We recently sat down with Maja Marszalek, Head of European Sales and Senior Director of Client Development at ACA Group, to discuss the company, her successes to date and how she found the role using Referment.
Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your role at ACA Compliance?
I’m Maja Marszalek and I'm the Head of European Sales and Senior Director of Client Development here at ACA Group in London. I manage our European sales division, selling regulatory and compliance services to Financial Services firms across EMEA.
And what does ACA Compliance do?
ACA is the leading governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) advisor in financial services, working with over 900 clients across 30 different countries in Europe. Globally, we support over 3,600 clients.
Our client base ranges from start-up asset managers such as hedge funds and private equity firms, to established alternative investment asset managers and global investment banks with AUMs of more than $2T. We pride ourselves on our ability to work with such a wide range of clients across the Financial Services sector.
What were you doing before joining ACA Compliance?
I studied at Aberystwyth University with a year abroad in Sweden and Finland as part of the Erasmus program. I went to China after graduating to assist European firms get into the Chinese market.
After 6 months I came back to London and joined a firm called Marcus Evans. This was an old school sales job, the kind where there wasn’t even a computer, just a phone and a list of contacts that I’d researched the night before. It was a steep learning curve, but the best training that I could have asked for in how to sell.
After leaving Marcus Evans, I joined a large consultancy firm that worked in digital transformation supporting highly regulated industries such as finance and tobacco. I’d been there for a few years before I decided to move directly into Financial Services and did so by joining a company called Duff and Phelps, a large valuation house and global consultancy. I worked with their clients to help them navigate their regulatory compliance needs.
I was close to finishing my Executive MBA in 2019 and wanted to put what I’ve learnt into practice so ended up joining a FinTech firm called AI XPRT here in London, who offer AI-based solutions to compliance and audit firms.
How did you find the role at ACA Group?
Alex actually reached out to ask me for a referral!. After speaking with him on the phone I thought this was a great opportunity so requested to be put forward myself. He was very candid and honest about the role and company which was very refreshing
Can you describe the interview process?
The interview process involved three states. The first-round interview was with the current incumbent, exploring their experiences to date. The second was with two Partners at the firm, and the third and final interview was in person at the London office. This was right at the beginning of the pandemic so the first two stages were done virtually, with the third interview done face-to-face just before the first lockdown.
It was an interesting process! The first two interviews were more informal chats about the role and products and the final was scheduled to be around an hour in the London office but we ended up talking for over two hours, all about the roadmap and how I could help the firm grow.
And what made you accept the offer to join ACA?
What really sold me on ACA was the approach. What I liked is that they treat “sales” as a profession, it's a vertical of the firm that is seen as fundamental to the growth and development of the firm. I've spoken to a number of other consultancies and law firms, and many treat sales and business development like one of those ‘’afterthought’ or ‘bad’ things, with everything sorted and done by the partners at the firm based on years of relationships.
ACA offers flexibility and freedom when it comes to ideas which is great, I truly feel like my voice is heard and respected when it comes to the products and solutions, which is a lot different to most sales roles. Such an approach to sales, as a profession, was very refreshing.
The other thing that led to me accepting the offer was the existing team. The chemistry during the interview process was really good and ACA’s reputation as a GRC leader was a huge plus.
And finally, what are you excited to achieve with ACA in 2021?
We’re really focusing on the new and upcoming regulations, from Prudential to Brexit to ESG and supporting our clients through necessary transitions. We launched a new ESG business unit and have been putting lots of development into that. We’re also practicing what we preach with the internal focus on diversity and inclusion, which is exciting to see.
I’m excited to see the team grow and succeed and hopefully we can come out of Covid in a strong position in terms of growth and client success stories.
We're currently hiring for multiple sales positions with our clients across Financial Services. Click on the roles below to find out more and to earn up to £500 when you refer someone you know and they complete a first-round interview.
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