Business Schools

Defining My Own Role


I'm a 2002 graduate of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University in Tempe and a customer program manager in the cellular and handheld division of Intel (INTC) in Chandler, Ariz. My job is to work with large cellular handset customers -- often in Europe -- to construct a business deal and then see that it's executed, similar to a venture capitalist.

The required skill set is a combination of business and technical knowledge. I also need a thick Rolodex of contacts. I have to merge many different groups and priorities and work with my customers to create clearly defined programs.

My job can be complex and high-profile, both internally and externally. I was the marketing manager of a different business unit for a couple of years after the MBA program. Out of the blue one Friday morning, my boss and his colleagues reassigned me to my current role. I realized that the best jobs come through those you know.

EARLY RISER. At first, I was uncertain of my ability to handle the many different hats I would have to wear. Also, this was a newly created position, which made it a great opportunity without any precedent. I had the freedom to define the best known methods (BKMs) for this type of job. And that's just what I do everyday. Here's a glimpse at my typical schedule:

5:00 a.m. -- Wake up, walk down the hall to my home office. Thanks to broadband technology, working from home at weird hours becomes the norm. I check e-mail arriving from overseas and get conference call dial-in information.

5:30 a.m. -- The conference calls with European customers begin. I clarify near-term program status, set up the next co-marketing events, discuss legal restrictions.

6:55 a.m. -- Run downstairs to make a mug of strong coffee. Run back upstairs before next call begins.

7:00 a.m. -- Continue conference calls with Intel engineering team (in Israel) on program status and the next set of deliverables.

8:00 a.m. -- A call with Intel attorneys to discuss legal issues around customers and partners. I start to question my own understanding of the English language.

9:00 a.m. -- Meet with the domestic co-marketing team to further define the go-to-market launch plan for our lead customer. This will be the really fun part, assuming we can get past the other hurdles to completing the program.

10:00 a.m. -- Call field sales team for debriefing and compare notes about previous meetings.

11:00 a.m. -- Early lunch. Still at home. Hey, I started pretty early, didn't I?

11:30 am -- Book international travel. The more early morning calls I start having, the more I probably need to travel to Europe.

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