Meet William: Managing Director North America at Student Beans
The latest in our Meet The Team series comes to you from our New York office. Over the past decade, William has grown from being one of Student Beans' first employees, to now leading the company in North America. Read on to find out his secrets to success, and what he feels is most unique and special about working at Student Beans.
What has been the highlight of your time at Student Beans so far?
Tough question. I've been a part of the Student Beans journey for over 10 years now so I have a lot of material to choose from.
The last couple of years have definitely been the most exciting. We are growing at an incredible rate. Having spent our early years doing a lot of experimenting and testing we hit a stride about 3 years ago that enabled us to really focus, pull together as a team and start to scale globally.
Being a part of this latest phase of the Student Beans story is a big highlight for me. We are now working with global brands across 52 countries and reaching over 50 million students a month via our network. I've been able to work directly with some very cool brands like Google, Amazon and Apple and I have recently relocated from London to New York to head up our North American business.
What’s your top tip for people interested in working in business development?
The most successful sales people I have worked with are extremely ambitious, restless and persistent. But most importantly they are highly independent and decisive, capable of thinking autonomously, using their initiative and acting on their own.
In our recruitment process we look for not only a particular profile of individual that we consistently see perform well in sales roles but also a strong cultural fit with our business values.
Everyone has their own style but at the end of the day people do business with people, so if I have to come up with just one tip it's "be yourself".
What are you most looking forward to at work in 2018?
In 2018 we are on track to double the size of the business compared to 2017.
We have some hugely exciting (and top secret) developments in the works that I think will totally disrupt the space we are in.
We have also just launched offices in a number of new countries and watching those take off is definitely very exciting.
The thing that will probably have the biggest impact is actually doing more of the same. Our model is working and scaling really well, full speed ahead!
What do you think sets Student Beans apart from other companies in the sector?
1) Our product
2) Our culture
We have a great market leading product and our clients regularly tell us that. We receive very favourable feedback in comparison to our competitors and we offer a number of unique features our partners really seem to value.
One of the most common pieces of feedback we receive from partners is about the team and how great we are to work with. We really pride ourselves on having a best-in-class account management/client success team. If we got a $1 for every time a client told us how much they value our support and choose to work with us because we presented "the best cultural fit" with their business then we wouldn't need to have the best student verification solution in the world (but it helps that we do!).
What’s the no.1 thing that makes you stay at Student Beans?
It's a combination of things that make up the experience I have every day I come to work and they are the reason why I am still here after 10 years; The team, the ambition and the journey.
There is something really powerful about being part of an engaged team that's driving a shared vision forward. Especially when that vision is a really exciting and ambitious one. I think of many of the team as friends as well as colleagues and we work and play hard together.
We are on also on a journey which has challenged me hugely over the years. From launching the Student Beans brand on my university campus to running sales teams, working on the product strategy and now managing the growth of the business internationally I have always been learning and growing with the business. It has been and continues to be a fantastic adventure.