When judging their future career growth potential and all-round professional development opportunities, employees often consider a company’s prestige and recognition. But renowned international companies typically prefer candidates with work experience. What is the best way forward for recent graduates just starting their way in the labor market? How can they find valuable opportunities and catch the eye of a future employer?
For the past five years, the AsstrA international corporate group has been running its program for interns, who test their theoretical classroom knowledge while creating a practical foundation for future employment. Here we talk to the young trainees about the ins and outs of working in AsstrA’s specialized departments; the challenges they’ve faced and the experiences they’ve gained.
Tamara Rakhmatova, an Assistant Specialist in AsstrA’s Foreign Economic Activity Department, joined AsstrA in November 2018 after graduating from university with a degree in Customs Studies. After an internship of 2.5 months in the Service Center, Tamara stayed on as a secretary. In October 2019 there was a chance for this young talent to use the knowledge she gained at university and move into contract logistics in the Trade Department.
"During the internship I got to know the company, its corporate values, and its business philosophy. I devoted this time to studying the organizational structure, and in order to learn it more quickly, I got to know the people behind it, i.e. the employees in the various other departments," shares Tamara Rakhmatova. “When you are starting out as a trainee, it is important to have a personal mentor who will help you get used to the company, tell you about internal processes, and share professional advice. My advice for new AsstrA trainees is to stay curious, attentive, and open to lots of new information. Good luck!"
Oversize Freight Forwarder Angela Tsoi came to AsstrA after seeing an Office Manager job opening on social media. Although that position had already been filled when she applied for it, the company, which appreciates and encourages young candidates’ ambitions, suggested an alternative opportunity. And so Angela started her career first in the Service Center before moving on to start handling logistics in the Oversize Transport Department.
"During my time with AsstrA I have acquired fundamental knowledge that will come in handy throughout my life. I have learned how to quote rates promptly and formulate accurate commercial and price proposals. Moreover I learned how to work with clients and suppliers, close contracts, and handle shipping documents. After taking a two-week course I was able to become fully proficient with the Oracle Transportation Management system, and now I help newcomers learn the program", says Angela Tsoi. “For new joiners I think it is important to set up a process of continuous learning and self-improvement while you are settling in. Don't get discouraged if things don't work out right away. Watch your older colleagues closely, add to your experience, and practice your newfound tricks.”
Vladislav Martin, Head of Rail Freight for the EU and China, joined AsstrA by chance. At the time, he was pursuing a master's degree while working elsewhere. However, after AsstrA offered him an internship at the Service Centre as an interpreter, he decided to give it a try.
"I know foreign languages well, so I thought this offer had a good upside. I speak fluent English and Polish, intermediate Spanish, and conversational Italian, French, and German. Thanks to my experience in the transport industry I was offered a job in Operations during my first month. I can say with certainty that the company’s onboarding program is designed in such a way that you feel 'at home' here," said Martin. “While working here I learned how to cooperate with Chinese clients and partners. Getting this right takes some practice, both in communications and in negotiations. As a result of my career development at AsstrA in China, I have been able to ‘come into my own’ as a professional.
Ekaterina Kokhnovich, Secretary in the Service Center, joined the company as a second-year student of the Belarusian National Technical University. The young candidate immediately applied the knowledge she gained in transport logistics to her approach to work.
"When you get into the office rhythm, you understand how the company functions, how its departments are interconnected, and its development priorities. You also gain an understanding of where your role fits into the bigger picture – how it is necessary for overall success and the responsibility that it comes with," says Ekaterina Kokhnovich. “The onboarding process can be divided into three stages: gaining skills, improving quality, and maximizing speed. In addition, I also learned the three DON’Ts during my internship:: DON’T to be afraid to make mistakes, DON’T be afraid to ask questions, and DON’T be afraid to communicate. It is impossible to learn without making mistakes, so get on with it! Fortune favors the brave."