An Interview with Raluca Mandroiu
Dive into the Assessment Journey of a Senior Business Analyst within EPAM Romania
Raluca Mandroiu graduated from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest as an Electrical Engineer. Since then, she has always enjoyed working in a place where she can interact with clients to discover their needs and help them achieve their goals. Raluca is an ambitious person and is committed to finding the most effective ways to address situations and solve problems. In this interview, Raluca speaks about her career path and the unique assessment system at EPAM. Read more to learn how Raluca made the switch from a Credit Analyst to a Senior Business Analyst with EPAM.
How did you start your career journey? Can you tell us what led you to the business analysis field?
I began my career within a bank where I worked for six years as a Credit Analyst and later as a Team Lead. During that time, I interacted with the Business Analysis department when working together to improve the banking applications in use. This collaboration made me realize that I wanted to pursue this profession. I began to research the role of a Business Analyst and the main skills I would need. I completed several business analysis, SQL and databases courses. Finally, when I felt I had enough knowledge to start working, I applied for a Business Analyst role and obtained it.
I now have over seven years of experience as a Business Analyst. During that time, I’ve worked on large and small projects as a Business Analyst, Proxy Product Owner, Product Owner, Automation Deployment Manager and in management roles such as an Automation Deployment Leader. I’ve had the chance to work for several big companies and now here I am working for another exciting company.
How did your career at EPAM begin? Walk us through your career path here.
My time at EPAM has been a little different from the rest of my experiences, as we are now living through a pandemic, so almost everything has taken place online, from onboarding to induction and working daily with colleagues and clients. A great advantage that EPAM offers is that we have well-structured and documented processes, which made my integration into the company much easier. Also, my colleagues in Romania are all focused on quality, and they are very attentive and helpful when I need something.
Recently, I've completed an assessment and received a promotion. EPAM has a unique assessment system for employee promotions. It is a well-defined process of evaluation against a Global Competency Framework using international committees of experts to recommend candidates for promotion to a particular job function and level. I was thrilled to get promoted!
How did you know the right time to get your assessment?
I was inspired by the people around me. Ever since I joined EPAM, I was impressed with the degree of professionalism that my business analysis colleagues had with their project work. It motivated me to push my limits and to reach a higher level. Once I realized I had succeeded, I decided to make it official as well.
How difficult is it to prepare for your assessment? What are the main steps to follow?
I wouldn’t say it was difficult, just a little time consuming. The steps I had to follow were very well documented, and that made the process easier. First, I had to check the requirements for my target position and confirm my participation in the Assessment process with my manager.
Then, I had to prepare a self-presentation where I was required to demonstrate my achievements and explain why I thought I was ready for that specific job function and level. My manager worked with me on preparing a list of objectives I had already reached during my employment in EPAM to support my readiness for promotion. It was very important to request feedback, which can be from your Unit Manager, project stakeholders (Team Lead, Stream Lead, Project Coordinator, Delivery Manager, Account Manager, etc.), your clients (EPAM customers or business stakeholders in EPAM) and anyone else whose input might be valuable to support your promotion. I had around five recommendations.
Once everything was ready, my manager submitted the request to the Assessment Committee and it was assigned for verification. I received feedback within two days. A big thank you to the Committee members!
What can we do to make this assessment process as smooth as possible? What did EPAM do to help you in the process?
I received a lot of support, especially from my manager and the team I am working with. They helped me figure out everything since it was the first time this process had taken place within EPAM Romania. I would keep this standardized process because it helps you eliminate any doubts related to any promotion, which is something that I really like within EPAM. In some cases (for a certain position or a certain degree), I would make the process similar to how the Technical Interviewer Certification is conducted, where everything takes place online. For this process, you would receive some practical tasks and a mentor is assigned right away to check them.
Can you tell me how life at EPAM is from a learning experience perspective?
You learn from both your colleagues and the rich library of training available on our ‘Learn’ platform. The Learn platform provides EPAMers with access to 15,000+ educational resources and courses. I use it frequently and it is impossible not to learn something every time!
Are there some tips you would like to share on how to maintain a work-life-balance while working from home?
Learn how to organize your work, take breaks, finish your workday on time and don’t forget to socialize in your free time. I have been working with this kind of balance for a while and I think I found an effective way to maintain it. I’ve created a morning routine that helps me increase my energy level. First, I go to the gym before I start my work. Once it is time to start working, I try to thoroughly plan out my tasks for the day and set my priorities. I think having a strict remote schedule with a start and end time is crucial.
For me, working from home is better for several reasons. I can listen to whatever music I want to while I work, set whatever temperature I want without disturbing other colleagues and I don’t have to spend my time traveling to the office and back home. Of course, this comes with the downside of missing social interaction, but I counterbalance this with some online coffee breaks with colleagues where we discuss interesting and funny things that are not work-related. The ideal option for me in the future would be to reserve a workspace occasionally when I want to meet with colleagues.
What advice would you give someone interested in advancing his or her career with EPAM?
Analyse your performance objectively and go for it! Even if you fail, it only means that you have received another opportunity to become better.
If you are interested in reaching your fullest potential like Raluca, visit our Careers Page to explore opportunities at EPAM today!