Spotlight on a career path: Alina UK Deal Management Team
By Adriana Noailles on Aug 20, 2013
Where to begin? Since September 2012, I am the manager of the UK Deal Management team in the the Bucharest Shared Service Centre. I have a team of 13 members, amazing people with whom I work daily and spend more time than I spend with my family. Like we all do at work. At least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
2. Please describe the Oracle organisation you are part of.
My team and I work with three main countries: UK, Ireland and Israel. We are part of a wider region that is made up of all the southern countries such as Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. In the end we are all part of the EMEA Deal Management team (Europe, Middle East and Africa).
What we do is work together with our internal customers (the Oracle Sales Representatives) and other colleagues in different departments on different transactions for program licenses, hardware products and/or first year of technical support.
3. How was your start at Oracle?
I started at an entry level in the Contracts team for the Nordic countries in 2009. Back then I was working as part of the Office Administration team in a Romanian Real Estate company. My best friend was working for Oracle as part of the Contracts team for the Nordic countries for about one year and she was still very excited about the job. When a position opened she called and I applied. When I got their confirmation that I was selected, I left my permanent job at the Real Estate Company and came to work for Oracle for a 20 days temp job during one of the busiest periods of the Fiscal Year: May. After around one month another position opened, this time for the UK team, and they called me for another interview. If I proved I was good there was a chance I could stay in the team. I got the job this time as well and it was up to me to keep it.
There was a lot for me to learn when I first started, but I had my team to help me go through it. I was encouraged to ask questions, which I did, everyday.
4. Tell us more about your career path.
Although I did know some things about contracts as part of my studies, Oracle was like a new world. Working with so many other departments and trying to get the big picture for every deal when no contract is like the other was not easy. The sheer volume of what I needed to familiarise myself with and the fact that it changed constantly were some of the major challenges at the beginning.
About 4-5 months after a year or so in Oracle, from being ‘Rookie of the Year’ I became the senior member in my team. I worked hard with my Manager to train people and give them what they needed so they would gain their independence as fast as possible. In about 2 more years I was promoted to a more senior role, Team Leader and then I started to develop towards people management. My responsibilities changed and my focus was split between the team development and drafting contracts. I started working on different reporting tasks for the team and trained in soft skills more than transactional ones. As a team leader I balanced drafting contracts, most of them complex because I had the experience, with being a team leader and helping my team grow.
My focus has changed now again. I work on my team’s development, on team cohesion and dynamics. I am the one hiring new members now and it’s not as easy as one would think. The decisions I make have a greater impact and the responsibility has increased exponentially.
5. What are your future plans?
The future can come anytime, I am ready for it. For now I want to grow as a manager and as a leader. I believe with this I am sure to have my hands full for some time.
6. What would you recommend to students and graduates that are planning to start their career within an international company?
Well, first of all choose wisely when you apply for a job. Make sure you understand what is requested from you and ask as many questions as you can during your interview so as to fully understand what the position implies. Remember that not only the employer needs to like you but you also need to like the job. Otherwise it won’t be a success story.
Be honest and don’t be nervous. The purpose of an interview is to know you and see if you are fit for the job and compatible with the existing team. Think of it this way: we have two parties in this whole process: on one hand you, and you know who you are and what you like, and on the other hand the people who interview you, who know the job and what it implies. All you need to do is meet half way.
Be eager to learn everything and to grow, always be ready to learn. Remember you are doing this for yourself. An international company gives you a good structure and some resources but it doesn’t build the house for you. Never say ‘I don’t care, it’s just a job’, that only proves you are wasting your time as well as the time of the people around you. You spend more than half of your life at your job; do you really want half of your life to mean nothing?