Laying the foundations for exciting career moves
To say that Eria Polykarpou made some impressive career switches during her time at TMC would be an understatement. ‘I joined TMC because I wanted to explore the market, and that’s precisely what TMC’s guidance and support made possible for me. Learning to adapt to different cultures, different types of companies and organizations – it’s hard to think of a more valuable lesson, both on the personal and the professional level.’
When Eria Polykarpou came to TMC, she already had plenty of experience in adapting to new environments. When she finished her studies in Chemical Engineering in Greece, she moved to the UK, where she lived for five years, got her Ph.D., and taught undergraduate chemical engineers. After another teaching and researching stint in Australia, Eria moved to The Netherlands, where she joined TMC in the summer of 2015.
‘In my almost three years at TMC, I’ve completed several projects,’ Eria says. ‘The first one, at Unilever, involved the same type of work I’d done before: trying to describe systems using mathematical models.’ With her second project, also at Unilever, Eria took a step in a slightly different direction: instead of creating the models herself, her work focused on trying to improve the understanding of the models and their benefits: ‘Since big data and data analytics are becoming more important these days, I tried to bring about a culture change within the organization.’
'TMC gave me the chance to work for different types of organizations: a big, multinational company and a more locally-focused organization – and of course, there was the mission abroad.'
Gradually, Eria realised that she wanted do something more commercial: ‘I didn’t see myself in the role of principal scientist for the rest of my life. After a couple of inspiring talks with my account manager and my personal coach, we agreed a switch to a more commercial role could offer interesting possibilities – but since my background was almost exclusively technical, they suggested I should get some commercial experience first. TMC found a role for me in Switzerland, where I investigated TMC’s potential in the Swiss market.’ For that project, Eria went on to win an Employeneur Award. Looking back, she calls it ‘one of the highlights of my time at TMC.’
After her time in Switzerland, Eria joined a new, more commercially-oriented project at KWR Watercycle Research Institute. She got to combine her technical background with her fresh commercial acumen: ‘My responsibility was to help KWR, a medium-sized Dutch company, expand both geographically and in its field of applications.’
Now, Eria’s time at KWR – and at TMC – has almost come to an end: a month ago, she was offered an exciting new position in the financial sector, an opportunity she couldn’t refuse. ‘Not that it has been an easy decision,’ she says. ‘I really enjoyed my time at TMC and I still very much believe in the Employeneurship model. TMC gave me the chance to work for different types of organizations: a big, multinational company and a more locally-focused organization – and of course, there was the mission abroad. All of these experiences taught me to be even more flexible, to appreciate the differences between all kinds of organizations and to try to get the best out of each experience. Being open-minded, without compromising your own character and ideas - that’s an ambition TMC and I will always have in common.’