Advanced Analytics and Reporting Analyst Sophie Loch gives us the inside track on what it’s like to be on IAG Cargo’s graduate scheme, landing a commercial role and testing her skills in data before transitioning into the analytics team. She tells us why there’s never been a more exciting time to work in cargo
What’s your career trajectory been like so far at IAG Cargo?
I joined in 2017 on the graduate scheme where we cycled through six-month long rotations in different departments. I started in the Project Management Office, moved through to Commercial and worked in Business Management on our key accounts, before moving into Operations. I moved into a permanent role in Business Management and took on a manager role for two years until this June when I took on my current role within our Data and Analytics team working with the Commercial Team on their data requirements.
How would you describe IAG Cargo as an employer?
It’s great because you’re working for a company that has a huge impact, but you do get to work within a structure that’s relatively tight knit, and over the course of my time and while in the scheme, I had a great opportunity to build an understanding of the business and how all of the different parts fit together. I built a strong network of colleagues right across the business, which is probably more difficult in a larger organisation, but you don’t lose any of that scale because IAG Cargo is such an important part of the IAG group. Through the grad scheme and subsequently, I’ve had the chance to get involved in activities that might not sit specifically with my role at the time, so there are always new things to do and learn and potentially grow your network.
What kind of investment in your development have you had whilst working at IAG Cargo?
Because of the size of the organisation, it feels like the work that you do has an impact. It was daunting at the time, but as a grad you are given a lot of responsibility early on – for instance I was a duty manager when in Operations, meaning I was the senior point of escalation for the entire operation when I was on shift. I’d been in the business just a year, but you’re being given opportunities to step up and take on roles that give you the license to make decisions that matter. Since coming out of the graduate scheme I’ve taken the lead on quite impactful projects, working with senior leadership, which, for someone at my stage of career when you’re trying to build your profile and skills, has been invaluable.
How does IAG Cargo’s position in the global market impact the work you do?
It’s been particularly interesting over the last year seeing cargo continue to fly while passengers have been grounded. Whatever is happening in the news around the world has an impact on our industry, and we make decisions based on that information, whether it’s a trade war or a pandemic, for example. Our business is on the front line of everyday life, which I find incredibly exciting.
What opportunities have you had to learn and expand your knowledge base here?
In my previous role I led a project delivering a new application within Salesforce, working on agile product management, working with new people and on a quite technical feature. It was challenging because I went in completely new but in that time I picked up a huge amount of experience and skill, as well as developing relationships with people in the business that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Over the last year, I’ve picked up a lot of work in centralised reporting, working with data specific to what was happening with Covid, which is not something I would have had exposure to if we had to rigidly stick o our job descriptions. It gave me a feel for reporting and data that I didn’t have before, and piqued my interest to go for the role that I’m now in.
What advice would you give to prospective applicants and graduates looking at IAG Cargo?
Expect the unexpected! We’re so intrinsically linked with what’s going on in the world, you can’t predict what’s going to happen, so if you’re comfortable with consistent change and you’re happy to jump into different challenges this is the right place for you.