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Alumni Convention: Marielle Montanido's Answers

What was the hardest interview question you encountered?

For technical questions, the struggle is always with market sizing — coincidentally, i had market sizing questions in all companies i applied for. (from FMCG, consulting, Investment banking, and startups). Here’s a quick guide: Some MS questions I encountered:

  • Whats the MS of chicharon in Malaysia?

  • How many tennis balls can fit in this room?

  • How big is the dilutes market in north luzon?

  • What’s the current MS of stationary bikes during the covid lockdown?

For non-technical questions, the hardest one i’ve encountered is: “Describe your working style and compare it to a type of alcohol” LOL some interviewers get creative.

How were you able to adjust to the career life? Is it significantly different from your initial expectations before entering the company?

Since I asked a lot of questions prior to entering, I sort of had a gauge of how the day-to-day will be like. The main shock for me was how efficient and magaling everyone is. I definitely had to adjust to the fast pace and level of dedication everybody else had.

How do you usually plan your work day and how do you stay on track especially during these challenging times? Do you have specific rules that you stick to?

  • Being organized is a must. I spent a lot of time figuring out how to best track the progress of my projects — tried Trello, Excel etc. so best to find one that works for you. If you can’t plan your schedule and organize your tasks, you’ll drown and be too stressed out. Once you have an effective list, it takes away a lot of mental load too.

  • I have a very detailed calendar and I always start the day with a run-through of my list. I even plan when I’d start THINKING about a certain project. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when u have 20 people messaging you and you hear the ping of your email every 10 mins — so planning is your best friend.

  • My hard rule is: if it’s not yet my “thinking schedule” for it, I won’t worry about it (unless urgent). It gives me a semblance of direction/focus and helps me stay sane.

How did you introduce yourself at work and how'd you manage to build your first relationships in the workplace?

For introduction, I’m lucky to have a team that did all the necessary introductions on my behalf. As for building relationships, since you’ll be leading a team, I did my best to insert getting-to-know you activities every meeting to build relationships. Quite cheeky but I’d like to think it paid off!

Was there something you had to give up to get to where you are now?

A lot of time, for sure. I worked hard for every interview. Even in college, a lot of effort was poured into competitions, bootcamps, and org work! I’d like to think that my whole college life was a big investment.

As a former JFA CEO who initially wanted to go for investment banking and consulting, what made you pivot your career to enter into FMCG? What were your apprehensions and how did you surpass the challenges?

I wasn’t sure which path to take but I did know that I want to end up having my own business, So i was looking for an opportunity that will give me the: (1) mentorship, (2) capital, and (3) exposure during my 20s that can pave the way for that. This UFLP program showed me the competitive compensation it can give me, the formalized mentorship program which will allow me to rub elbows with some of the most influential in the business so I can learn from them, and a growth plan that will give me Cross-functional and international exposure. Additionally, brand management lets you manage a business. You are literally like the CEO of your own brands, which is far from how marketing is portrayed in college. All these reasons pointed directly to UFLP. But again, I applied for all of those! So I had a clear understanding of how each industry worked, and what I’d learn from each. :) So it was a difficult but informed decision.

My main apprehension is if I was qualified enough to compete with batchmates who had their whole college life focused purely on marketing. My resume is so cluttered so I was worried it would backfire. Fortunately, I got to play it to my advantage — having a holistic perspective on business with my ops/finance background!

How did you apply for different companies especially during a pandemic? What was it like navigating through all the uncertainties?

It was definitely more challenging — harder to build rapport during interviews, lots of companies going on freeze hire, internet issues LOL so my tips are:

  • Apply early

  • Practice virtual interviews!

  • Apply to a lot! — if you don’t end up taking it, at least you got to practice with them!

Message from Mar

Good luck! And I’ve mentioned during the call, always ask! Chat someone up and set up a quick call! You’ll be surprised that a lot of people are already doing it, so if you aren’t, you’re missing out! There’s a lot of advice that I’m sure many people are willing to share.

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