Natalia Tretyakevich, Sr. Manager Research & Intelligence, BCD Travel
In order to help current students and recent graduates to find their way in the working world, many of our alumni shared their career story. Here the story of Natalia Tretyakevich, Sr. Manager Research & Intelligence in BCD Travel in Madrid (E). USI Degrees: PhD in Economics, 2016 and Master in International Tourism, 2010.
How did you start your career?
I came across an interesting job opportunity on the corporate linkedin profile of BCD Travel and sent my application. There are not many major players on the business travel market, so the biggest companies have always been under my radar. The recruitment procedure included a test and four interviews with the company representatives of various levels and responsibilities, including my future director. One of the most memorable experiences was a recorded video interview when I had to talk to a machine, which was the hardest. No feedback, no human emotions, no chance to go back or add anything… this was quite a challenge!
Why did you choose a career at BCD Travel?
I’ve been always interested in corporate travel. My Master thesis as well as the Doctoral dissertation looked at various aspects of corporate mobility, business travel and events. I attended various events and conferences to understand the industry better, follow the latest trends and network with the travel buyers, suppliers and intermediaries. BCD Travel is one of the biggest travel management companies. It is truly multinational and allows flexibility in terms of geographic locations of the employees. Besides, it has a research team working in which would have been my dream. So, this was in line with my interests. And people are another aspect I discovered after having joined the company and was amazed by – an international team of travel professionals with a lot of experience who have much to say but are very open to welcoming young talents and keen on new ideas.
What is your current role/duties?
I am a senior manager in the Research & Intelligence team and my responsibilities are very broad. I run various research projects to support our product planning group and provide corporate intelligence and thought leadership to internal and external audiences. As a group, we track corporate travel trends and emerging technology. We also have a say in corporate strategy. We generate ideas and work hard with other teams to convert them into reality.
In your opinion, what are the qualities necessary for a successful career at BCD Travel?
Apart from the straightforward qualities and skills – such as understanding of the industry and business and travel trends that shape it, analytical and project-management skills, high level of organization, time management and multitasking – one needs to be able to effectively communicate across various backgrounds, levels and geographies. At BCD Travel a good portion of employees, including myself, are home-based. Almost all meetings happen online and for the big events we travel. Virtual work environment provides a huge added value, but it requires adjustment of the work style and the ability to communicate distantly, without face-toface encounters.
What are USI’s positive featuresand qualities?
USI’s strong point is a broad overview of a good number of relevant travel themes and subjects thanks to its rich curriculum and constant search for
improvement following emerging trends and industry needs. The international group of professors and students create a great environment that encourages collective learning and thinking out of the box. We had plenty of contacts with the real world and worked on field projects with travel stakeholders. It’s a truly unforgettable learning and life experience that changed me on so many levels, not only professionally but personally too.
What competences and/or skills acquired in your USI Study Program have been useful/are useful to your professional career?
The knowledge received during Master and PhD studies has been indispensable for building my career in travel. And despite the absence of a specific course dedicated to business travel, there were plenty of opportunities to get to know more about the industry. Attending ACTE conference and going on a study tour added a lot to my practical knowledge and made me confident I was making the right choice. Besides, multiple group projects we regularly had at USI shaped my communication skills with people of different backgrounds, experience and views.
What is your advice to USI students entering the job market?
Follow your heart – find the job or industry that makes you feel passionate, something that you are truly obsessed with - and then use every tiny little opportunity to get to know more and become one step closer to it. Choose your master thesis topic smartly, go to events and conferences dedicated to the subject of your interest, get a mentor from the field. The path may be curvy but, if you work hard, one day you’ll get where you want.