COVID-19 didn’t stop us from making sure we’ve got the best team to support you and contribute to achieving our common goal – to connect global talent from top schools in our network with leading companies and get them hired. On the contrary – in these critical times, we knew we needed to do our best to support employers with recruitment struggles and for that – the best specialists.
Who else would better fill that role than professionals who used to study in an international environment, work for their schools’ Corporate Relations, and who got to know Highered first-hand? Not to mention those, who have a great passion for international communication and building strong relationships with partners?
Meet Camilla Torjussen and Perrine Duhamel – the new Senior Account Executives at Highered, who joined our Corporate Relations team. Both of them have worked with schools in our network in the past – now they work with 600+!
We sat down with them to talk about their incredible career journeys, how they found themselves working at Highered and about their passion for helping companies solve their problems.
They have a real passion for what they do. Read the interview below to find out more.
What you’re doing right now at Highered, is it something that you expected to be doing when you were a student?
Camilla: No. One of the main reasons I did my Master’s at IE [Business School in Madrid, Spain] was because I wanted to be a Management Consultant. Which I did, right after school, but it turned out that it wasn’t what I wanted after all. I did not expect to go the academic way or into the educational sector – it wasn’t part of my plan. I always say that “the road happens when you walk” – of course, you can have goals and things you want to do but it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where you’re going to end up.
Perrine: Same for me, I didn’t expect to work in this field when I was a student. I did a Marketing & Communications Master’s degree, simply because I loved to communicate with people. I had no idea that such a huge part of this job is maintaining relationships with the partners and so much focus is on communications.
Tell me a little bit more about your studies. How did your education and university experience affect your work?
P: The first thing that comes to my mind is the international atmosphere. I did a Master’s in France in International Marketing & Communication, where all the courses were in English, we had international students and did internships abroad and student exchanges. Now I work with corporates all over the world, people of different cultures – my studies helped adapt to that.
C: I agree. I did my Bachelor’s in Mexico – as the only Norwegian student there I was extremely exposed to new cultures. Same during my Master’s – we had about 70 different nationalities there. Also, I studied Management which taught me strategic thinking – when you speak with corporates you need to understand the difficulties and challenges they are going through in order to be able to support them properly. Learning that at university had set a good foundation for my future career.
What was the first valuable lesson you learnt at work? Perrine, you did an apprenticeship during your Master’s – what did you take away from it?
P: I quickly understood I need to have a close relationship with my colleagues. Working at La Poste Nouveaux Services, one of my responsibilities was communicating with the postal workers about new products. Some have worked there over 30 years – it wasn’t easy for them to take the changes, and from this young woman who just showed up. I knew I needed to take my time to understand their struggles, get to know them better and talk about their future.
C: My first “real” job experience was an internship in Corporate Governance. The first thing I took away from that is even though the recruitment process is extremely competitive, you shouldn’t give up. I pushed for it and it was a pain to HR but I got it! That was my first time working with a multicultural team and I realized how much I enjoyed it. At the same time you need to learn how to work with people who don’t necessarily understand you, your way of working and communicating.
Tell me a little bit more about your individual career journeys.
C: I did my Bachelor’s in Mexico in International Commerce, and in parallel I had a small company so I had hands-on experience with innovation, entrepreneurship and business development. Then I worked in the Finance sector in Brussels, and as a Commodity Trader in China. After that I did my Master’s at IE in Management and then joined IE’s Corporate Relations team for 4 years, managing the institution’s B2B relationships. You learn different things from every job you have and I think everything is relevant in the end. You always learn something – if it’s not about the actual task you do, it’s about how to deal with people, it’s about yourself. All of my experiences have been valuable. Of course, my job at the university was very much in line with what we do at Highered, but instead of working for one school I now work for 600+ schools.
P: After my Master’s degree, I backpacked for a few months and then joined IÉSEG as the International Corporate Relations Officer for 3 years, providing students with opportunities to connect with companies. As Camilla said, that’s very much in line with what we do at Highered, however we now have the opportunity to do it for students from hundreds of schools all over the world. It’s very exciting.
OK, now a recruitment-like question – why Highered?
P: Having been exposed to Highered while working at the school, I saw how fast-growing this company was and I liked what the company was doing for schools. I experienced that first-hand and I could see the support for Career Services and students to find great opportunities. The people behind it and the goal of the company was what drew me towards it.
C: I lived abroad for 16 years and I moved back to Norway in October 2020 during the pandemic. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I only knew that I wanted to work in an international and innovative environment. I saw the position at Highered and thought “Huh!”. I knew about Highered before through Amber [Wigmore Alvarez, Chief Talent Officer at Highered]. It’s international, I feel like I can bring something to the table given my past experience, the team is amazing… And also, placing people today is critical, so we do important work. This experience showed me that everyone you meet during your journey can have an impact on your work and your life, and that maintaining relationships is important.
Tell me a little bit about your positions at Highered.
C: Speaking with clients, having conversations, understanding their challenges and what they want to achieve – from recruitment as well as employer brand perspective. Reaching out to them and supporting them every step of the way. Finding new ways to engage with them, be innovative in how we support them. Another thing is supporting the team and learning from each other.
P: Camilla described it perfectly! Finding the right way to communicate with each partner is key. Our job is just great – I mean, we’re helping companies get in touch with great talent! It’s fun and exciting.
Congratulations to Camilla and Perrine! Our ecosystem is constantly growing with new companies coming on board thanks to their passion for Corporate Relations. This means more companies getting our support and more opportunities for global talent. Just recently their positive attitude brought us closer together with L’Oreal and Allianz!
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