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Aleksandra Shcherbakova

Aleksandra Shcherbakova

When Aleksandra Shcherbakova visited Sydney for the first time it seemed to her that “all the worldly troubles, crises, looming wars were far away, almost non-existent.” That’s when she made a decision that would change her life. “After surviving several snowy winters in Saint Petersburg, I decided to turn my life around and try something new and different. Completely different. I kept thinking about the way one can fit both working in the office and swimming in the ocean into the same day.”

Today Aleksandra is living and studying in Australia as a Masters of Management student at the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) and has landed a marketing work placement role at Moët Hennessy, based in their Barangaroo offices in Sydney.

“Considering the current environment, I appreciate how blessed and undoubtedly lucky I am to be placed at Moët Hennessy in such times. From the start, I knew I wanted to get my foot in the door of Moët Hennessy.”

When considering where to study in Australia, Aleksandra, originally from Western Ukraine, conducted research and found several colleges and universities that were offering Masters programs, however, she says, “ICMS stood out by offering scholarships for international students, campuses in the city and Manly — oh, the views! — comprehensive courses, and work placement as a part of the final term. These sounded like a perfect match and I instantly knew I was going to get all the support I needed as a newcomer.”

She chose to study a Masters of Management because she wanted to ensure her career advancement. “In many countries, you need to have a Masters of Management degree to get promoted and increase the likelihood of pay rise. Additionally, I had long been considering launching a business of my own and I needed to address the existing business management knowledge gaps.”

“I have met some truly impressive talents and kind personalities among our lecturers. Dr Hemanath Swarna, Dr Leonid Petrov, and Dr Ilja Nastjuk will remain my favourite teachers and dare I say, mentors.”

That’s one of the reasons she was so thrilled to land a work placement at Moët Hennessy Australia, a division of a French multinational corporation and conglomerate specialising in luxury goods, headquartered in Paris, France.

Being offered a work placement in a prestigious company like Moët Hennessy will be a significant advantage to Shcherbakova when she graduates and begins building her career in Sydney’s competitive job market. Her experience will put her at a significant advantage over other graduates.

“Once graduated, international students need to compete with people who already have local experience, qualifications and speak English fluently. Therefore, I wanted to utilise my only chance to its full potential and asked Kylie (my ICMS Work Integrated Learning facilitator) to reach out to the Moët Hennessy (MH) team on my behalf.”

“With the start of the pandemic, MH put all hiring on hold and they were not recruiting any interns. However, at the end of July, the MH Marketing team felt like they could use some assistance and contacted ICMS for suitable candidates. Luckily, Kylie thought of me fitting the role and this is how I had my Zoom interview arranged.”

The ICMS partnership with Moët Hennessy is highly valued. The support and encouragement of ICMS partners is vital to properly prepare students for success in their careers and a key reason why ICMS is in the Top 10 for overall graduate employment in Australia.

Aleksandra explains, “On several occasions, I was told by the HR of Moët Hennessy how happy they had been with ICMS partnership and how they prefer to reach out to our College when they need someone professional and diligent for the role.”

The feeling is mutual and Aleksandra is loving the experience. “So far, I have been swept away by the support I have been offered. My management is absolutely fantastic, highly skilled and emotionally intelligent. The corporate culture and ethics of this company are outstanding and this supports a healthy professional atmosphere in the office.”

“Most of my colleagues have been in the wines & spirits industry for decades and love long discussions about the taste on the palate of a particular vintage or about creative ideas for new cocktails. Their passion for MH products is utterly infectious and makes me want to learn more about every single one of them.”

The skills that Aleksandra will gain during her internship are invaluable, “I hope to learn more about the local corporate culture, etiquette, business communication, and stakeholder management.”

There have been some other learnings that are more subtle too, including understanding and developing the nuances of Australian culture and communication styles. For example, in Australia small talk, or ‘banter’, is a way to build rapport and strengthen relationships. “I have been making progress in my small talk — non-existent in most European countries — and crafting more appealing emails, so this sits among my first achievements.”

“I have greatly enjoyed the atmosphere while studying at the ‘Castle on the hill’. The abundance of languages and cultures I witnessed on a daily basis astonished me and helped me widen my horizons. I have never thought I would make friends with people from Latin America as they are so different from us introverted and grumpy Russians.

In the future Aleksandra hopes to be able to land her dream marketing job, find more friends locally and “bathe in as much sun as I can.”


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