Experience that employers see as positive and valuable

Alba Santmarti
Alba Santmarti

My name is Alba, I currently live in the Netherlands and work as an R&D manager in packaging sustainability for Henkel’s consumer brands (such as Persil and Loctite). I started working for Outsmart Insight 4 years ago and have worked on roughly 30 projects. Tech Expert searches are some of my favourite projects because they allow me to find, interview and connect with experts from different fields. 

I joined as an Associate while I was doing my PhD because I wanted to gain experience outside of academia. Also, the extra cash from the assignments was always welcome when living in a city as expensive as London. After I graduated and found a job in corporate R&D, I continued working as an Associate because I truly enjoy learning about different technological advances outside my main field of expertise. 

The first project I worked on was Tech Watch, in which I scouted emerging technologies for a multinational engineering and defence client. In this project, I learned about many robotics and AI-related topics that I would otherwise never come across in my day-to-day job.  

Recently, I worked as a team lead on a technology and supplier landscape project for a wearable tech company that was looking for manufacturers of thin natural materials. In this project, I provided feedback to the team of Associates that were looking for suppliers, I screened and made a list of suppliers and types of materials that fitted best with the client’s needs and I wrote a report on the different technologies available to produce such laminates. Learning about new companies and technologies and helping clients with their innovation journey is really rewarding. Of course, the financial compensation also helps, and with the project fees I was able to sponsor my last holidays and pay for a flight ticket to Bali (not bad, huh?)

I also believe that having this experience as a freelance tech consultant has had great value in my professional career. In almost every interview I have had, interviewers have been curious about my work at Outsmart Insight. Employers see this experience as something very positive and valuable that they could benefit from in their organisations. In my current role, I am using the skills I gained to conduct technology landscape searches in the field of recyclable packaging.

My advice for new Associates is to join projects they will enjoy working on and to be reliable. If you consistently deliver good quality results on time, your trustworthiness will be compensated and you will be offered more substantial assignments. Who knows, maybe that could help fund your next exotic vacation too!