How this Junior-Level Employee Landed a Meeting with the CEO

Originally published on WayUp on July 11, 2017

Meet the Founder session led by Co-founder Andrew Heath at the AlphaSights Hong Kong office

At information services firm AlphaSights, the leadership team likes to do things differently.

What do we mean? For starters, Co-Founders and CEOs Max Cartellieri and Andrew Heath (pictured above) meet with all new Associates at the company to hear their ideas and feedback and answer any questions they have about the company or the knowledge search industry as a whole.

So, what’s it like to sit down with a CEO when you’re just starting your career? We talked to Claire Rembecki, an Associate at AlphaSights and a University of Notre Dame class of 2016 grad, about her group’s meeting with Max and what she took away from this unique experience.

What was your first reaction when you found out that all AlphaSights employees get to meet with AlphaSights CEO Max?

Excitement. One of the best parts of working for AlphaSights is the exposure employees have with senior-level leadership. Max and Andrew (our CEOs) think it’s important to know and stay connected with the Associates, as we’re the part of the organization working directly with clients.

When they meet with us, they want honest feedback about how they and the company are doing, and what they can do to improve. That sort of relationship isn’t common in a lot of companies, but it’s one of the reasons AlphaSights is such a good place to start a career.

How did you prepare for the meeting?

AlphaSights is in the midst of rapid growth, and a lot of transitions are coming with that. Because of this, I had a lot of questions about our company’s trajectory: how are developments in our industry going to impact us? How will our company change as we nearly double in size? I started writing down questions I had and changes I thought would improve the company, and I brought these to the meeting as a way to start the discussion.

What did you, the other Associates, and Max talk about? What questions did you ask?

The meeting was as much for the Associates as for Max; we wanted to understand how he thought about the company and its future, and he wanted to understand how we perceived the work and AlphaSights’ mission. Moreover, he wanted to know how he could improve the company as we were preparing to hire so many new faces.

We discussed new initiatives at the company, how AlphaSights would respond to shifts in our industry, and how the company would likely evolve as we continued to grow. Since I work heavily with our global offices, I wanted to understand how we were trying to standardize our work and brand internationally, as well as how we would scale internationally as each office started hiring more talent.

What are the biggest things you took away from your meeting?

The biggest takeaway I had from our meeting was how much value Max found in our frank discussion. He wanted honesty on how the company could improve, both for our clients and for employees.These weren’t suggestions that were ignored; he took our feedback and started working with it. I also felt that I left the meeting with a much better understanding of our company’s overarching goals and mission, as well as a sense of just how much effort Max and the VPs put in to ensure there’s a culture of camaraderie at the company.

I think as an Associate, it’s easy to feel as though your voice doesn’t matter. But if you speak up — especially if you have smart questions or an idea that could improve the company — you could make a big difference. A constructive-disruptive mindset is a good one to have.

What surprised you most from your meeting with Max?

Of the 15 or so Associates in the meeting, not one Associate remained silent. Everyone came prepared with ideas or questions, and each one was more insightful than the last. This is a company and culture that doesn’t idle in the status quo; as Max says, “Onward and Upward.”

What’s your best advice for other junior or entry-level employees who have a meeting with a company executive?

Come prepared. While small talk is common in business, the people who stand out are those who have put in the time to think about how to make a process or organization better. If you have a good idea, chances are the right people will listen, and you’ll have the opportunity to drive real improvement.

Get your questions for Max ready, because we are hiring.

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