An Interview by MentorWorks’ Joel Soo:
As the class of 2018 put on their caps and gowns to receive their diploma, they start an exciting new chapter in their lives. For many of them, this marks the end of their formal education and the start of their continuous lifelong learning. Moe Bachouti from Cambridge College speaks about how his constant thirst to learn from different people throughout his life has shaped him to become the person he is today.
Below is a transcript of our conversation, it is lightly edited for ease of reading
Can you tell me about yourself?
Sure! I am a graduate of Cambridge College; I got my Bachelor in management studies there. From there, I got my masters of liberal arts at Harvard and then got a doctorate in political and social sciences from Barcelona’s University of Pompeu Fabra.
My professional career has always been around marketing, sales, and international growth. Outside of that – I’m just your typical New England resident, seizing the sunny days (whenever they’re out). Always leaving some time to decompress from work, usually by playing soccer and grabbing drinks over the weekend!
Going back to your educational background, how has it contributed to your career thus far?
When I first got my degrees, starting with a bachelor, I felt like I was just ticking checkboxes just to be able to land jobs and that required bachelor’s degrees in the job descriptions. After each time I was done with my studies, I felt it has always changed the way I thought about education. There were still life components to them that were not just professional – you feel like you become more adaptive to new and different ideas. You become more explorative of different views and opinions, and you start to appreciate the world beyond your four walls. It has made me much more ambitious because what happens is that the more you learn, you begin to realize you know so much less than when you first started. Meaning that there are always more opportunities to learn, and that excites me.
That’s great! I would say, though, that you hold more degrees than a typical college graduate.
[Laughs] Yea you get addicted to learning, I’ll tell you that!
Can you tell me about what you do at HubSpot and how did you decide you wanted to work at a company like that?
Sure, I work in the customer success org, customer success is all about helping our customer see value and satisfaction with the product we provide. I work as a region manager with a team of experts, and our focus is on delivering great marketing strategies, helping customers get better results in the execution of the tool and marketing campaigns. So you have consultants who are tasked with making sure that those companies are using the tools optimally, and are creating marketing campaigns that actually results in gaining customers and generate revenue and help them in being successful in what they do. HubSpot’s mission is to support growing business grow better by simplifying their marketing and sales functions and making sure that they are reaching their customers most adequately in a natural and nurturing sequence of communication.
Taking a step back, can you describe what HubSpot does as a company?
HubSpot is an all-in-one platform, it’s a big platform that allows businesses to operate and create their marketing and sales campaigns, and delight their customers with that. On HubSpot, you will have tools for search engine optimization, blogging, social media, email workflows, analytics, CRM, feedback surveys, and the list goes on. Almost everything that a marketing and sales function would need is on our platform, and it is integrated in a way that you wouldn’t have to connect multiple platforms to achieve the same goals. And since they’re on the same platform, you have aligned analytics tools that allow you to understand how your sales and marketing are doing.
That’s great! And based on your job description, it looks like what you do is to help align all of those things together.
Yes, since our platform has so many functionalities, customers need help ramping up with our tools, they need consultants that help guide them through the process and help them use the tools they have to achieve their goals. So my team are consultants that connect with customers, onboard them and show them the best practices to use the tools.
Other than HubSpot’s product, their corporate culture is pretty well known. Can you tell me a little about that?
Ever since its founding, it was imperative for HubSpot to hire humble, yes ambitious people. These people are hard to find, but it is a great recipe to create a company that genuinely cares about customers and also have people collaborating internally with minimal friction. To that end, our fundamentals are based in the culture code that is abbreviated HEART: Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, and Transparent. Especially on the transparent side of things, everyone in the company really knows what is going on from top to bottom. This has served us well to attract diverse individuals who value collaboration, transparency, in order to row in the same direction.
Do you feel like it has helped you in the way you think about things professionally or personally?
Yeah! There are a lot of companies that do amazing things. But frankly, when I started at HubSpot, I thought to myself “is this even real?” Speak with anyone that works at HubSpot and ask how happy they are and you will always get a great response, everyone is happy! It’s a great feeling to come back from work feeling that you were doing something unique and with people you enjoy working with. Everyone is happy and relaxed, and they are creating things that they are proud of, and I feel lucky to be a part of HubSpot for three years now.
