From HEC To Silicon Valley: MBA Energizes Mobile Apps At Google

Ashley Bienvenu is one of a growing number of MBAs finding their fortunes in Silicon Valley. The HEC Paris grad handles mobile apps at search giant Google.

Ashley Bienvenu is a partnership development executive at Google, based at the Internet search giant’s Bay Area headquarters in California.

Her MBA at HEC Paris, the leading French business school, has taken her from Jouy-en-Josas to Silicon Valley.

Ashley handles strategic mobile partnerships for Google – mobile app monetization. She helps companies to develop revenue generating strategies for their apps and games by leveraging Google’s solutions.

She joined the company in April last year. Google’s creative culture allows Ashley to use her assets to make a tangible impact on her business area.

Powered by the likes of taxi hailing app Uber and photo sharing platform Snapchat, the rapidly growing app market saw 100 billion apps downloaded in 2013, according to Deloitte. But downloads have slowed – there is a need for developers to generate new sources of revenue, the professional services firm says.

Before joining HEC Paris in 2012, Ashley worked as an account manager at Shopbot, Canada’s premier price comparison site, in Paris. An American, she once studied political science at Rhodes College in Tennessee.

An MBA in Europe broadened her horizons. She valued the global outlook at HEC Paris and its mixed cohort. This has helped her settle into Google in Silicon Valley – a hub of tech innovation that is filled with career opportunity.

Why did you decide to begin an MBA degree at HEC Paris?

With an academic background in political science, and professional experience in the technology sector, I wanted a formal framework in which to develop my overall business acumen.

I was unsure as to the industry or geographical area in which I would pursue a career. HEC’s curriculum spans a variety of topics and skills and attracts high-calibre professors in each domain of study.

In addition, HEC’s post-graduation placement proves it is capable of delivering work-ready professionals in all industries and all locations. That global appeal, coupled with a well-rounded education, is what drew me to HEC.

What is your biggest lesson learnt?

You will never stop learning. No matter how much experience you have, academically, professionally or personally, you can always push yourself to go further.

What’s it like to live and work in the Bay Area?

The Bay Area is a very dynamic place to work. It really is at the heart of technological innovation and it attracts amazing talent. This atmosphere is great for professional challenges and growth – there is so much opportunity here.

It’s also just a really fun place to go out and explore everything from exotic restaurants to hikes. I feel very fortunate to be living and working here.

How well has an MBA in Europe prepared you for a career in Silicon Valley?

I personally don’t think the location of your MBA is what prepares you for a career. It’s what your MBA gives you from an academic and personal development standpoint [that does].

That being said, attending business school in Europe has given me a unique point of view. As I have an American-centric background, I was able to challenge my assumptions at HEC, a diverse place. That experience would prove valuable regardless of what location my career took me to.

What does your role at Google involve and which partnerships have you worked on so far?

I specialize in mobile app monetization at Google. In such a rapidly growing domain, it is important for developers to turn their creativity into a viable business model. I work with new partners to help them develop revenue-generating strategies that best suit their specific apps and games, or to increase their existing monetization techniques, all while leveraging Google’s solutions.

How would you describe the culture at Google?

Google is a very fast-moving place where employees have ownership over their roles and careers. You won’t find micro-managers and cookie-cutter responsibilities. Google allows you to use your assets and knowledge to make a tangible impact on your team in an autonomous fashion.

It promotes collaboration with amazing people, challenging the “norm”, and out-of-the-box ideas.

What advice would you give to MBA students who want to work at Google?

Talk to current Googlers to better understand our internal teams and where you may best fit.

Knowing yourself and your goals is key. Applying to several different positions across a variety of roles in the hope that something will stick gives the impression that you’re indecisive.

Know your value and what you can bring to a specific role, and highlight that in your resume and interviews. So often people are drawn to Google because of how unique and fun the company is. That won’t set you apart. Find out what really makes you passionate about Google, and the roles you like, and express that. Most importantly, be yourself.

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