Who am I
My name is Asia Volkova, I am a 3rd-year International Business student from Karelia University of Applied Sciences. Practical training, aka internship period, is a compulsory part of our studies. Being originally from Russia but studying in Finland and absolutely falling in love with the country, I have decided for myself that I want to start building my career nowhere else, but in here.
How did I get here
Earlier this year I have stumbled upon the internship offer from Solenovo Ltd. After making some basic research, I have got some idea about what kind of company it is and how it operates. The general impression I got was solid, especially that the content of the company's internship offer was presented in a relaxed and catchy, yet professional manner. The position was announced to be an “International Sales trainee”. Knowing bare minimum about sales from university courses but being generally excited about the field and everything under “international”, I have not hesitated a second before sending the application.
Shortly after that, I have received a call from the company's Solution Sales Manager - Olli Kämäräinen - who was supposed to become the internship supervisor for that one lucky candidate. It is well-known that salespeople must be confident and open by their nature, so during the phone call I have tried my best “wannabe-one”. It was rather hard to understand how it went, but the positive side was that I was offered to meet in person to have a further discussion.
Fun fact: later on, when I have already started working, I was informed that it was pretty clear from the very first call that I seemed fitting for the position. Not to mention, hearing that makes you feel omnipotent.
Being lucky enough and going through several interview rounds with Olli, I have reached the final boss: coming to Solenovo`s office and meeting the COO & HR-manager - Ari Korpelainen. All of my hesitation evaporated as soon as we got to talk: almost 1 hour flew past by as we were having a nice comforting chat. After that, I just had to wait patiently until the final decision was done, hoping to get lucky just one more time. In a couple of days, I have got a call from Olli announcing his congratulations and welcoming me to the team.
So there I was: stepping in the office on my first working day, feeling incredibly small, but burning out of the excitement on the inside. However, meeting my colleagues for the first time has exceeded all of my expectations: everyone was so hospitable and open that I have immediately lost all of my worries.
What I am doing here
So, what does it take to be an International Sales trainee?
I was warned already beforehand that learning was going to the biggest part of this experience, especially because these days IT-industry develops by leaps and bounds. Nevertheless, learning-by-doing feels powerful when given such guidance as I am receiving here. Everyone, no matter if being a salesperson or an engineer, is willing to share their knowledge and skills by my smallest request.
Short remark: currently I am the only person in the office who does not speak Finnish, but it has never been a problem for my colleagues to communicate in English with me.
Even though it has been a bit over a month since I have started my duties, I have been given a great deal of responsibility and a bunch of various tasks, which support my learning and socializing here. Searching and creating a customer database, making contacts, coordinating events - those are just one part of all of the things I am involved in here. Most of all, I am involved with working with a system called SoleMOVE - comprehensive international mobility software system. It feels great to work with a product, which value you actually see and understand. Internalization is an important and a big step for companies, and I am more than happy to be a part of it.
General things to mention which I appreciate / happy about / thankful for
People care! About your well-being, motivation, general satisfaction with the working place… It is basically impossible to feel uncomfortable here as people arrange the best possible working conditions. So you willingly share every thought you have because it is taken into account.
Learning, instructing & supervising
As a student, I am in need of pretty precise guidance on the objectives and ways of doing my work. Here I could not hope for more of training and guiding I am receiving. The material I have to learn is given in a very understandable and simple, yet professional manner. I know that I can ask 1000 questions about anything - and I still will get the answer every time.
Even though I am still learning how to do my work, there is some space for creativity as well: my suggestions are welcomed and remembered.
Openness & giving feedback
People are straightforward with their requirements and needs. There are no hesitations in communication between me and my supervisors in how they want me to do the assigned tasks. Feedback is one of the most significant parts of my current learning process. As aforementioned, I do need guidance and advice in everyday working process. And let me tell you, that people here really do know that. Never have I ever heard so many encouraging and motivating words towards myself and the work I do.
Working collective, communication, engagement & integration
Solenovo`s working collective is pretty motley: workers are of different ages, backgrounds and outlooks. Nevertheless, combined altogether, people appear as a lively, energetic and effective team. I do enjoy working with people here: one moment it can be in a form of a very concentrated intense brainstorming, and in a second it is followed by loud laughing.
As mentioned above, my Finnish skills leave a lot to be desired for. Despite that, I have never had any communication problems as everyone is absolutely capable of speaking English, even though it is common to hear humble “I do not speak very well...”. Totally not true!
Moreover, company works on engaging people in some common activities such as movie- and game-nights, sport-related activities and other ways to get to know each other better.
Expectations and outcomes
Before starting, I could not imagine what to expect from this working experience. One thing I was sure about is that I am going to learn much more than I was able to receive just from lessons at the university.
Something I did not expect was that all of the sudden I will find myself busy with the things I actually enjoy doing. There is certainly still a long road towards studying to become a proper worker, but I know for sure that even if this way will be challenging, I am fully supported and encouraged.
Intern, International Sales
+358 40 772 4979