That’s awesome! So can you talk a little about how you got here professionally? Can you talk about the things you’ve done that led you to where you are now?
I’ve always believed that where I was is not equal to where I will be. And I didn’t hate myself for it. I needed to put the work in. I’ve always been grateful for each phase of my career, looking to put in the effort and learn from different people and accepting different points of views. I was and still a good listener, I never interrupt conversations for the sake of getting attention. What helped me a lot was that I never rejected any new ideas. I worked at a gas station, then as an administrative assistant, then as a translator and afterward as a marketing operations manager. After years of marketing and sales, being very patient doing the work I needed to do, I landed a job at the king of all marketing – HubSpot. Throughout these jobs, the catalysts that led to me having this job was creating genuine professional friendships. Everywhere I went I was building my professional networks, but again, I was genuine about it. I wasn’t the kind of person who would speak with you just for the sake of making a connection, I was continuously engaging and listening to people. The creation of these genuine relationships was based on respect of work ethics and dedication to success. I was always learning from the people that worked the hardest and creating beautiful things at their jobs and staying in touch with them, even after leaving our shared companies. I would send them emails, have phone calls, grabbing lunch, etc. I was continuing these relationships without the mindset that I would need it one day. But it paid off in multiple ways because of this. So it was good to always be genuine in these relationships.
That’s great to hear! Moving on to more personal parts of your life, have you ever had any formal or informal mentors in your life? If so, how have they helped you?
I’ve consistently had mentors throughout my life. Many of them know it, and some people I’ve modeled myself after. They’ve helped me in two ways. One was the advice that they’ve given straight to me, and second by following their model.
Some of the advice that has helped me the most were around perception. Reminding ourselves that it is not about what we believe is the truth about certain things, but what others believe matter just as much. Another is being open and adaptable to meet and delight customers in certain situations take a lot more than what you think is right for them, but also what they think is right for themselves. We always have to think “am I seeing this from my angle or my customers’ angle too?” These are the things I’ve learned from my mentors.
From others, it was just impressive in seeing how they create opportunities critical to the business that they operate. It keeps reminding me to think about not just building things for the sake of demonstrating creativity, but also adding value to the respective company.
That’s true, and how were these people related to you?
Most of these people were my managers and peers at work. They were not necessarily my direct managers. It could be someone in a completely different function in the company, someone who is creating massive impact in the company. In my case, it was mostly people from various roles in the company. My life in general, I come from a huge family, my father had 11 siblings (!), I have four brothers, and I look up to people who have more experience than myself, I think its valuable and it has served me well.
In addition to that, you can find great mentors in your professors. When I was at Cambridge College, I had a professor that really focused on teaching practical things in his course. What amazed me was that he was showing something so practical in the most academic places. It’s always great to have people think out of the box to see what is actually more important for students when they enter the workforce. This was not necessarily an advice, but it is something I do every day in my life, always thinking out of the box, beyond the traditional way of thinking.
That’s great, and along those lines, you’ve talked about the practicality of teaching skills that are useful in the workforce – what advice do you have for people who are just about to graduate college?
Two things, one for the short term, another for the long run.
- For the short term, if you’re applying for a job in the near future, YouTube as much as you can about the topics related to the company and the jobs! Look up all the software and the skills necessary. There is no way your degree will be enough to fit all of the job descriptions in the world two years down the line! The internet is a beautiful thing, we can get information on anything whenever we want it.
- For the long-term, specialize! If you feel that you are applying to a company that is for example marketing technology, look at their certifications. A lot of them want you to come to their courses. Spend some time on that, and get specialized in it. It will definitely serve you not only at a specific company but any other in the same industry.
What prompted you to become a mentor at Cambridge College?
Throughout my career, I always find myself wishing I knew about something before it happened. And I believe that it is still important to treat people the way you want to be treated. I believe in doing more than what you are asked to do. And to do more than the bare minimum, not only for the sake of the growth of the company but also for the growth of your personal grit. It is an essential quality that other companies pay attention to. It is always important to keep in mind that you are not just working for your company, you are working for yourself, you’re building yourself and your professional life.
Some very very good advice! Thanks, Moe!
You’re very welcome!