Xiaoqian Zhang

Global Trainee, Cohort 2022


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Please tell us a few words about yourself and your career path.

My name is Xiaoqian Zhang or Lena as everyone calls me. I am currently a Global Trainee (Finance area) and I have been with RHI Magnesita for one year now.

I studied Business Administration for my Bachelor’s at the Vienna University of Economics & Business (WU Wien). Afterwards, I did my Master’s in Management there as well. Moreover, I did an MBA exchange semester at the Smith Business School at Queen’s University in Canada. During my studies, I could already gain a few years of work experience in Accounting & Controlling. After I graduated, I worked one year in Reporting & Finance for another company before applying for my current position.

Why exactly did you apply for RHI Magnesita?

Even though I had a secure full-time job during the pandemic, I decided to quit as I was looking for opportunities to gain more experience and acquire new skills. Plus, the opportunity to work in different departments and locations seemed very attractive to me. I hoped to gain more knowledge in various finance areas and connect the dots. I also wanted to learn more about the refractory industry as it plays a major part in our daily life, even though we are not always visible!

What is your current role and how does your day look like?

As I am a Global Trainee, I am rotating every six months to another department. I started my journey in Investor Relations followed by a rotation in Change Management & Communication for the project on Money Value Stream. In January 2023, I joined the Commercial Marketing Team for the Region Europe, CIS & Türkiye. I am working on a project regarding consignment stock, together with the Regional Supply Chain Management Team.

What’s the most unexpected skill you’ve gained at RHI Magnesita?

I had the opportunity to get an insight into different (finance) areas and learn about their various tasks. Besides all the technical skills I could gain in my first year, I learned the importance of project and change management… I also understood how important time management is. In addition, due to giving and preparing PowerPoints repetitively, I significantly improved my presentation skills.

What’s the best part about life at RHI Magnesita?

Since RHI Magnesita is an international company, you have the opportunity to interact with amazing colleagues from all over the world and learn about different cultures. Moreover, it has a flat hierarchy and open corporate culture. The (senior) leaders are approachable and create a comfortable situation where everybody can voice their own opinion. In my opinion, this open and collaborative culture creates strong teams.