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EU Alumnus, Alexander Valkovskiy, on Working at HP

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Originally from Omsk in Russia, Alexander has spent more than a decade living and working in Barcelona. For the last nine years, Alexander has been working at HP where he has enjoyed having the opportunity to work in different areas of business until discovering a new interest in data analytics

We recently had the pleasure of welcoming Alexander back on campus to speak to our students during Business Immersion Week. He gave students an insight into his career, while highlighting emerging skills and technologies in which companies are investing. This was a great opportunity to catch up with Alexander and see what he has been up to since featuring in our EU Alumni Stories vol. II. 

Why did you decide to study at EU? 

The program was flexible and short, meaning that I was able to finish my bachelor’s in three years. Also, the international environment stood out and has stuck with me even after my studies. The culture and mindset of EU correlated perfectly with the environment that I wanted to work in.  

What have you been up to since we last spoke? 

I’m still working for HP, but I’ve taken on different roles within the company. I was the cost lead for Africa, the Middle East, and eastern and central Europe for a couple of years. That role involved owning the budget, managing costs and defining price strategy with the suppliers. So, I was making sure we were meeting the budget and cost-savings targets.  

Recently, I started a new role as project manager for data and business intelligence-related projects. I’ve been managing some of the innovation projects in the area of data analytics, data engineering and architecture. This is also the area in which I would like to remain in the future. 

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What started your interest in business analytics? 

Being the cost lead, I was always involved in data analysis and building the cost and profit loss models for our organization. Part of our corporate strategy is to invest in skills of the future. We define the core competencies that our employees need to be competitive in the future. Data literacy was part of them so, I was involved in training related to big data and analytics. I enjoyed it and afterward, decided to go deeper into this area. I started looking for opportunities within the company, which helped me grow and develop myself in this role. Since then, I’ve been investing more time in learning, which is supported by HP, and I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to grow in this area with the company. 

How did the pandemic have an effect on HP? 

As businesses had to start working remotely, the pandemic opened up a lot of opportunities for companies like HP whose products and additional services help you set up a home office. We were already moving in the remote direction, so we just had to really accelerate this transition

What are the pros and cons of working with remote teams and clients? 

Everyone is quite autonomous and has a different mindset. As you are not in the office and your manager is not around, you really have to be a self-starter. You have to be more organized, disciplined and flexible with your work and how you plan your day

A disadvantage would be that, in the office, it is much easier and faster to collaborate, solve problems and exchange ideas, especially when you are developing a product. 

You have been working at HP for nine years, what has kept you at the company? 

HP is constantly changing; everything is always moving and being reorganized. Our competition is strong so we have to keep adapting to new markets. The global issues that are happening really impact the organization so it’s a forever changing environment. So, if you want to try a new position in the company, you can, and the company will support you. This is what has kept me here, I was able to move from services to finance, then finance to data engineering and I know that in the future, I can change again. It provides employees with lots of opportunities. 

Do you have advice for current EU students who would like to work for big tech companies like HP? 

First, follow the companies you are interested in and find out what they are looking for. Scout out people who work there that can give you advice for the interview process. Gain an understanding of what they want and how they search for and recruit new employees so you can match it. 

When you are interviewed, do not undervalue yourself. In many cases, people think they don’t have the experience or skills that are in the job description and really underestimate themselves. Usually, it is more a case that you don’t know how to present yourself. So, you need to work on this and understand your value.  

Even if you do not have skills from work experience, you can still build a good resume. Nowadays, there are a lot of open-source, free resources available with which you can learn to build a portfolio of projects that you can share with a potential employer. Take advantage of that knowledge and material to get noticed and then position and present yourself in the right way. 

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