Alum of the Month - December 2020

Julia Eschelbeck

The curiosity to uncover the causes of things ingrained in me by my time at LSE drove my interest in the application of AI to solve customer problems.
Julia Eschelbeck


  • Programme studied: Double Degree Master of Science (MSc)/Master of International Management (MiM)
  • Year of Graduation: 2016
  • LinkedIn profile

Meet our December Alum of the Month, Julia Eschelbeck. Julia is part of the Google Cloud AI Product team working to create AI solutions that inspire customers on the journey of the technologies' transformative potential. She was recognised as a next generation leader on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and loves learning, new challenges and bringing people together. 

Tell us about your career journey since graduating from LSE.

After eight years of studying and working across Europe and Asia, I realised it was time to go back to the place where my journey began — Silicon Valley. I joined the Google Cloud partnerships team. The experiences I had gathered from CEMS working with students from across the world proved the best preparation for a globally oriented role. Whether it was a rollout in London or Singapore, my background gave me a keen ability to connect with our stakeholders and customers around the globe.

During my first two years at Google, I worked hand in hand with the Google Cloud AI product and engineering team, to drive the partnership strategy for our first AI solutions. The curiosity to uncover the causes of things ingrained in me by my time at LSE drove my interest in the application of AI to solve customer problems. I sought out an opportunity to join our product team to validate and deliver new AI solutions to market. I am incredibly blessed to say that I love what I do and even more so, that I am inspired day in and day out by the people I work with.

The CEMS MIM program provided a foundational catalyst on my journey in using technology to build bridges across companies, cultures, and continents. What is more, Google has given me the opportunity to stay engaged with the CEMS MIM community - there are events for alumni around the world and the network is an invaluable resource to rely on when visiting a new city or looking for a bit of career advice! 

As a CEMS student, how did you find your term at LSE differ from your home school  experience at WU in Vienna? How did you make the most of your time in London?

For me, the time at LSE was one of the most challenging and most rewarding semesters of my university life. Given that I was studying while working at Cisco, I had the opportunity to bring together the world of business and the world of research. At the same time, it was an exercise in extreme time management and a first experience in managing a team remotely. But despite the intense schedule, I look back extremely fondly on the incredible staff, lecturers, and friends that were there to help me every step of the way. Their support made it possible to juggle university life, work meetings and enjoy my time in one of the world’s most historic and exciting cities. 

You were featured in Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ for helping to set up a start-up program to facilitate the topic of co-innovation and acceleration at Cisco in Europe. Tell us a bit more about this journey?

As I was finishing my undergraduate degree, I came across an opportunity to join a small team out of Vienna that was working to transform how corporations innovate in partnership with startups. I was so inspired that within a few days, I deferred my graduate degree plans, declined my consulting internship offers, and signed a job offer with Cisco. Over the course of two years, I was given the opportunity to help build, scale, and integrate programs that redefined how startups and corporates work together. Many of these strategies have formed the foundation for startup-corporate partnership in Austria. The work at Cisco was key in igniting my personal passion for technology.

I can safely say I would not be where I am today, had it not been for my experience at Cisco. However, I know that at the time my decision to change course and join Cisco was definitely not easy. Our stories are composed of key inflection points - when they come along, dare to take the path less travelled as they are the defining moments of our lives.

What advice would you give to a current student or recent graduate who is looking to start a career path in the field of AI? 

I always find that we spend an extraordinary amount of time planning our path for the future. And yet, looking back, many people will say they would have never predicted where they are today. If you had told me ten years ago that I would be working in the field of AI, I would have probably laughed. It took leaving California, studying, and working in Europe and Asia to help me recognise my passion for technology. So, rather than plot out a path, let curiosity and a love for learning be your guide. Talk to people, make use of online courses and take advantage of the virtual world COVID has created by joining meetups across the globe. The world of AI is evolving and changing on a daily basis and so are the opportunities within it. Jump in and enjoy the ride because what we will be working on in ten years from now may not even exist today. 

You have been working for Google for over two and a half years now. What is the most important lesson you have learned during this time? How has it changed during Covid-19, if at all?

Have an attitude of gratitude. When I joined Google, a long time Googler and now friend, shared these five words, and I have found them to be the most undervalued advice I was ever given. I have learned that gratitude is a core element of leadership and even more so that “thank you” is one of the most powerful sentences in the English language. Taking intentional time out of the week, out of the month, to share with others that they are appreciated is a part of our fundamental responsibility as humans - and knowing that we are valued is one of our core human needs and essential for any highly functioning team.

I believe this lesson is more relevant than ever in the virtual world of COVID. The online environment has a tendency to create misunderstandings and the lack of physical presence removes the barriers of being overly critical. Therefore, we must be even more intentional in recognising people’s contributions and making time to show our gratitude. 

Share a sentence on your Covid-19 experience. Has it made you rethink your career goals or what is important to you?

As an extrovert, I love being in the office — surrounded by people, grabbing a quick coffee, sitting with our team to work through a unique customer challenge. For me, face-to-face interaction is key to our humanity, so these months at home have been challenging to say the least. And yet, it has been amazing and inspiring to see the human race adapt; virtual happy hours, gyms memberships with millions of subscribers, and the realisation that friends and family are only a video call away regardless if they are down the street or across the globe. I have gained a new appreciation for the importance of communication when working as a team, especially when many of the non-verbal cues get lost in translation on a day-to-day basis. So, while I look forward to when we can go back to the office safely, I am thankful for these lessons that will be useful for years to come.