Posted on 15/05/2019 by Greg Clarke
Yuri and Arturs have been friends since they were six years old. Since then they’ve moved from Latvia to London, studied Computer Science at Brunel University, completed the MThree Alumni Graduate Program, and switched to permanent employees at Amadeus.
We caught up with them both to learn about their journey together and find out any advice they have for graduates considering an exciting career in travel technology.
How did you two first meet?
Yuri: We’re both from the same hometown so our parents went to school together, and we met when we were six. Then Arturs moved to a different city but we kept in touch, and then we went to the same uni. He's one year older than me, but he had to do an extra year because my grades were better!
Why did you choose to move to London?
Arturs: For me it was education and the opportunities to grow your career, join bigger companies and work on more interesting projects. It didn’t have to be London, but Yuri’s dad lives here, and we thought it would be fun to go together.
Yuri: Plus you don’t need a Visa and everyone speaks English!
How did you come to join MThree?
Yuri: After we graduated we were looking for jobs, we went to the university careers centre and they helped with our CV and suggested some useful job sites. We found one of MThree’s job adverts, which was one of the more interesting ones.
Arturs: Yes we found MThree quite fast and we liked the openness. It was clear what the program was, what you get and what you have to do. It wasn’t like other programs we found where you had to pay for the training, attend assessment days or train in Manchester to then work in London. So we decided to interview for MThree. We were told about MThree’s finance clients, and then we were told about Amadeus, something completely different to a bank.
How did you find the training at MThree Academy?
Arturs: On the first day of training, I interviewed with Amadeus and I found out I got the job later that same day. So it started well! Then the technical training contained technologies I wasn’t used to or had never worked with, so it helped me a lot.
Yuri: We covered Java, C++, Linux, Oracle. A lot of the technical training was on areas i’d already learned during my course or placement year. But there were lots of people from other backgrounds, like Maths and Chemical Engineering, who definitely found it very useful.
Which of these skills have you gone on to use at Amadeus?
Yuri: Well for me, all of them.
Arturs: Everything except C++.
Talking of your current roles at Amadeus, how would you describe what you do to a non-technical person?
Arturs: I work with the software products that handle customer check-ins. So imagine you want to fly somewhere, and you check in online or use one of the touch screens at the airport. I write the specific automation programmes that will run through those check-ins and validate that everything is working correctly. They make sure there are no bugs, so customers can actually use the product.
Yuri: I work with a specific airline customer, and when they decide one of their software products needs to work differently, I come up with the proposal, make the changes and look after the maintenance.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your role?
Arturs: Definitely seeing our products being used in the real world. On my placement year we were working with enterprise level software that were used internally at big companies. So we’d sell it, develop it, and then never see it. Nowadays, for example when I fly, I see the systems we created all around the airport.
Yuri: Same thing for me. My placement was mostly to do with technical stuff. I would never use or touch it. But now, for example, we flew to Japan and the airline was using our software. It’s a really nice feeling, to see something you’ve made being used by real people!
Arturs: Also what I like about Amadeus is they’re open minded. If you want to move offices or teams they’ll give you those opportunities. Since working here for 18 months, I’ve seen people move as far as Boston, or change teams to do something completely different. That’s something I find really exciting.
What’s been the most challenging part of your role?
Yuri: There’s a steep learning curve. When you come in, you get thrown a lot of stuff that you wouldn’t know from anywhere else, because it’s travel or airline specific. There are abbreviations and internal tools used by Amadeus that you have to learn. Lots to take in during your first month!
Arturs: The best way to learn in your first month is ask lots of questions. There’s such a huge amount of information, so many systems involved, luckily you’re not expected to learn everything at the start!
What’s something you’ve learned in the last year?
Arturs: How it all works. What happens from the moment a passenger books a flight to taking off. Understanding the complexity, every system involved, it’s humongous. When you start to understand how it all fits together, it’s actually amazing.
Yuri: My role focuses on cargo weight and balance. Let’s say a customer is checking in. Their bag might contain dangerous items, so we have to meet certain regulations. As an extreme example, you can’t have live animals, next to dry ice, next to radioactive materials. There has to be a certain distance between them all, while making sure the plane is balanced correctly and has enough fuel. So there are really complex systems working in the background that decide where cargo is placed on the plane, and i’ve had to learn a lot about the regulations that make sure passengers are safe.
Looking forward, what are you hoping to achieve in the next year?
Yuri: I’d like to transfer to Sydney and work there for a year, that’s my plan. Amadeus has multiple sites, so depending on availability you can transfer and do exactly the same job but with nicer weather!
Arturs: I don’t have it planned out quite so clearly, but there are a few projects I want to finish in my current role. After that I might transfer to another country within the same team at Amadeus, or possibly move to a different team to learn different technologies and get a bit of variety.
What advice do you have for people joining MThree’s two year Alumni Program?
Yuri: Ask questions, be yourself. They won’t think you’re stupid, they’ll like that you’re taking the initiative. It also shows you’re interested.
Arturs: Show you’re engaged and interested in the industry you’re applying for, whether that’s finance or aviation.
What was it like being part of the MThree Alumni community?
Yuri: We had the Christmas and Summer parties, and Alumni socials. They were great for catching up with Alumni working at other companies.
Arturs: There are so many different teams here at Amadeus, I didn’t get to see all the other Alumni. But when I was at the socials, I got to meet everyone and hear about the area they’re working in. Now, when I see them around the office, we say ‘hey’ and catch up because we know each other.
What’s kept you two together all these years?
Arturs: I would say similar interests, like games and topics. And we spoke about studying abroad when we were both young, I think around 12. The university seemed to just come together, and same with MThree and Amadeus, it all just worked out. I guess we’re quite lucky!
Yuri: I remember our career advisor saying it’s very unlikely that two friends get the same graduate program. We should get back in touch, maybe I can forward this article to him!
Amadeus powers travel. Its solutions connect travelers to the journeys they want through travel agents, search engines, tour operators, airlines, airports, hotels, cars and railways. We are one company with a global mindset and a local presence wherever our customers need us. We help connect over 1.5 billion people a year to local travel providers in over 190 countries.
Learn more about amadeus here https://amadeus.com
Want to achieve greatness in your career like Yuri and Arturs? Begin your application to our Alumni Program.