|Economics and Related Studies|
|Development Economics and Emerging Markets|
|Regional Performance Controller|
|Engineering and manufacturing|
|Large business (250+ employees)|
More about Andreea
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A day in the life of a Regional Performance Controller in the United Kingdom
Job rejections sometimes means that the role is not for you, not that you are not good enough for the job - recruiters know the role and the job environment and they also know the exact person that they are looking for - your role will still be waiting!
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
After graduating from the University of York, I worked for two multinational companies in data analytics and management. I currently work for Hilti GB, a multinational company, whose operations are in the construction industry. You would know Hilti by their high quality power tools, drills and hundreds of other construction equipment!
Although it is a large organisation, Hilti is a family business and all colleagues feel like family. Since recently joining, in March 2020 I have had the opportunity to not only learn and develop new skills, but support my department with the skills I have previously developed, such as Agile working and projects, training colleagues on using different MS Office packs in Excel and Access.
What do you do?
I am a Regional Performance Controller, responsible for the Northern European region. I am responsible for the reporting needs of the business, as well as project work, working together with my colleagues in Manchester and abroad.
In my current role myself and my colleagues are pursuing developing new reporting methods that are future proof, easy to visualize, access and understand for the report customer and whomever looks at the data.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
I have always been detail orientated and liked to work with numbers, hence my choice of masters program. I wanted to choose a career which helped me develop my skills and strengths, that would be of value not only now, but in the future.
I believe that robotization and automation of data is a matter of time, and I wanted to be at the fore-front of it. There is much more than numbers that go into a workday though. There is a lot of collaborating with colleagues in the office, working from home and across borders, and the soft skills are just as enhanced as the technical ones.
As my graduation approached, I applied to a lot of different roles, and whilst doing my research I prioritized what I knew for sure I would see myself doing in the future, over the roles I applied to as a 'security' to have a job after graduation.
As a EU citizen I did not need any further documentation besides my National Insurance number. I had gained this earlier when I took a year out from my undergraduate degree to work for Shell UK.
I applied to approximately 98 jobs and graduate roles by the time I started getting job offers, and a lot of my friends either were offered a graduate role almost instantly, another big group shared my experience of applying to roles to get a lot of rejections.
I looked on jobs on any graduate website like BrightNetwork, Milkround, etc., but I personally liked the LinkedIn job section the most. That is how I obtained my first role after university working as a Master Data Associate, and how I found my current role. What I found important is to look for jobs on any platform: apps, websites, job searching engines. But what I found more important is to know your worth and not accept any role without doing all the proper research, asking questions to the employer, recruiters and people already working for the organisations through LinkedIn or any other platform.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
In my career (which is still young) I worked in the oil, tobacco and now construction industry. I always thought the role is more important now than the industry, as there is a lot of competition in the UK for these fantastic roles - any job where I can feel psychologically safe to grow, learn, and develop current skills, whilst contributing eagerly, was going to be a good job.
Being very passionate about automation, lean and agile methodologies, number based roles and working with an international team, the industry was less important as most companies have elements of this.
Now with the corona-virus pandemic, we get to see what industries are more future proof, but I feel immensely fortunate to be in the construction industry, which is not as affected as others are, such as the oil industry. It is also a very interesting industry, much larger than I imagined and ever growing. Working in Manchester, which is a development hub where you see rising buildings everywhere, it feels like I play a role in the development of the North of England.
Describe your most memorable day at work
Within a month of joining the company, and still being trained by my team, another team in the finance department contacted my team for a training on BOA queries in Excel. My team lead suggested I should take it on, and I said yes immediately, although I just learnt how to use these queries and additional Excel program.
I prepared before the training session, which was done remotely whilst working from home. I prepared a high-level presentation and then I got stuck in showing an example myself. The colleagues from the other team were very engaged and asked a lot of questions. I was petrified that the question part of the training will be the most difficult - I knew how to use BOA at a basic level but I have not had an in-depth experience with it.
Nonetheless, even if I recently joined the company, I had gathered so much knowledge I was surprised myself that I was confident to answer most of the questions, but also confidently say when I did not know and offered to come back with more information.
The team really enjoyed the training course and thanked me, I followed up with an information pack via email - including the presentation, answers and clarifications and links to websites that would enable them to get going right away. This training was so successful it was praised in the department and other teams started reaching out to myself and the team for more support and for different topics.
It was a great day because although I thought I am novice, I knew more than I thought, and the teaching/training skill was developed before, and I could contribute from the start to the success of the team and department.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
Every role will come with its challenges. As with university tasks, prioritizing is absolutely quintessential - there are so many hours in the day and you have to be able to focus on the tasks you want to get done in one day, and not take on more than you know you can deliver.
