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The First 90 Days

Posted by Guillaume on 19 October 2006

Well that’s it. I have reached the “first 90 days” milestone in my marketing manager role at American Express Europe. Executive-targeted books tell you that it’s the critical period to have an impact. It sure is true at the “C” level (CEO, CFO…) but less so at my level, especially because, as a credit card marketing newbie, it feels like you need 2 years to know what you’re doing.

Having said that, the first months are still crucial to make a good initial impression, discover the company, blend in, and show your potential. Especially in a rotation program like the one I’m enrolled in, with just six months to “prove myself”.

So what have these 3 months been like? I worked mostly on defining the strategy for SBS in Europe in 2007 that has now been agreed by regional and international leadership – this has also earned me a warm thank you note from the VPs involved, which is always nice. In general, I like Amex, working with bright people and having the opportunity to challenge the status quo as well as being challenged.

Wait a minute!... He has been brain-washed, hasn’t he?

Well, you can think so as I’m actually back from a week of orientation sessions for the MBA campus recruit intake of this year held at HQ in New York (sort of the MBA orientation in less crazy). While this was not enough to “brain-format” a critical European (French?) mind, this surely was a great way to learn more about the company (esp. the US business which I had not been exposed to), meet the great people who’ve been hired this year (90 or so) and reflect on the differences between US and International divisions.

Back to the first 90 days thing, I also realized that I’m now on for the last 90 days! Of my rotation in London that is. These 3 months are going to contrast with the first part as I am now focusing on the management and implementation of a project (related to above strategic work).

I’m sorry if this sounds quite a vague job description, I'm sure readers of this blog would appreciate to know more about the kind of jobs and responsibilities you get after 2 years at London Business School. Unfortunately, I cannot give more details and this post is already flirting with misconduct according to company guidelines. By the way, “blogging while employed” could be an interesting topic for the Ethics class which opens the London MBA program – certainly a topic more relevant to “junior” hires than Enron-like white-collar crime. Just look at how many students are posting content here or on their own blog.


Let me now finish this post on a more cheerful and personal note: my wife and I have had a blast in NYC and we are looking forward to living there next year! I can’t believe it’s been 3 months already and that we’ll be moving to Sydney in 3 months. And! We’ve finally “flown” the London Eye last month! I highly recommend it – so much for the brain washing.


Hello Guillaume,

Thank you for sharing this feedback with us!
Regarding the ethics of blogging that you've mentioned at the end of your article i've found a great website with smart guidelines.

Best regards and good luck !


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