Top 5 Takeaways With Rania Succar

April 16, 2024
1 min read

We hosted Rania Succar for a fireside chat at Applied Intuition’s Mountain View HQ. Rania Succar is the CEO of Intuit Mailchimp. She previously worked at McKinsey, Google, and Merrill Lynch. Rania shared her experience and advice around career development with the Applied Intuition team, focusing on general management, work culture, and generative AI developments.

Here are five takeaways from the discussion.

1. Focus on building your resume and exploring your interests.

“Right out of college, you’re trying to achieve two things. One is establishing a very impressive resume that people will look at and say: ‘This person is legitimate, and I want them on my team.’ The second thing is exploring what you’re passionate about. If you’re going to spend a lot of time at work, your job has to align with your values and with the things you care about.

It’s important throughout your career to pause and check in with yourself to assess whether you are getting tremendous energy from your work; and if you are not, to identify why not and make changes. Sometimes these changes can be experiments around how you spend your time, and sometimes it might mean it’s time for a role change.”

2. Taking risks can accelerate your career.

“Of course, you don’t want to jump into a role that you can’t be successful in; you have to assess it and be confident that it has potential. But once you are confident in the potential, you want to make a bet on yourself that you can drive extraordinary outcomes. 

I did that with QuickBooks Capital, and it was probably the hardest role I ever held. It was a very small business when I started, and we’ve now lent several billion dollars to small business owners. And we deliver tremendous customer benefit—the majority of businesses who get a loan from QuickBooks would otherwise not qualify for a loan from a traditional bank or would be subject to much higher rates from an alternative lender. It took tremendous ingenuity and determination to deliver these outcomes because in many cases, QuickBooks data was user-entered, and that presented several challenges. We proved some really hard things. This was one of Intuit’s first applications seven years ago to use advanced data and AI.”

3. Changing jobs too frequently and burning bridges can limit your career.

“I look at resumes all the time that I immediately dismiss. One kind is people who’ve jumped around a ton. I want to see people who don’t have just two-year stints but five-, six-, and seven-year stints. Right now, I’m in my second year at Mailchimp. I’ll probably need another year or more to get the full degree of learning here. I’ve been at Intuit for eight years, which has allowed me to grow every single year as a leader. I can grow in my depth of understanding of the company, how to operate, and how to make my next strategic move on top of what I’ve done historically. 

Another career-limiting move is alienating people who’ve been your supporters for many years. Rather than going to your manager and letting them know you have accepted a new position, a much better approach is to have a conversation even before you start looking that you are ready for your next role. It creates an opportunity for your manager to be a thought partner to you and even work with you to find the next big opportunity within your current company. That’s a great approach for building strong supporters throughout your career even while you move on to future roles.”

4. Find motivation in the impact of your work.

“At Intuit, we work in the small business space. We’re working to increase the success rate of small businesses across everything we’re doing, whether it’s QuickBooks or Mailchimp. The biggest challenge small businesses face is growth. With generative AI and AI tooling, we have the opportunity to transform this challenge, giving small businesses a path to unprecedented growth, and, as a result, increasing their success rate. I’m constantly focused on why our work is going to be extraordinary. That really motivates me, and hopefully, it motivates our team as well.”

5. It takes a lot of experimentation and talent across an organization to adapt to new technologies like generative AI.

“Obviously, everyone’s in the AI space. So, how do you think about your company’s potential advantage and work towards it? At Intuit, we have a very large customer base, which allows us to experiment faster than anyone—and experimentation is the name of the game in AI. The faster you can learn with the more data, the more you can figure out what works. 

When we started implementing generative AI in our products, it seemed obvious and simple what to do, but there’s a lot of nuance in getting it right. Our speed of experimentation is crucial. Creative thinking also plays a big role. I’ve pulled in people from across Intuit and every discipline to lean into the world of AI. Each person is bringing in very different approaches to solving the customer problem with the new possibilities created by AI.”