Meet Alexandra Labunova. She is a part of the Manufacturing and Transportation Center of Excellence and has been in the Ness family for over half a decade. Alexandra began as a Quality Analyst in Ness Kosice center and diligently climbed the corporate ladder to her current position of Product Owner. In this chat, Alexandra talks about her love for travel, why that first cup of coffee of the day is different, and what she thinks about her colleagues.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your role here at Ness. What do you do?
Here in the Manufacturing and Transportation Center of Excellence of Ness Digital Engineering, we solve our customers’ problems by bringing them new ideas and proposals. We focus on our industry’s trends and best practices to bring in new opportunities. So, when we are working on a new product, my role is not so much towards the technology side, but the business side of it, such as ‘What problem are we solving for our customer?’, ‘How does the solution fit with our customer’s challenge?’, ‘What value we are bringing?’, and so on.
Q: How did you get started in the industry?
Before I joined Ness, I worked in different roles across different industries, including working for a bank for a while. One of my previous jobs was as a QA engineer for a company, which led me to the role of a QA engineer with Ness in the Manufacturing and Transportation domain. That’s my journey so far.
Q: And is this within the scope of your academic qualification?
It is. I have a degree in electrical engineering, so I guess my work does fall under the same domain.
Q: Is there a piece of career advice that you’ve received from your mentor which has stayed with you throughout your career?
One of the most remarkable pieces of advice I’ve received so far is that when you are applying for a new job, you don’t have to fit the job description perfectly. We often don’t apply for a job because we are afraid that we don’t have one or two qualities of the ten listed in the job description. My mentor taught me that not having some of the required attributes or experiences should not deter you from applying for a job you really like because no one is perfect. You don’t have to possess all the skills; you can always learn them on the job.
Q: What have been your most significant accomplishments on our team?
(Laughs) I have been a part of many teams through my tenure with Ness, but I don’t think I’ve achieved my best yet. However, this particular project comes to mind when I think of what I have achieved here. This was when I had just joined the team and was a new product owner. It was already late in terms of launching the product. However, I remember taking over, making the MVP smaller and more focused. It allowed the customer to bring it to the market in a very short time. I was delighted to have helped resolve an initial hiccup and the team ended up making the customer happy.
Q: You sure enjoy working with Ness, don’t you? Tell us some of the things you really like about the Ness culture.
It’s a good place to work. The people I work with are both clever and capable, and it feels good to come to work every day. What I like about working with Ness is that it isn’t just work; we also get to know many people, be it through face-to-face conversations or virtual meets with colleagues across the globe.
Q: Speaking of face-to-face conversation, how does it feel to get back to the office? What can you tell us about a typical day in your life?
My day begins with a cup of coffee, no sugar, and lots of milk. It helps me wake up (laughs). Then I have my breakfast and leave for work. Once I am in the office, I get to meet my colleagues; we chit-chat over the coffee machine and talk mostly turns back to work. An exchange of ideas and teamwork always feels special, especially after the pandemic. I end up having a couple more cups of coffee in due course of my day, but the first one is the most important one.
Q: And did the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns put a dent in your travel plans?
It did. The first two years were very isolating. However, this year I managed to go to Vienna and Budapest. I love to visit cities and immerse myself in the culture of that city. So, I usually plan my vacations around long weekend breaks. I haven’t made any concrete plans for a long summer vacation; however, I am planning to go to Warsaw by the end of June for a few days.
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