For MBA graduate Ashish Motwani, the AGSM alumni network was just as crucial as technical ability when it came to securing his new role with Expedia.

Tell us about your career track prior to your MBA.

I’m a computer engineer by training and I was working as a project management officer for an energy company based in the UK for about three years. I then worked in project transition and change management for about 10 months before I joined AGSM.

What prompted your decision to enroll in a MBA?

Having worked in the technology field for a few years and being a technology enthusiast, I felt that there was a gap in the knowledge I needed in order to get to the next level in my career. I was hitting the ceiling where I was working and saw that the management there had all completed their MBAs. That’s when I decided to get into a MBA program.

What are the key abilities your MBA has provided you with?

The main thing it’s given me is the tools to think about problems in a methodological way, which was not the case earlier. It’s prepared me to deal with problems in any function of a business and has equipped me with the skills to come up with solutions.

Can you tell us how the AGSM alumni network played a key role in helping you secure your new job at Expedia?

About seven months ago there was an internship opportunity created by their Director of Customer Experience, Justin Lee, who’d completed his Executive MBA at AGSM three years ago. The news was passed onto the class and I applied. Rather than going through a formal cover letter and resume approach, we were asked to write a two-page essay on what customer experience means to us. That led to an interview and thankfully I was selected. I helped in that function for about six months, two-and-a-half days a week. Justin was amazing. He mentored me throughout the program, we had weekly one-on-ones, and he gave me the freedom to talk to anybody in the entire Expedia team. It was a great opportunity to learn.

And that led to your current full-time role?

Yes. When my internship was coming to an end, I was interviewed and selected for a senior merchandiser role, which is all about marketing strategy, understanding customers and how you sell products efficiently across all channels, and understanding what products you can build to suit customer needs.

Do you feel alumni networks like the one at AGSM are crucial for helping graduates access exciting career opportunities?

Absolutely, especially if you come from a different country and don’t have experience in the industry or function you want to work in. Getting through that first barrier is really important and something I feel only your network can do for you. It can really help if there’s someone looking out for you who believes that you have the capability but just need a chance to prove yourself. That does not happen if you’re applying for jobs on portals directly because you are just another resume-holder. Your network is essentially what helps push you through. Then it’s up to you how you perform in interviews.

Read another AGSM network story here.