Conversation with CISB Alumna Monica Trantow Senior Manager, AWS, Luxembourg

Monica Trantow Blog Featured

What led you to pursue the CISB program?

I knew I wanted to major in business, and I thought it was very important to understand the global market in a real way. When I was accepted into the business program straight away, I also looked into other opportunities to supplement my degree. CISB allowed me to combine my passions of international cultures and economies with business, as well as gain practical language experiences in studying abroad.

Looking back at your CISB experience, what would you pinpoint as your most important experience?

Only one?!? I’ll give three. Studying abroad was life changing; I did improve my language skills but also found my lifelong friends in the program, my best friends to this day. Applying and working in the GBCC (Global Business Case Competition) was a real-life engagement with students from so many cultures. I knew after this (and in coming from a very ‘generic’ demographic from my childhood area) that working with different backgrounds would be very important to me. Finally, leading the Spanish track was a great opportunity to leverage leadership skills and network with industry leaders as our guest speakers.

How did you find your current role driving marketing initiatives in Europe?

I’ve held two positions while in Europe, and found both while at another role within the same company. Networking is key! And it’s not a bad thing, either. Leaders like to see motivated individuals. I approached the Head of our EMEA Marketing unit when working in Seattle with my desire to move to Europe, then had patience to wait about seven months until a role opened where my skills were suited. My current position, leading marketing for the AWS Marketplace, was an internal transfer to a new a growing team that was first discussed during a business trip in Tel Aviv!

What does your “average” week look like?

My day is very diverse, the constant is that I’m always working with people. I have a great combination of working and launching campaigns with partners, to liasing with my Seattle-based marketing team on expanding campaigns globally, to building demand generation campaigns alongside our Business Development unit, to analyzing data recommendations for future campaigns. Next week I go to Dubai to meet customers at an event, then fly to London the following week. No two days are the same.

What are the biggest differences you’ve noticed between Amazon in Seattle versus Amazon in Luxembourg? Do you have to adapt your working style?

The biggest difference I see is the diversity of hires. Seattle does a great job in recruiting talent from all over the globe, but we have a unique advantage in EMEA to work so close to other countries. Each day I enter the office I hear tens of languages being spoken, and this is very special. It also does make our pace different – little things like slowing your speech for someone with English as a second language, to more in-person meetings as local preference. Our other difference is the nature of the work. Out in the field, we are closer to the customers so our roles tend to be more end-customer oriented.

How have you been able to apply the skills you learned as a CISB student during your career?

CISB program elements provide a great vehicle to prep for real-world scenarios. In every interview I found myself reference to an opportunity that came from CISB, either volunteering with an event, helping on a board, or a class or project required by CISB. The nature of the program is to get you ready for those conversations.

What advice would you give CISB students who are graduating and looking for jobs, on how to market their CISB degree?

This one probably sounds basic but spell it out! It takes up a lot of space on a resume but acronyms are not your friend. CISB is also unique, so don’t assume your audience knows what the program entails, be specific in your accomplishments related to CISB. Also, leverage your network. There are hundreds of graduates from the CISB program who are happy to give time to our next International Business Leaders. Be bold and be proud of your network and use it!