In the second of our “YOUR STORY” series, The Language Hub interviews Josep Mª Ciervo, Managing Director of UPCNet and IThink UPC. They have been clients for over 3 years now and we provide English classes for 3 groups of employees as well as Executive Coaching to Josep Mª.



YOUR STORY #2 (NOVEMBER 2017) – Josep Mª Ciervo

Managing Director of UPCNet and IThink UPC

TLH:    Good afternoon Josep Mª. Tell me a little about your job and your company.

JM:     I’m the general manager of two companies: UPCNet and IThink UPC. UPCNet is mainly focussed on giving IT services to the university…all the corporate IT services and IthinkUPC is more focussed on providing advanced software consulting and services to businesses.

TLH:    And how’s business?

JM:     Business is really good at the moment. We’re improving the efficiency and innovation with the university and we’re offerring more advanced software services to more big clients like, for example, GRIFOLS, CELLNEX, CELSA and GESTAMP among others.

TLH:    What are the current challenges and opportunities in your sector?

JM:     From my point of view, we’re living in a software-driven world. Everything is software and in order to launch new products in the market we have to make big efforts in innovation.

TLH:    So I imagine there’s constant learning and knowledge sharing…

JM:     Yes, because our way of competing is always to be one step ahead in technology knowledge and this implies having senior consultants that give an expert and flexible approach to our clients.

TLH: And how did you learn English Josep Mª?

JM:     Oh, I suffer with my English! (laughs) I started at university because I studied Telecommunications and almost every book was in English so I had to understand it very quickly… understand written English. But the big jump was really when I went from reading to speaking it.

TLH: How did that happen?

JM:  Well I found a teacher who was very particular and made you practise speaking in real life situations and not with books or grammar… so it was REAL English. Professionally, I started from the very beginning because I worked in multinational companies like SIEMENS and HEWLETT PACKARD. In SIEMENS , and as I don’t speak German, I needed to speak in English  not only with people in the company but also to deal with different partners. Basically, English about technology but also for reporting. I worked for Hewlett Packard for 18 years starting as a sales rep in charge of finance and services and selling big project systems in Barcelona. After that I became Sales Manager for big accounts in Spain and after that I became the General Manager of all the business in Catalunya as well as new responsibilities in Europe too.

TLH: And what’s your reality now? Do you use much English?

JM: Well nowadays I use it a little less as we’re not exactly an international company, but to get advanced knowledge about new technologies, I need to read a lot in English and at the same time we have to communicate with international partners. For example, tomorrow we have a meeting with a partner that sells artificial intelligence, or software for it, and they are based in California and we are discussing signing an agreement with them…in English.

TLH: So, in your opinion, what’s the best type of English training for you?

JM: I realise it’s important to maintain my English as I don’t have as many opportunities to practice it, and my first goal is this. But, if possible, also to improve it. It’s difficult because if you have a level like mine and you don’t live in a place where you use it everyday, there are a lot of colloquial phrases and so on that are difficult to adpot and use.

TLH: So, are these phrases important for you to learn?

JM: Well, I’d like to because if you speak in public, I’d like to manage it like I do in Spanish but it’s difficult to achieve.

TLH: And your training with TLH, how does it fit with your expectations?

JM: Oh, very well because the thing is that at the same time as I’m learning or practicing a language, I need an interesting conversation as well. If you have an interesting conversation about a subject that appeals to you, you get a more in-depth learning, like a virtuous cycle and it’s difficult to find teachers who are close in terms of profession or interests or background.

TLH:    And what would you like to do in the future?

JM:     As I said before, I’m happy with the English I have but perhaps the challenge is to talk publically without being too nervous as you are faced with people you’ve never met before which could be a little stressful. To do this well in English is a real challenge and I need to practise more, and this takes time… and I’m a little lazy (laughs).

TLH: Thank you very much José Mª!

JM:     You’re welcome.