Alum Carmen Pecharromán chats about her exciting career journey from Communications to Finance and HR—Carmen Pecharromán speaks out about her unique career path
In a recent interview, P&G Switzerland exec, Carmen Pecharromán, takes you through her one-of-a-kind career journey and offers some tips for building a successful career in Finance and HR.
When you choose to study a Bachelor in Communication and Digital Media, you envision your career progressing in many different directions, but working in HR and Finance probably isn’t top of your list! However, that’s the transformative vision of IE University—we empower our students with the skills and mindset to excel in whatever field they end up working in, however unexpected it may be.
This very broad spectrum of professional experience characterizes alum Carmen Pecharromán’s exciting career. She currently works for Procter & Gamble based in Geneva, Switzerland. Carmen recently spoke to us about her unique career journey and offers valuable tips to those interested in working in HR and Finance—the two fields she has developed most of her career in since graduation.
How has your career evolved since graduating from IE University six years ago?
Right after graduating from IE University, I joined the Young Graduates Program at STMicroelectronics—a global semiconductor company—with both Communication and HR responsibilities, based in Switzerland. After that, I became the HR Business Partner within the CFO’s organization.
Two years later I joined P&G Switzerland as the site HR & employee and labor relations manager; was then promoted to senior manager within a year and thereafter switched to Finance.
Can you tell us about your current role in Finance at P&G Switzerland? What does your day-to-day entail?
I’m currently the senior finance manager in external supply solutions for Global Appliances—Braun—and Europe Shave Care—Gillette. This means that, from a finance and accounting standpoint, I am responsible for all of our outsourced manufacturing within global Braun and Europe Gillette.
This includes conducting a make-or-buy analysis to understand which of the two creates more value for the company in any given context; assessing our current and potential contract manufacturers’ financial health; advising our purchases department on any financial clauses within our contract; and ensuring stewardship, among others.
Before this financial role, you had HR-related roles at the same company. How did this change happen, and what would you highlight about each position?
I grew passionate about Finance while doing my Global MBA, which I started three years after graduating from my bachelor’s program. Right after finishing it, I asked my management team whether I could pursue a career in Finance. Despite HR-to-Finance being a rather uncommon career change, they were open to the idea and made it happen within just two months.
While I highly enjoyed HR—particularly the employee and labor relations side of it, I believe that Finance has brought me closer to the business, improving my understanding of and ability to influence it.
What would you highlight about working in Finance after the first six months?
I believe Finance to be the function with the broadest view of the business and is, therefore, key in driving business decisions. I strongly recommend Finance to those with a passion for business, courage to lead, and—needless to say—excellent analytical skills and attention to detail.
You studied the Bachelor in Communication: had you ever thought about working in HR or Finance during your studies?
No, I did not. In fact, when I started my bachelor’s degree, all I wanted to be was a journalist. Yet, I firmly believe that being open to learning and experiencing new things is the only way to find out where your true passion lies; so I do not regret any of the steps that brought me to where I am today.
How do you feel your experience at IE University and the IE Talent & Careers department helped you secure these opportunities?
Well, I found my first job at STMicroelectronics through IE University’s Career Portal, so all this may not have been possible without it!
Moreover, I believe my IE University experience changed the lenses through which I saw the world, making them more pragmatic, entrepreneurial and cosmopolitan.
What would you say to current students interested in working in corporate financial departments after graduation? Any tips?
Work on your communication skills as much as your financial ones; numbers only drive business decisions when they are understood by everyone in the room. Strive to understand every side of the business, and build a network of people who can teach you while offering support along your journey.
And to those interested in working in HR?
Business acumen is as important for an HR professional as for any other within a multinational company. In my experience, scarce business acumen will eventually limit your career growth within HR.