not to that culture. The best way to do that is talking with current employees of these companies, look at your contacts and at the IE alumni network to find somebody that could help you. Also, feel free to contact me!


Esprit Commercial Programme

The four-year Commercial rotational programmes provide development opportunities for individuals who will take on stretching challenges and projects, all with the ultimate aim of positively impacting the lives of patients and consumers.

Depending on your interest and experience, our programmes are based in each of our three businesses; Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Consumer Healthcare.

On the Pharmaceuticals programme, you’ll help bring medicines to market that tackle a range of diseases. On the Vaccines programme, you’ll play a key role in helping us deliver our portfolio of preventative treatments for infants and adults. On the Consumer Healthcare programme, you’ll help deliver innovative products to consumers worldwide.

Source: GSK Website