Tom Rich ’21, starts his fifth work-related experience as a part of HubSpot’s Sales Builder Program. As a political science major with a minor in pre-law, Tom is using his previous experience at the Massachusetts State House, New England Council, Turkish Heritage Organization and Merrimack College’s O’Brien Center for Career Development to launch a career in sales at one of the best places to work in Boston. Read more about the program and the skills Tom developed since starting.
A: I actually applied to HubSpot for an internship last spring in a sales position. And I got to the final round of the interviews and unfortunately I didn’t get it. I had a follow-up call with Viennie, a sales campus recruiter for HubSpot. We kept in touch throughout this whole summer, and I kept reiterating that I was really interested in HubSpot although I didn’t get this position. And he actually reached out to me in the middle of August when they decided they were going to launch this program. So he said, “Hey, I think this would be a great opportunity for you.” Keeping liquid contacts close to you so they can help you and look out for you is important. That’s what I did and it worked out for the best.
Q: That’s awesome. So, kind of like the phrase when one door closes, another one opens! Not getting the internship allowed you to try out this program that will ultimately help you in a sales role post-graduation.
A: Yeah exactly.
Q: I know you just started this program but can you explain a little bit of what the day to day responsibilities look like?
A: Absolutely, the program operates kind of like a class. The reason HubSpot created this program is because they were seeing the trend in a lot of their sales applications that most schools don’t have a specific sales major or with the skills they need to succeed. So HubSpot wanted to give students like myself or just anyone in general who’s interested in applying for like an entry level sales position, kind of an extra leg up.
We have two instructors and those teachers are basically our mentors. I’m in a group of 50 other students that make up my cohort and they range from New England to California to anywhere in the country. We have micro assignments, meaning we have little quizzes on a lecture, live or a prerecorded session, whatever you’re comfortable with. The program tries to teach you different sales skills on how HubSpot sales works, as well as in sales in general.
Q: Obviously it’s important to learn from academics and projects in class but also to build skill sets that employers are looking for. Can you talk about some of the sales skills that you are starting to develop within this program or maybe already had?
A: I think one of the biggest skills is being able to see things from a different perspective. You know that’s one thing that we’ve talked about a lot in some of our seminars is sales isn’t just about like winning over that client or customer or whatever, it’s more about seeing what they actually need and what would HubSpot need in a situation to make that sale work for both parties.
Another thing that I’ve learned just in general as a political science major at Merrimack is how to see things from more of a worldly perspective. It teaches me that there’s so many things that happen in the world, and there’s so many different kinds of people, and how to see it all in different lenses.
I also learned terms specific to sales. HubSpot really teaches us what direct sales are, what a direct solution is, or what an inbound success coach does. They have a whole umbrella basically of how things work and they’re basically teaching us how that umbrella works in their department with anything from direct sales to inbound sales and more.
I was always taught to really learn a skill, you have to see one, do one, teach one. And I think that goes back to my internship in the O’Brien Center for Career Development because when I was younger as a first-year student, I would hear and see all these students getting internships and talking about it and then eventually I got one myself. And then I had the opportunity to teach others how and why internships are beneficial. And I’m glad I had that opportunity because again it goes back to that perspective of others thing.
Q: Those are fantastic skills and a great way of looking at how to develop them within yourself and among others! Along with skill building, the O’Brien Center is all about career exploration and advisor. Do you find it’s important to meet with your designated career advisor?
A: Absolutely. Katie Fell [Career Advisor in the School of Liberal Arts] is great and she’s helped me numerous times. When I sit down and say “I don’t really know what I need help with but I just know I need help”, she’s been there every time. The biggest thing I would say why you should go to your career advisor is because even if you’re confused about something, their job is to un-confuse you if you don’t know what you want to do with your career. It’s okay to not know. They’re there to help you and try to figure out what you might want to do or get a better grasp so you seem a little less confused. If you come out of that meeting, maybe with a little more knowledge of what the path you might want to take is, I would call that a successful meeting.
Q: Alright! Last question: do you think Merrimack College prepared you for your career? And any last advice for younger students?
A: My advisor, Professor Anne Flaherty has been a great resource. I’ve been with her for four years in the political science department and she’s been great and helped me through the entire process of how to be a better student here at Merrimack. Katie, my career advisor has helped me get to the point where I am now professionally. Nora Cochrane and the whole Compass program helped me grow as a student starting in my first-year. And all of my friends too, they’re great. But I’ve had a great experience here. For the younger students, I would say take every opportunity that you can and run with it because you never know what’s going to happen. There’s so many things and so many doors that can be opened.
Are you ready to secure an internship or employment for the fall and beyond? The O’Brien Center for Career Development is here to help you! Visit Handshake today to search for open opportunities, meet with your career advisor, and more.