Where are they now? Nafisah Wulandari, EMTM 2012-2014
September, 03 2021
Where are they now?
EMTM Alumni go in different directions after they graduate. In the blog series "Where are they now?" EMTM Alumni share their career development stories.
In this post, Nafisah Wulandary from generation 2012-2014 shares career journey after EMTM.
To understand my career journey after I graduated, you have to know that I have been tip-toeing around all the possibilities that brought me to where I am. I have always admired people who know exactly what they want to do with their lives and careers. When I graduated in 2014, I was clueless about what career journey to embark on. I was afraid of facing the jungle of reality - and of course, as an Asian who decided to stay in Europe, I knew I could not be choosy.
Prior to my graduation, I had undertaken a few internships and freelance jobs here and there that shed some light on which path suited me most. From being a travel blogger, a project researcher, a social media manager, to an event planner. I soon decided that working in tourism was what I wanted to pursue. That was the goal, and so I began my active job hunting in Copenhagen. The rejections started pouring in. I remember my job applications vanished into thin air or changed into a polite rejection email. I started to experience the real challenge of finding a company that was willing to hire a non-EU citizen to work in Europe.
Throughout the job hunting process, which lasted for months, the one thing that I realized was that I needed to sell myself as bringing added value to the company. What would make me stand out? I neither mastered the native language nor did I have differentiated skills to make me a hidden gem in an international talent pool. But, I had different insights and knowledge as an Indonesian that I could package as a unique selling point. Changing my strategy gave me a significant advantage on the job application journey.
The result? I successfully landed a job as a Sales and Operations Manager for one of the largest DMCs in Northern Europe. Starting with handling Indonesia, my responsibility grew to also include Singapore and Malaysia. Having covered those three countries, I was entrusted with the Asian region within my scope of responsibility. For a tropical girl who had never been exposed to snow before she arrived in Europe, marketing Northern Europe was full of fun. Suddenly life was filled with Norwegian huskies, northern lights, and glaciers.
After this fulfilling experience, in 2018 a recruiter contacted me through LinkedIn. They were looking for a partner for an Indonesian online travel agent. I remember asking the recruiter what the worst part of this job would be, and she said, “you will have to travel frequently.” The worst part was the reason why I joined the company, and since then I have been able to expand my network and experiences by working with big names and brands in the travel industry.
Currently, my daily work revolves around dealing with partners from different countries. The EMTM programme gave me the capability to effectively communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds and to understand how tourism practices are done differently in other parts of the world. From a career perspective, I think I have achieved what I imagined I would at the beginning of my career as an EMTM graduate: pursuing a career in the two things that I love and believe in, travel and technology.
My advice to other EMTM-ers starting their career journey is to define what path they would like to take and why. Having a clear mindset and reason will make you stand firm, despite the challenges or obstacles that will be thrown at you. And do not forget to always have confidence in yourself!
Written by Nafisah Wulandari, Alumna of EMTM Generation 2012-2014