Success story 1 : Mihai Mainea, a Romanian graduate from the UK who chose to return to Romania.

This series of articles is a collaboration between the Bucharest Lounge and Reviro. We share a common goal to promote role models and people who can lead the way in Romania, by stepping up to excellence in their field.

 By : Reviro

This is an article about Romania’s brain (re)gain – The success stories of Romanian graduates with international experience who have chosen to return home.

We start-off our wonderful journey into Romania’s youth potential with the success story of Mihai Mainea, a young Romanian educated in the UK, who is now working in his homeland. Mihai graduated from Canterbury University and has an MSC from London School of Economics. He has also completed an exchange program in Brazil and internships in India, Thailand and China.

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Reviro (R): Tell us a bit about yourself, your educational background and the reason why you chose to study abroad.

Mihai Mainea (MM): I have an Undergraduate Degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Canterbury University and a Masters in Finance and Management from The London School of Economics. I have completed my international experience by undergoing an exchange program in Economic and Public Policy in Brazil and also by trying to escape my comfort zone, through my travels and internships all around the world, such as India, Thailand and China.

R: What was the main reason for wanting to study abroad?

MM: In my view an international exposure not only adds value to a candidate’s professional profile, but it also contributes to one’s personal development, it enables one’s adaptability and other crucial skills. This was my main reason: I was trying to build something meaningful for the future.

R: What made you return to Romania?

MM: The Western market is extremely competitive and the fact that I graduated from a very good Master program and gained professional experience in various places around the world doesn’t necessarily make me stand out. One of the main reasons I returned to Romania is the fact that here I can access greater opportunities, find better jobs that can open doors for me in the future. To be clear: between working in a 2nd or 3rd rate job in England or a finding a good opportunity in Romania, I chose to come back home. Secondly, I never excluded the option to come back home.  For example, when I wrote my cover letter for LSE I mentioned that I wanted to write my Dissertation on the effect that private and multinational companies have on the Romanian economy. Romania has a very interesting market and I genuinely think it’s a good time to be here. A lot of companies are currently growing with the economy and the market’s booming with interesting features which one cannot find in the UK, for example, which has an arguably saturated market.

R: Can you be more specific about why the Romanian market is such an interesting place for young professionals nowadays?

MM: I am referring to the transactions that are made here, the clients who are investing and the type of projects which one can work on. When I said the UK market is arguably saturated I meant that its firms and the opportunities overall are much more consolidated than in Romania. For example, in the UK I found that projects are predominantly focused on cost-cutting, if we were to refer to the consulting area I have been working in, whereas in Romania there are a lot more projects on economic development. Admittedly, things are moving slower here, but the mere fact of being in the middle of it, as it is happening and potentially being able to contribute to that movement is just fascinating.

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R: How did you relate to the working opportunities from Romania while you were abroad? Did you access information about the labour market easily or was it rather a more difficult process to find out about interesting jobs awaiting for you here?

MM: Honestly, I didn’t have much info on the matter and overall I didn’t have a very good opinion about the employers back home in the sense that I heard that it’s common to get to the final stages of an interview and not receive any  reply or feedback.

Here Reviro really made a difference in the sense that it offers clear information about the market, what positions are hot right now, connects you to amazing and targeted companies that match one’s prospects. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many amazing opportunities through their website and as such my expectations regarding this service grew.

R: Where did you first learn about Reviro?

MM: Via a focus group in London, then thanks to Andreea [Reviro employee] I got in contact with Adriana [Managing Partner Reviro].

R: Can you detail how Reviro has helped you? How would you describe the recruitment process with this firm?

MM: Reviro offered a really structured overview of the career options available for me back home and made me understand employer’s expectations whilst also calibrating mine and emphasizing what I should expect from different job positions. At the same time Reviro inspired confidence because I was able to enter into formal discussion with the hiring managers at the company I’m currently working much more quickly than had I applied on my own. You made the recruitment process so much easier and transparent thus saving me a lot of time and energy. The tips and discussions prior to my interviews really helped in the sense that I could structure my answers and present my skills and profile in a much more efficient and targeted way.

R: How was the interaction with Adriana, our Managing Partner? And : how would you describe your experience with us?

MM: I would describe it as very open and friendly. The first time I talked to Adriana I was genuinely expecting something more formal, but the reality was different. We had a very casual talk, I didn’t feel like I was being put on the hot spot; on the contrary I felt like she was listening to what I had to say and trying to understand my ambitions in life, whilst at the same time providing a real picture of the opportunities I can access back home, that can help the most in achieving my goals.

R: What do you think this job can bring, in addition, compared to other positions you might have had abroad?

MM: It very much depends on the company culture.  From what I’ve come to know, through the headquarters in Bucharest and the CFO, who was one of the main reasons I decided to take the job,  I feel like I have a lot to learn from the company team and can develop my skills alongside them. It seems like an ideal environment for me to grow and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

R: What added value do you feel you bring to the company as a young professional with international experience?

MM: First of all, a different approach and mentality. As a consequence of having studied and worked in so many different places, I have gained a different perspective and approach towards work. I feel completely at ease in a multicultural environment and I adapt quickly to different situations. It’s all about transferable skills, how I’ve learned to communicate, to critically assess things and to be more open-minded and consistent in my actions.

R: Giving that you have worked in so many different places and countries, do you expect to experience a bit of cultural shock working in a Romanian firm?

MM: Surprisingly, maybe here more than anywhere else. I have previously done 2 internships in Romania, although cultural shock may be a bit too much to say. The expectations are higher because it’s my home country and I am invested emotionally here, but I really loved the team and I don’t think I’ll have issues adapting.

R: Last thoughts?

MM: Initially, when I was thinking about what I wanted to do, as in a full-time job, I was a bit sceptical concerning work opportunities back home. Fortunately, thanks to Reviro, I was able to understand more clearly the situation on the job market and by seeing the firm’s career portfolio I gained trust instantly.

I have never been more sure  that I have made the right decision. I have found an inspiring working environment that allows me to grow. In essence, that is what Reviro has done for me: it put me in this position in which I wouldn’t have been otherwise; to be honest this company would have never crossed my mind, but what Reviro has done was open a new door, which brings new perspectives and new ways to constantly develop.

I would recommend Reviro wholeheartedly to anyone who ponders on the thought of returning home: you have nothing to lose and I assure you that you will be pleasantly surprised in finding a team of young, dedicated people who are simply extending a helping hand.

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