Success stories /
Success stories - Marina Zheludkova

Marina Zheludkova, a Leaf Blending Specialist at the Product Development Department of the headquarters (Germany, Hamburg)

Marina, will you tell us a few words about your work in Ukraine and what you do now working in the central division of the company in Hamburg? 
- At the factory in Kyiv, I worked at the Logistics Division as a procurement specialist of tobacco raw materials and semi-finished products. My duties included monitoring of the tobacco purchase programme, planning of volumes and delivery time of raw tobacco for the tobacco factory in Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Currently, I work as a Leaf Blending Specialist in the Product Development Department at the headquarters of Imperial Tobacco in Hamburg. 
How did you manage to move from the Logistics Department in Ukraine towards the product development? 
My previous work was related to tobacco, and the experience in logistics and tobacco purchasing has helped and allowed me to deepen the knowledge, gain additional skills and new experience. As a result, today I can trace the entire chain of tobacco production – from planning the volumes to the finished tobacco blend. 
What is interesting or special about your new work, what projects are you currently working on? 
Leaf blending management is an interesting, extremely important, scrupulous and, to some extent, creative job. If in wine production one type of grape is usually grown and produced in one country of the world, the work specificity of the tobacco leaf blending specialist is to provide the blend balanced in taste and quality parameters corresponding to the concept, which finally should satisfy the consumer, in spite of receiving tobacco with different quality characteristics from more than 40 countries of the world. I am responsible for all tobacco blends in the Eastern Europe region. 
What new skills or efforts has the new job required from you? 
Of course, a new job always requires maximum concentration, accuracy and certain knowledge. I am glad that the knowledge and experience I had acquired at the Kyiv factory formed a good basis for the new job. I take part in the evaluation of the samples and in smoking sessions, which helps me to make the decision on which tobacco to use. I would like to point out that the process of my induction and training was sufficiently detailed and included not only visiting the production facilities in Langenhagen (Germany), but also detailed familiarization with the work of the other divisions of the Central department of the product development. 
How easy or difficult was it to establish relations with your new colleagues? How quickly did you find common ground? 
My shop floor colleagues are people of different nationalities (Germany, China, Morocco, Russia, Turkey, and America) and peculiarities. I have found a common ground right away, and I was pleased that upon my arrival in Germany, not only my immediate supervisor, but also the manager of my division greeted me at the airport and took me to the apartment. The colleagues respect other people's personal space but they are willing to communicate and share knowledge. The principle of "knock on the door, and it will be opened to you" is completely applicable and welcomed here.  
Do you enjoy living in Hamburg, what are your impressions of this city? 
I always thought that big cities were full of high-rise apartment buildings, so I was pleasantly surprised that the city with the population of 1.8 million people is buried in verdure and flowers and full of cosy 1-2 storey houses. Although cosmopolitan, Hamburg is very welcoming and friendly. Pleases the accurate, by-the-minute schedule of public transport, astonishes the massive usage of bicycles as a way of transportation, regardless of the age and job position, in compliance with the safety regulations, and the active family holidays. Here, people dress simply and do not become fashion victims.

Marina, will you tell us a few words about your work in Ukraine and what you do now working in the central division of the company in Hamburg? 

At the factory in Kyiv, I worked at the Logistics Division as a procurement specialist of tobacco raw materials and semi-finished products. My duties included monitoring of the tobacco purchase programme, planning of volumes and delivery time of raw tobacco for the tobacco factory in Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Currently, I work as a Leaf Blending Specialist in the Product Development Department at the headquarters of Imperial Tobacco in Hamburg. 

How did you manage to move from the Logistics Department in Ukraine towards the product development? 

My previous work was related to tobacco, and the experience in logistics and tobacco purchasing has helped and allowed me to deepen the knowledge, gain additional skills and new experience. As a result, today I can trace the entire chain of tobacco production – from planning the volumes to the finished tobacco blend. 

What is interesting or special aout your new work, what projects are you currently working on?

Leaf blending management is an interesting, extremely important, scrupulous and, to some extent, creative job. If in wine production one type of grape is usually grown and produced in one country of the world, the work specificity of the tobacco leaf blending specialist is to provide the blend balanced in taste and quality parameters corresponding to the concept, which finally should satisfy the consumer, in spite of receiving tobacco with different quality characteristics from more than 40 countries of the world. I am responsible for all tobacco blends in the Eastern Europe region. 

What new skills or efforts has the new job required from you?

Of course, a new job always requires maximum concentration, accuracy and certain knowledge. I am glad that the knowledge and experience I had acquired at the Kyiv factory formed a good basis for the new job. I take part in the evaluation of the samples and in smoking sessions, which helps me to make the decision on which tobacco to use. I would like to point out that the process of my induction and training was sufficiently detailed and included not only visiting the production facilities in Langenhagen (Germany), but also detailed familiarization with the work of the other divisions of the Central department of the product development. 

How easy or difficult was it to establish relations with your new colleagues? How quickly did you find common ground? 

My shop floor colleagues are people of different nationalities (Germany, China, Morocco, Russia, Turkey, and America) and peculiarities. I have found a common ground right away, and I was pleased that upon my arrival in Germany, not only my immediate supervisor, but also the manager of my division greeted me at the airport and took me to the apartment. The colleagues respect other people's personal space but they are willing to communicate and share knowledge. The principle of "knock on the door, and it will be opened to you" is completely applicable and welcomed here.

Do you enjoy living in Hamburg, what are your impressions of this city? 

I always thought that big cities were full of high-rise apartment buildings, so I was pleasantly surprised that the city with the population of 1.8 million people is buried in verdure and flowers and full of cosy 1-2 storey houses. Although cosmopolitan, Hamburg is very welcoming and friendly. Pleases the accurate, by-the-minute schedule of public transport, astonishes the massive usage of bicycles as a way of transportation, regardless of the age and job position, in compliance with the safety regulations, and the active family holidays. Here, people dress simply and do not become fashion victims.