Meet Isabel, Mai and Sai

Isabel, Mai and Sai are three young employees hired at the beginning of the pandemic. We asked them to tell a little about their story and what kind of experience they could share about these unusual and extraordinary circumstances.

Tempo stimato di lettura: 10 minuti

Isabel Guerra Rengifo is 23 year old and was born in Madrid, Spain. She attended the Bernadette High School in Madrid, except for her junior year, which she spent at Birdville High School near Dallas, Texas. A year full of experiences and challenges that taught her to appreciate American culture and make lifelong friendships. Once back she studied Business Administration at the University of Carlos III, a highly regarded university in Madrid with rigorous entry requirements, followed by six months abroad at the University of Berner Fachhochschule BFH, Wirtschaft, in Bern, Switzerland.

With such an educational background and two parents who have always encouraged their children to experience life abroad (Isabel has a twin brother and a sister), it is unsurprising that Isabel finds herself in Italy for a foreign professional challenge. <When a family friend, partner of the Spanish consulting firm Development Systems, offered me a contact for an interview with PRAXI in Turin, I didn’t think twice>, Isabel says.

The interview went well and now Isabel is on the Training and Development team in PRAXI Turin.  <I collaborate on several development projects: from company analysis, like Social Network Analysis, or a salary analysis reports using sophisticated tools, to gathering information on trends or topics like HHRR, digitalization, innovation, and marketing. I am also learning a lot about the automotive industry.  Lastly, at PRAXI we are currently preparing an international team to take a step forward in the company with international projects to achieve one of our goals>.

Mai Hashad is Egyptian, 27 year old, with a degree in Engineering (Architectural and building Engineering Systems). Since 2016 she lives in Milan, where she arrived to obain a Master’s at Politecnico, which is one of the top engineering universities in the world offering scholarships. In Milan Mai had friends who helped her settle in and understand the scholarship application process. <Italy is beautiful, and the food is great, so it was an easy choice>, Mai confess.

The connection with PRAXI was through LinkedIn, where she works as a Junior Real Estate Consultant in PRAXI’s Valuations and Advisory Division. Mai is also involved in operations for the PRAXI Valuations network.

Sai Subramanian is a 25 year old Indian, born and raised in the city of Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu. She has an older sister (currently 27) and one highly talented younger brother (currently 20): two very different personalities through whom she constantly recollects and defines her childhood. <My family> Sai says <has been very supportive of my decisions and endeavors to chase new experiences. I recall serious talks about how I envisioned myself professionally in the years to come – these moments later translated into a strong aspiration to explore a Master’s program in Milan>. After gaining a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance and Accountancy) from Christ University in Bangalore, Sai moved to Milan and earned a Master of Fashion and Luxury Brand Management from Istituto Marangoni in Milan.

<During my first three years in Milan I tested my marketing capabilities in different sectors and small businesses, but in 2020 I decided to find a new opportunity that interlinked my business and marketing backgrounds. The decision came on strong; it was either go big or go home – literally back to India in my case – when I tumbled across the job posting on the internet from PRAXI Alliance. My eyes fell upon two things – international and English – two of which were key to any big move I was planning to make professionally in Italy. I immediately registered on the job portal and even before I could process this newfound interest, I had finished a couple of interviews and had already set foot at PRAXI>.

Today Sai works as an International Operations Specialist for the international networks within PRAXI Group: PRAXI Alliance and PRAXI Valuations. <As part of the international team, I facilitate the smooth functioning of the networks with a focus on marketing and communication activities>.

Isabel, Mai and Sai were hired at PRAXI in the beginning of 2020, exactly when Italy entered lockdown, and soon all PRAXI activities were transformed into remote working. The challenge was not easy, but the operations did not stop. What kind of experience did they have?

Mai speaks first. <I believe that it went smoothly. Working from home wasn’t all bad. I believe if I had worked more from the office, I would have improved my Italian, but overall, I was not bothered by working remotely.>

Sai’s experience has been a little more complex. <On February 18, my first day at PRAXI started with a beautifully laid down agenda on my work desk. Little did I know at this point that the glamour of my first days in the office would be short-lived in front of an unannounced pandemic. On February 21, we were given the harsh notice about COVID-19 and were told to work remotely. With this surprise notice, also came the pressure from home to rethink my stay in Milan and to head back to India. It felt like there was so much at stake: a new job, new relationships and new everything in terms of work – above all, personally, my health. It would be natural for anyone to panic and take the easy way out, but I chose differently.>

Little by little, Sai learned to get comfortable with working from home. <What helped our team and me alike were the regular touch base calls my manager had planned daily, to catch up professionally and personally.>

Very soon Sai begins to appreciate the little gestures of signaling <you’re muted> or <your screen is frozen>, small incidents that also made the team laugh, often helping to forget the brutal reality around everyone. <There are many lessons I learned during my work experience in the pandemic but the one notable thing that stands out is the importance of trust and teamwork during tough times.>

What about Isabel? <This situation was very new and very curious for me. It was strange because I did not know what it was like to work before the pandemic since I finished my studies when the pandemic started!> Isabel says. <Once at PRAXI, I started working closely with Elena Caffarena, who has been following me throughout my journey, and I’ve managed to adapt to the language while at the same time dealing with the smart working/in person situation. The funny thing is that for me the normality is this one, online webinars, going to the office when you need to talk to a colleague, etc. It amazes me when people tell me stories about how the consulting world worked before Covid>.

Learning to adapt yourself to the circumstances is key.

What are some things that you really miss about your home country? And what are some things you would miss about Italy?

Understandably so, all of these three courageous young women miss their family and friends, culture and celebrations in their origin country.

<Also, Egypt never sleeps. One can go out anytime during the day/night and everything you need will be open, unlike Europe.> Mai says.

But while gaining new professional experiences, they also enjoy Italy as their home country.

Sai: <I appreciate a lot of things in Italy. Starting from coffee, art, cuisine, and the culture. I also appreciate the convenience of travelling locally.> Isabel finds that Italy is very similar to Spain in many ways, <and since I have created a very fun, international group of friends, I often feel at home here. I would miss the people I work with and I feel very fortunate that they have been so welcoming despite the language barrier. I would also miss going to the mountains, hiking, snowboarding, or going to the beach, and I have realized that, unlike Madrid, Turin is very close to all of them.>

Good luck girls!

 

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