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"My passion is making technology useful for people"

"My passion is making technology useful for people"

Merger urged Rahul to become a trainee

When Rahul Goel was wrapping up his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering at Technical University Eindhoven, he didn't expect his first 'real' job would be at VodafoneZiggo. Or at any Dutch organization, for that matter.

Rahul: "I am Indian, but I have strong roots in the US, and I was considering going back to find a job there. But then I stumbled on an article about the VodafoneZiggo merger, which piqued my interest. I thought it would be exciting to be a part of such a transition. After all, we're talking about a major merger here." 

Real world
What really struck a chord, is that the Discover Traineeship at VodafoneZiggo offered the opportunity to work on real-life projects. You see, when you're at university, everything is very theoretical, right? An academic setting is like this perfect world where money doesn't matter, and where engineers can go all out and say, "Ooh, 100 Gbps internet for everybody, let's do it! Which is great. However, my true passion is making technology useful for people. And in the real world, you must deal with all kinds of financial restraints and technological bottlenecks."

Running water
Rahul enjoys the significance of the VodafoneZiggo's activities. "You can't imagine a world without internet. If we stop working for a day, people's lives grind to a halt. If the running water stopped working and the internet went down at the same time, most people would notice the internet first. The third factor that appealed to me, was the fact that it's a traineeship for internationals, and those are rare."

Small miracle
It's a small miracle that Rahul made the cut. "Yeah, that's quite a story, because I missed the application deadline. I simply didn't read the article in time. But the recruiter showed lenience, and here I am!" Like all Discover trainees, Rahul participated in three consecutive four-month projects. "One of those was outside my comfort zone: the implementation of a new buying process for one of the leading smartphone brands. I changed the way we acquire those products, so we have more negotiating power and better availability. That translates into customers having the device sooner and at a lower price. A high impact project, because if the buying process doesn't run smoothly, our stock might run out. It's complicated as well, for example because you must account for a certain lead time. What helped is that I took a few courses in logistics. But at the same time, what you should realize, is there's a learning curve to doing something like this. So, I spent quite a lot of time with fellow demand planners, who coached me through it. You make mistakes. They teach you how not to make them again."

Plan, adapt, rinse, repeat
His final project took Rahul into the strategic realm. "I was really determined to take on a challenge within the fixed network side of things and ended up creating a roadmap for our video content. Another high-impact endeavor, because we are market leaders in video, and it's important all video initiatives are aligned. That means you must cope with technology, with people who maintain the platforms, and with network capacity management, as well as with the products' customers' use, such as different set-top boxes, apps, et cetera. You also must take the plans of proposition marketing into account. Which offers do we want to communicate to the customer? Through which channels? There's a lot of brains and a lot of parties involved! My role was to try to get all the information from the different parties and put it together so that we could develop an aligned strategy to move forward with video. The brilliance of having such a roadmap is that you can present it to the stakeholders and have them challenge it. That's a must, because the world is changing. And we're in the entertainment and internet industry, so the pace is fast. Once you have a roadmap, you at least have a shared destination you want to reach, and if the market or the consumer makes the course turbulent, you can adapt."

Grow together
Looking back on his first year at VodafoneZiggo – as of September, 2018 he is 'officially' employed as Demand Manager Service Platforms & End to End Solutions – Rahul appreciates the deeper understanding it provided of the technology behind the networks. "And of the challenge to keep everything up and running! What I enjoy most about the job, is that there's a lot of change, both within VodafoneZiggo and the industry. It's very fast-paced. As for the traineeship: I loved that you don't start alone. The camaraderie makes a heck of a difference. Right from the start, I had other trainees to discuss matters with, to socialize with, and to train with. People with very different backgrounds, like marketers, product managers and engineers. You name it, we have them. You get a mix of different ideas and interests. At the same time, you're all new to the company, so you're all growing together. Your challenges are similar. The program shows you a lot. It's absolutely crazy how much I learned in a year. And that's an ongoing process, because I've only scratched the organization's surface. If it motivates you to enable people to live their lives the way they want to – connected – it's great to be part of VodafoneZiggo."

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