Hello, Philadelphia!

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By: Mark Seaver

mark-fd-explorer1They say if you really want to get to know the ins and outs of a country-you have to work and live there. Ever since my first trip over to the United States a decade ago, I knew it was where I wanted to work, live and establish a presence in.  After completing a Business Management Master’s Degree in August of this year, I joined the First Derivatives Graduate Explorers Programme in September. Three short days in, I was given the exciting news that I would be travelling to the vibrant city of Philadelphia!
My training began within the Marketing department of our Newry based Headquarters. There, I was given access to information, collateral, and technology experts, which enabled me to soak up as much as I possibly could about our Kx Tech, before being deployed out to Philadelphia. During my time in HQ I was responsible for carrying out research within our non-financial verticals, preparing and delivering presentations on everything Kx, and organising Kx Community meetups. These duties were all carried out while working with and learning directly from senior management within the company. The final two weeks of training were spent within the Lead Generation team. There I was responsible for setting up introductory meetings with target companies based here in the US. I was also taught to fine tune and perfect my Kx pitch, which I would be making to the range of companies based here in the States within the variety of different target industries.

After six short weeks of training, I found myself in Dublin airport waiting on an early morning flight out to Philadelphia. As I boarded the plane, a mixture of excitement and anxiety crept over me. While the idea of being deployed out into a major US city as a Business Development Executive was daunting, I knew it was an exceptional and unparalleled opportunity that did not exist anywhere else! While the learning curve has been steep, and has not been without its challenges, I would not trade the experience thus far for anything. Even though an explorer may be operating independently within their assigned city, the on-going support, guidance and feedback from HQ has been second to none!

mark-fd-explorer2One of the most exciting and appealing aspects of the Explorers programme has been the variety of work, which often changes on a day to day basis. No two days are the same! For example, I have found myself attending a Technology Conference down in the state of Delaware, a life Science Forum in Northern Pennsylvania, and meeting with a potential client in the city centre-all in one day. Although the majority of my time here in Philadelphia has been spent targeting corporate giants within the Retail, Pharma, Manufacturing, Utilities, Teleco, and Space Industries, there are other exciting areas for an FD explorer to focus on. While out here on location, I have been tasked with the responsibility of acting as an extension of our recruitment and Technology Fund team. As a result, I have found myself strolling around some of the highest ranked Universities here in the United States engaging with faculty, researchers, and students alike. Off campus, engaging with start-ups and SME’s has been an incredibly insightful and rewarding experience, knowing that our technology and services-in-kind can enable these young entrepreneurs expand into the global market space and reach their full potential. I have quickly come to realise that agility, determination, and adaptability are key qualities needed to succeed in this demanding yet enjoyable role.

mark-fd-explorer4I have been given six short weeks to make a lasting impression on the city of Philadelphia. As my time here in Philadelphia draws to a close, I am looking forward to reconvening with my fellow explorers back in Newry HQ to share my experience, and to hear all of the exciting tales from around the globe. As First Derivatives continue to expand their global footprint, the opportunity to build upon my international business network has been incredible. Looking to 2018 my next deployment may be back to Philadelphia, or some other exciting destination around the world. That is one of the most exciting aspects of the explorers programme- you never know what lies around the corner!