Aston 50th Anniversary: Alison Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg Q&A

50 Aston Greats - Alison Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg

Alison Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg

An alumna of Aston Business School, Alison Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg graduated with a degree in International Business and German in 1993. Her career in HR started with Goldman Sachs, where she worked for 14 years before moving to Rothschild to assume the role of HR Director.

You’re currently on the Advisory Board of Aston Business School. What does that involve?

I’ve been on the board since early 2008. I’m an HR Director today and graduates are the lifeblood of a firm. Education, particularly higher education, is a topic that’s very close to my heart, so it seemed to make sense to join the Board, as I thought I could offer some useful perspectives. What I bring is a reality-check around what the goal is - what employers want; how to connect with employers; what’s important to us; what employability skills are really critical; so I seem to get asked a lot about these types of topics.

I understand that you also mentored an Aston student. How did that come about?

It’s clearly an aspiration of the Business School to make sure that their students get mentored. I was assigned a young gentleman. He was looking at a career in the City and we had our first meeting on a day that he had an important interview. It was very practical because I used to be the Head of Graduate Recruitment at the firm he’d applied to! He got the job and emailed me that evening and said “that was so helpful”. But we didn’t just talk purely about the interview, he also wanted to know about how you manage your life as well as your career, which I found refreshing. We were quite thoughtfully matched because a lot of what I was able to tell him clearly hit the nail on the head, and that’s always very satisfying.

What was your greatest achievement at Aston?

I went to Aston for a very specific reason. At the time it was one of the only universities that had properly integrated the language teaching with business. I think, as a result, I was able to embrace the language in the proper way, so when I went on my year abroad I really immersed myself in the German way of life. When I came back, my fluency on the programme was quite high and thus felt very comfortable at the thought of starting my career in Germany.

What is your fondest Aston memory?

It was just the environment that Aston provided. I didn’t feel like a number, I felt like an individual. I felt like I had proper relationships with the teaching staff and that it was really a community. I must say, I really enjoyed living on Aston Brook Green too.

What is the best advice you can give to today’s graduates?

I think it’s about being a rounded personality because what is required in today’s workplace is really not just about academic skill, it’s about emotional intelligence; it’s about being able to mould yourself to different situations. It’s about being culturally aware, which a lot of the programmes at Aston give you, not just because you’re studying languages, but because you’re interacting with quite an international student body as well. And finally, very critically, don’t forget the power of networking. You need different people for different things in life, so you mustn’t be too narrow about how you build your networks up.