Hola, Barcelona!

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By: Clara Iscar

It’s been almost three months since I first set foot in Newry, just a few weeks after finishing my law degree at Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, in Madrid, I was packing to move abroad and start working for the biggest indigenous tech company in Ireland. This was an opportunity not to be missed!

fd-explorer-barcelona1Joining the Graduate Explorers program in August 8th, my role would be to represent and spread the word about First Derivatives’ technology division, Kx, in one of the many cities around the globe where the company has set its focus. Coming to FD right out of university, the fact that I got to sit and work side by side with senior management people within the company, shows it’s work ethic and how involved they are in our learning process before we get deployed.

This being said, I knew from the beginning my time in Newry would be limited so I focused on soaking in as much as I could about our technology while I was there. I started as a part of the marketing team in HQ, where some of my responsibilities included event management in the European region, working on the Finance vertical, and being in charge of building collateral and the public relations aspect alongside my colleagues in Newry and the team in New York. Kx traditional market has been for decades the financial industry, so it was a great opportunity to get to learn where our roots are, knowing this field where our technology is respected and largely successful helps me understand and be confident about the history and quality of Kx when talking to companies in new fields, such as pharma, manufacturing, space, retail or telco.

fd-explorer-barcelona2Once we got our destinations we started working on our city plans, we focused on researching the main industries in our cities, Smart Cities initiatives, and the start-up ecosystem. I was given Barcelona, one of the top Smart Cities in Europe and a bustling city full of opportunities for Kx to grow in a new market. Being an explorer, getting to be your own manager in an amazing city, attending events, meeting new people, generating interest about Kx within some of the biggest companies in the region, is an exciting opportunity and also a challenging one. My time is my own, I love the fact that every day is different, but that also involves a great deal of organization and time management.

My role involves three main objectives, the main one being generating business and awareness of Kx within some of the biggest companies in the pharma, retail, telco or manufacturing industry, among others, introducing them to our technology and understanding their current issues when it comes to data analysis to see where Kx could be a fit and a solution.

I’m also responsible for connecting with universities and research institutions in the region and introduce them to our academic license as well as the fantastic work opportunities at FD for graduate students.

Lastly, I’m in charge of getting to know the start-up ecosystem in Barcelona, one of Europe’s most dynamic ones, and spreading the word about our Tech Fund though which Kx seeks to invest in companies that will be able to leverage our technology to disrupt their respective markets.

fd-explorer-barcelona3Although the task is challenging and at times might seem too daunting, nobody can argue what a rare and amazing opportunity this is for anyone, let alone for a recent graduate, not to mention the many perks it comes with. I know this very well as I write this blog from the terrace of the apartment FD got for me in the very centre of Barcelona. The city constantly reminds me of how much it has to offer, there’s always something to do and someone new to meet! Being from the other side of the country myself, I never thought I’d experience much of a culture shock, but the reality is the Mediterranean lifestyle is just something else. People walking by the beach, kids playing in the plaza while grownups chat and enjoy some tapas, and people playing music in every corner of the street, time seems to have stopped here and it feels like summer all over again.

Just three months ago my knowledge about topics like Big Data, Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence or IoT was quite limited. Today I make an effort to learn more and keep evolving every day because I really believe we are going through the change of an era, and I’m glad I jumped on the wagon on time.