Also one of my favorite part of all my roles was working alongside colleagues internationally. However the challenge of understanding the demands and challenges of your colleague across borders, as well as cultural differences, could be challenging. What I found works best is call your colleagues, introduce yourself and establish rapport instead of messaging or emailing them only. It really makes a difference and for me, it became my favorite and most rewarding part of the role.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
The culture at Hilti is a cross between a family and entrepreneurial culture. Your colleagues and the company will support you to grow, but you are empowered to operate like an entrepreneur and care about your work and the company as if it was your own.
The work is office based, but working from home when needed is quite common. The dress code is business casual, and colleagues often wear the Hilti red t-shirts.
Teams are very friendly and close-knit not only as groups but with the other team members as well. Most work is done at the office but my role sometimes requires travel (up to twice a year).
The work life balance is great - sometimes there will be longer or shorter days, depending on volumes, but there is no pressure to do so. As everyone takes the entrepreneur approach, I feel empowered to decide myself if I need to put a few more hours in, or when I am in need for a bit of rest and shut-eye.
The company also encourages having a balance life, with a strong emphasis on health and fitness, as well as mental health: you can go for a walk at lunch, salad bar and fruit are provided and there is access to applications that help with meditation.
In a nutshell, if you are prepared to bring your best and put the best foot forward, you will be rewarded by an incredibly supportive community and organisation.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
At the University of York I was a Project Manager for the York Community Consulting, working in partnership with the York Museums Trust to revamp their membership card, review the offering, pricing and marketing strategies.
I worked alongside 5 amazing consultants, also University of York students, and it was my favorite part of being at York. There I realized I am very passionate about supporting the professional growth of others, planning and organizing projects, and creating learning opportunities for myself and others.
Prior to my master, I did my undergraduate degree at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. There I was part of the Raise and Give group, the Erasmus Student Network and I worked as a freelance dance instructor. Additionally, I took a year out from my undergraduate degree to work as a Cost and Planning Assistant for the Projects department at Shell UK.
All these experiences allowed me to know myself better, what I like, what I want to pursue in the future, and of course helped me in my job hunt!
What would you like to do next with your career?
In the future I would like to take on my projects and manage them as well as others. I am passionate about working with ambitious and creative colleagues, from whom I can learn from. My strengths strongly lie in organisation and administration, and I would enjoy to see projects start to finish, whilst ensuring myself and the team assigned grow as the project is being completed.
I am open to a change in location, as I lived in a few countries already, but this may also depend on my personal commitments.
In terms of role opportunities, I am and always was open to learning different roles, whether it would be a shift in marketing, product development or accounting. I strongly believe in today's job market you need to weave yourself a career lattice to ensure you place yourself in front of the best opportunities.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
1. Job experience will not translate to having an easier time finding a job after graduation.
2. Job rejections sometimes means that the role is not for you, not that you are not good enough for the job - recruiters know the role and the job environment and they also know the exact person that they are looking for - your role will still be waiting!
3. Apply to everything and do not rely on the idea that a job is made for you - it is better to have jobs to choose from rather than no job.
4. Be patient and kind to yourself - it is very difficult to get a job in the best of circumstances, but even harder right out of university - you really are in a difficult situation, but you will get that great role, just stick with it!
5. 'It's easier to get a job when you have a job' is not necessarily true - the great roles you really want will still require you to do a great cover letter, a fantastic interview and great impression - nothing worth doing is easy!
6. Speak to friends/mentors/teachers and don't shy away from letting your job hunt fears out, as sometimes speaking out loud will help you realize what you want to do/focus on.
7. Contact people on LinkedIn if you are interesting in their role/working for their company. Most people are more than happy to help, all you need to do is ask.
8. Have anyone who is willing review your CV, cover letter, application and ask for constructive feedback. But also ensure you take the advice as advice, not as a direction.
9. Use Glassdoor to a. look at potential interview question and b. see what the current employees are saying. You do need to take it with a pinch of salt, as with any review website, it is more likely to see the disgruntled than the happy people, but sometimes it will help you assess if it is the role or place for you once at the interview/offer stage.
10. Do not underestimate how much you know and can do. Even with no work experience, the university degree has taught you lots of soft skills, people skills, focusing, staying on task, doing research, thinking critically - all these skills are still very much needed when walking into an office.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Career opportunities and planning
Industry trends (related to data analytics/reporting/data handling and management)
Working in multinational companies
Training and training courses
Skills required in the job market
Job applications/interview preparation/CV review
Lean and Agile methodologies
If you like the look of Andreea’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Andreea a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Andreea to be your mentor.