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Advice / Career Paths / Exploring Careers

How 5 People Became Account Managers (and How You Can, Too)

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When it comes to relationships in the workplace, you probably think most often about the connections you share with your boss, your co-workers, and perhaps the barista you buy you coffee from every morning at the office café.

But as an account manager, you’re all about your customers. Your days are spent nurturing client relationships—communicating often, listening attentively, and doing whatever you can to make sure they’re happy and have what they need to succeed with your company’s product.

The one necessary trait for this job? People skills, of course. But to find out what else it takes to land such a role, we sat down with five account managers to learn about their career paths. From magic to music, their backgrounds vary widely—but one thing’s for sure: They love their jobs.

1. Maria Saravia, Account Supervisor, MODCo

“As a little girl, I always dreamed of being a vet,” Maria Saravia recalls, explaining that she’s always had a soft spot for horses and dogs.

And it turned out that she shared that passion with Sara Rotman, MODCo founder and CCO. “We’re both into horses and polo—so that’s how I actually met her,” Saravia shares. At the time, Rotman was interested in launching a boutique office in Argentina and needed someone to run it.

Now in the New York office, Saravia manages client accounts, making sure projects are delivered on time and working with the creative team to exceed client expectations. The most exciting part? “There’s not too much routine,” Saravia explains. “Every day is completely different.”

2. Nicole Cifani, Head of Accounts, Fueled

In college, Nicole Cifani studied interactive communications processes and media production, which gave her experience in sound design, film, “and a lot of things that really prepared me to be a producer, regardless of the medium,” she shares. And that certainly turned out to be useful, considering her wide array of producing experience—from creating interactive CD-ROMS to original music for commercials.

By the time she entered the mobile space, she had the perfect experience to translate client needs to the creative talent, and then back to the client.

At Fueled, you can find Cifani working on around 10 projects at a time, dividing her day between coordinating with clients, overseeing her team of account managers, and collaborating with the design and development departments.

See Jobs at Fueled

3. Fope Folowosele, Senior Associate, McKinsey & Company

Fope Folowosele first aspired to become a doctor—but that career dream was dashed when she realized she didn’t want to spend her days working in a hospital and dealing with blood. Instead, she switched her sights to electrical and computer engineering. After earning her PhD, she entered the field of neuromorphic engineering, which explores what neuroscientists know about how the human brain operates and tries to emulate that in electronic circuits.

But Folowosele wanted even more of a challenge; something completely different than what she was doing—but without going back to school. “Because at that point, I’d done a lot of school,” she laughs.

McKinsey presented the perfect opportunity for Folowosele to learn about business outside of the classroom. Depending on the current challenge she and her team are tackling, she spends her days interviewing and meeting with clients, then developing and delivering strategy recommendations. And just like she wanted, each project brings something new and challenging.

See Jobs at McKinsey

4. Jeffrey Canty, Client Advisor, TWG Insurance

After transitioning out of the mortgage industry, Jeffrey Canty wanted a career that would not only allow him plenty of face time with clients, but would provide an office atmosphere conducive to his people-oriented personality.

A friend introduced him to TWG Insurance, and Canty knew the client advisor role was perfect. “I’ve always been in a service-related field, so I thought this would be a good fit for me,” he shares. But there’s more: He immediately recognized—and appreciated—the family-like company culture. “It’s just easier to come to work when, instead of co-workers, you’re coming to work with friends and family.”

In his role, Canty works with clients constantly, digging into conversation to find out more about their needs, then recommending the most appropriate insurance for their cars and homes. “At the end of the day, we’re doing a good service,” he explains. “We’re helping someone out; we’re making sure they’re protecting their assets.”

5. Jon Jacques, Senior Account Executive, Virool

When Jon Jacques was six years old, his parents bought him a magic kit and—seemingly out of thin air—his career path appeared. By 10, he’d turned pro and was doing more than 250 magic shows per year around the world.

When he met Alex Debelov, the founder of Virool, in college, those showmanship skills came in handy. “He liked my presentation style and my ability to connect with people,” Jacques shares, “and I was able to translate those skills beautifully into what we’re doing at Virool.”

As senior account executive, Jacques still has plenty of opportunities to wow his audience. He works with some big clients—including Fortune 500 companies, celebrities, and music artists—to make sure they have everything they need to get their video campaigns up and running.