Eugene

Eugene Valassakis – BSc Physics 2014
High-Tech Software industry

Originally from Greece, I joined St. Andrews in September 2010. And I remember that back at the time I was terrified! Not only was my English not that great, but I had also taken a leap of faith when I decided not to join the majority of my high school friends at some University in London, and adventure myself in the great north! Four years later it turns out that this was one of the wisest decisions I ever made. No matter where I look, no place provides the amount of opportunities, guidance and support we received.

One such opportunity arose during my third year, where I was given the chance for an exchange year in the Silicon Valley. This became the second life changing experience during my studies as I realized that this is probably where I want to live my life.

Left: Berkeley Clock Tower

 

 

St. Andrews has shaped my personality during these four years, and not only taught me physics but also very important life lessons. I have learnt not to be afraid to travel, to get outside of my comfort zone and leave everything behind to try new experiences.

 


Left: Meeting Prof. Peter Higgs following both of us graduating at St Andrews

 

Just after my graduation in June 2014, I flew to Shanghai to work in a program that I discovered during a presentation in the Economics Society!

Nanjin, China

While I was working there a friend I made while in California recommended me to Apttus, my current company, which is a Silicon Valley Software Startup that provides "Quote to Cash" solutions to Businesses. Apttus’ products consist of Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ), Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Revenue Management modules built on the Salesforce 1 platform. These essentially allow businesses to streamline their quote, contract and revenue management processes in the Cloud. Each specific implementation of the products is quite involved and requires many steps from defining the customer’s business needs to configuring their Salesforce instance with Apttus’ products.

As an associate, my role consists in configuring the solutions for clients as well as supporting the Project Managers and Technical Architects in any possible way. The incredible diversity of the products is one of the factors making my position really challenging and exciting at the same time: There are a myriad ways to get to a certain solution and each client presents a different challenge!

Even though my position is not directly related to physics, all the skills I acquired during my years in Scotland are invaluable. The ability to internalize and iterate upon a lot of complex information, the determination and ability to work long hours as well as the technical way of thinking and problem solving skills are all competences that I have gained thanks to my studies.

This is not all however, as thanks to the diversity of the physics curriculum, which has allowed me to get a good amount of experience in several programing languages, I am now able to pick up a language called Apex in order to work in the development section of my current department.

St. Andrews has opened the doors for anything that I would like to do in my career. It also taught me golf and allowed me to make lifelong friendships. The emotional ties I created with Scotland and the University are for life, which is why I have now also applied to the Caledonian Club that celebrates Scotland in the heart of London!

I hope and am confident that St. Andrews will continue to perpetuate its incredible culture for the next generations of students as anyone who goes to University should be given the chance to have as much of an amazing experience that I had!

First published BDS 23.12.14