Success Story: the head of the Mteam — Alexandr Tihai
We found out how he got acquainted with Grafit, why he'd chosen IT instead of accounting, and what is the role of Mteam for the holding as a whole.
Hello, Alexandr! Tell us about yourself before joining Grafit Holding.
I have two degrees: in IT and in accounting and auditing. I chose these two professions both to my liking and by necessity. I was interested in programming since I was a kid: in 5th grade, I already had known for sure what I wanted to do. I had to study accounting in order to help my parents. It was a difficult time. But a few years later, I realized that I didn't want to do that – I had to spend 70% of my tome on running around various agencies or arguing with someone. Thus, I decided to become a web developer. I made my first and only CV, sent it to Grafit, and was hired back in 2008. At first, I was combining the work at Grafit with accounting at a transport company. And I did quite well.
How did you get into Grafit? How did your career growth proceed?
Like many other people, I found the vacancy and sent my CV. They called me back and invited me to an interview. As you understand, everything went well. Those were some interesting times, because joining a company that has a cooler, tea, coffee, and paid-up lunches right after graduating from the university was a total win!

The interview was the starting point. I vividly remember how I said something, like, "You're deeply into web technologies. I am better with 1C. It is what it is at the university level. Give me a chance and you won't regret it!" I was lucky enough to be hired into one of the holding's projects. It's been 14 years since I joined the Grafit Holding team.

At first, I was a programmer, then I became a TeamLead, and eventually I started overseeing all the other development departments. After this, I accepted the call of fate and moved to the SovaMax project. After working in it for a while, I grew to become a vice president with a team of 40.

After a while, we realized that we should unite and create an organizational structure to help the entire holding. Thus, Mteam appeared in 2016. This project is people from other projects, who were doing the same work, who then gathered together, and united their strengths. Some are wondering, "Why is it named like this?" It sounds best in English – "M comes from Moldavian, Moldavian team." Rather patriotic!
Was it easy to achieve the top manager's position?
No. This path was quite hard. Being a part of the collective, I had to complete tasks, learn a lot, and develop technical skills. Yes, I had to stay late voluntarily, since there were difficult tasks that I couldn't resolve for a long time. Sometimes, I had to stay until public transport wasn't available anymore. But I was focused on results. And it was worth it :)
Some are wondering, "Why is it named like this?" It sounds best in English – "M comes from Moldavian, Moldavian team." Rather patriotic!
What is your position in the company?
I am currently managing the Mteam team. This project is built on the Shared Service Center (SSC) principles of our holding. We managed to create something unique for Moldova. I'm only starting to hear that other companies are beginning to do something similar, but they still don't succeed in doing it as broadly as we did. We were among the first.
Mteam project helps the entire holding to function. How does this work?
At the moment, we have a huge team – 100 people. We are taking care of the tasks coming in from 6 other projects of Grafit Holding. Our work includes resolving the issues associated with the activity of our 6 departments: information systems, accounting, logistics department, pricing department, information department that follows the product database and company contacts, and e-commerce.

Essentially, we are the Swiss army knife that helps removing the overload, so that our partners could focus on the main stuff – looking for customers and closing deals, and we're helping them to do it quickly and stress-free.

We process a huge amount of service requests, so everything must be executed precisely, in a quality manner, and on time. There are several things that help us to do this.

First of all, we help our employees develop involvedness in their work. An enthusiastic person will always look for the most efficient way to solve a problem. Secondly, we work at the same place and can easily fine-tune communication within the project as well as outside of it. Thirdly, due to working under one roof, we are able to quickly find the best solutions that would suit all the parties.

This is how it works :)
What are the three things that you value in Grafit Holding?
First – an amazing team. Grafit is a place where a lot of people of different age, tempers, education, views, and experience are working in it. All of them are very different, but are united with a common cause. For instance, when we need to complete an important task at the nexus of different projects, all employees mobilize and each contribute something unique to it. As a result, everyone wins. I, personally, enjoy working with such different people that help me to cope with every day challenges in my team.

Second – management. Our managers are open and thoughtful towards people and are focused on the result. They are not course theorists, but rather experienced specialists that grew in the holding, just as I did. I would like to emphasize that our management behaves correctly, we don't have nepotism, favorites, or personal attacks.

Partially, we manage to succeed in this because we evaluate people based on particular indicators. For this, we have our own internal evaluation system for completed work. It shows objective figures that let us understand how well or bad an employee does their work. It's also very important that we abide by the open door policy, which means that everyone can take their issue to the management and they are going to be heard.

Third – 9-floor building in the center of the capital. Two years ago we found ourselves to have everything necessary for comfortable work: location, space, food zone, recreation area, massage chairs, coffee makers, and many other things.
What do you like the most about your work?
Perhaps, it's the drive. Daily drive, by the way. It is aimed at success. Every day for me is a challenge. 100 employees, 6 departments, 6 partners, and lots of touchpoints, most of which are delicate. All of the people I work with are different and have their own problems, so we have misfires from time to time. They should be taken care of quickly and the result depends on your experience.

You realize that you're not alone. The realization that you are surrounded by people, who are just as selfless as you are, who keep pace with you, and that together you create something unique, is definitely very motivating. It is for me, at the very least. It wouldn't have worked any other way.
The realization that you are surrounded by people, who are just as selfless as you are, who keep pace with you, and that together you create something unique, is definitely very motivating.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I am always trying to keep balance between work and family. I am lucky to have a wonderful family: a wife and two sons. This is why I'm trying to pay due attention to them. But the struggle is real, because I am completely focused on work for 5 days a week – I'm giving my all during the day and then I give what remains in the evening. I'm trying to cheer up and change my activity to give my family what it deserves. Some people say that family is work, too. I don't think the same, but family is still a responsibility. I have little time left for my own self. The kids are small: they need to have a walk, they need help with their homework. So, if we're speaking about free time, I would say this relates to evening walks. I am trying to live by the 5+2 principle and am very grateful to the holding that we have a balance between work and personal time.
Is Moldova a country of opportunities?
I wouldn't be giving an interview in our company's office, if I thought otherwise. I'm not going to say that I never feasted my eyes on Europe. But after talking to my relatives, who were already living there and then going abroad with my wife, we solidly decided that Europe is good, but it's best to only go there on vacation.

After visiting Italy, we realized that everything is different abroad. Most likely, you are going to be an alien there for a long time, and you will have a hard time finding an understanding with the locals. I didn't find such perspectives quite encouraging. Moldova is unique in its own way. Where else would we find such bright minds that know this many foreign languages? The Moldavian people is capable of learning languages. We speak at least two languages since childhood! I'm not even going to elaborate about our wine, sun, and fruits. A lot of my relatives come to visit from Russia, for example, and they are saying that they can't get enough of our fruits.

Our country is wonderful, it's full of smart people, who can create and realize whatever they want. As an example, you can even take a look at our holding that was "born" at the joint of Moldavian and German businesses and became a big company with over 400 employees. These several hundreds of people could've gone abroad but they became a part of our team, because they found an opportunity to make good money and fulfil their potential at home.
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