At Aliter, it is important for us to try and get to know the people behind our brand. Internships are a great opportunity for people and brands to work with each other. Aliter uses internships as a platform to empower individuals through better career management and increased social awareness. Today, Global Marketing Manager Tamil Karikalan sits down with Mustafa Nomat,
An intern at Aliter for a quick chat about himself, his experiences with Aliter, and what his future plans are. Mustafa is a student at University of Windesheim in Almere. He is in his second year and they have an internship as part of their curriculum, which is why he’s here with Aliter.
THE PERSONAL ANGLE
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Mustafa has an interesting background. He is an Iraqi diaspora who was born in the Netherlands but whose ethnic roots are from the northern part of Iraq. His parents came to The Netherlands as Kurdish refugees in the late 90s hoping to provide a better future for Mustafa. They still have strong ties to their home land, and travel back home every summer pre-pandemic.
His strong bond with his native country and ethnic identity has posed a challenge when it came to getting internships locally, but Aliter proved to be the exception here rather than the norm. We have a history of being an equal opportunity provider and are empathetic towards ethnic diversity. He also added that they would visit their family in Iraq every year, but because of the pandemic, they weren’t able to make it this year.
“Hopefully this summer, things will ease up and we can visit!”
This is something that we all echo with – the pandemic has wrought havoc and we’re all looking forward to a more promising year. When asked about his education, Mustafa confides that even though he was good at all subjects, nothing really caught his interest till he got into Maths. “Numbers to me are absolute and have a lot of influence on what goes on in the world.” That had a major bearing in his decision to choose Finance and Control at his school. Eventually, he wants to do his Master’s in the same discipline.
How would you describe Aliter’s company culture?
“I feel that Aliter is unorthodox in its approach, but in a good way. I’ve had internships before, and something I immediately noticed with Aliter and my direct manager, Ash Krishna, was that I was being treated as a colleague and not an intern. And this was something I’ve never experienced in my previous internships – it gave me a lot of confidence!”
This is something that we’ve had a lot of people tell us. At Aliter, our focus is to empower individuals and get them to believe they’re part of a bigger plan. We make sure that they are heard, which is a critical part of the workplace experience.
“I felt respected and like I truly belonged here. It’s always a great feeling for people when they know their contributions matter. Also, something else I’ve noticed here is that the company works hard to stay away from a sense of hierarchy. Aliter has great workplace chemistry and you can see that it works!”
This is great to hear from someone who has been interning with us for only a short period of time. And especially because we’ve been working hard to achieve it. We are moving towards a more decentralized workplace – where everyone is equally responsible and accountable.
Does being treated as a colleague rather than an intern pose a challenge?
“It is good to have more responsibility especially during internships. Sometimes you’re stuck with useless tasks that have no bearing on your abilities or the project, and that’s when things can get frustrating. With Aliter, they were able to get the best out of me which helps me learn more and gain valuable experience. At the end of the day, that is what internships are about, isn’t it? Getting to know what you can do and how you can adapt to different situations at your workplace.”
That is a great attitude to have especially when you’re just starting out. Our aim with people who work with us is to get them contributing as quickly as possible. It improves morale and encourages them to give us their best.
THE INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE
What was your internship like at Aliter – is there anything you would change about it?
After mulling over the question a bit – “To be honest, the only gripe I’ve had with the internship is about the assignments that were given to us at the university. These assignments are sometimes tedious and don’t focus on our competencies. Ash and I went through that on account of these assignments – we were just not able to work effectively.”
The truth is that assignments are not always aligned to today’s workplace experience. This is because modern businesses evolve a lot quicker and are difficult to keep pace with, especially from an educational standpoint.
“I feel Aliter is a great place to learn, and getting more interns in would be a good idea. Since I was the lone intern, Ash had to put up with my questions a lot of the time. If there was another intern, we could’ve collaborated and not given Ash too many problems! Also, we could learn more by doing it ourselves.”
What are your thoughts about Ash Krishna?
Ash Krishna is someone who has been invaluable to Aliter and it would be interesting to hear from someone who’s new and has spent almost all their time here with him.
“Right from the start, Ash wanted me to feel comfortable at Aliter. Even though I report to Ash, to him, we were colleagues first. He is down-to-Earth, approachable on any issue, and did a great job at showing me what Aliter was like.”
How long have you been interning at Aliter and did it match your expectations?
“I started here in the middle of February and it’s a 3-month long internship which ends next week. And about expectations, to be honest, it didn’t but that’s a good thing. Again, unlike my earlier internships, Aliter’s role for me was a lot more hands-on. It wasn’t something that was the regular clock in and clock out kind of job – it was engaging and even hard on some days! And now that I’m nearly done with my internship, I can tell you that interning at Aliter is something that a lot of other students would love to experience.”
We want people interning here to get the full Aliter experience. Whether it is building a Death Star with unwanted IT components or drafting a proposal for a client, we open the doors to collaboration at all levels.
HOBBIES AND INTERESTS
What are your hobbies and activities you do for fun?
“Well, I don’t think I’m a very adventurous person and don’t get around to many things that people in my age group do. And with this pandemic, it has been even more boring with social distancing stranding us in our houses. I rarely go out with my friends and I don’t drink or smoke. But before everything shut down, I used to kickbox competitively. And that’s one important reason why I’m careful about what I do with my body.”
This was an interesting fact to learn about Mustafa – someone as unassuming as him being into contact sports. But we’re no strangers to intriguing pastimes. The people at Aliter have a diverse range of hobbies from competitive sports to creative side projects and everything in between. That said, let’s find out a bit more about Mustafa’s challenging pursuits outside of work hours.
Does choosing a competitive sport help people with the corporate side of life?
“I think it does help people cope with the stresses of modern life. Combative sports and fitness is a tough lifestyle to follow, especially with a regular 9-5 job. And when it comes down to challenging yourself, the most important part of the process is discipline. Discipline helps you overcome challenges and without it, you aren’t getting anywhere. I think that resilience and the desire to conquer challenges carries forward in whatever you do in life. And lastly, fighting really puts other problems into perspective for me – daily challenges become a lot easier to deal with.”
With the pandemic around, he might not have fought in as many matches as he would’ve liked. But he’s still good enough to get to Pro which speaks volumes of his tenacity and grit. You can take a look at Mustafa in action on this video here.
Competitive sports are helpful at building discipline and alleviating stress. And, like he said, it is a tough lifestyle to follow but it prepares you for the challenges ahead.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Are there useful takeaways from your experience at Aliter?
“Definitely. The way I see it, everyone is talking about conserving the environment and it’s definitely right up there as far as global issues are concerned. Even at my school, sustainability is prioritized almost as much as results. So, in a way, Aliter’s a step ahead of the rest of the pack when it comes to being a business that cares about its environment.”
Aliter is always looking to a more inclusive future when it comes to people. We celebrate our differences and unite in our goal for a more sustainable tomorrow. We open our doors to like-minded people who want to intern at our company or work with us. Feel free to get in touch with us about job openings on our career page. If you don’t find an opportunity, do check back at a later date because we keep it updated on a regular basis.
It is no secret that Aliter is pushing the narrative on purpose-driven business models which are more in touch with sustainability. This is why we strive to build more conversations around circular IT. It helps minimize wastage and improves margins for your business.