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It’s About the Journey: Starting as an Intern with EVC Recovery Coordinator, Al Mohamed

Across different years, locations, divisions, and teams, a whole host of our employees have experienced starting their careers on one of our Intern, Apprentice, and Graduate Programs (part of Emerging Talent & Careers at EG). We’ve taken some time to explore some of these amazing and interesting career journeys, to find out what the Expedians have experienced since the programs, and what they’ve learned along the way.

Al Mohamed is an EVC (Expedia Virtual Cards) Recovery Coordinator in the Springfield, Missouri, office working in Financial Operations. He started as an Expedia Group (EG) Intern and is now a full-time employee. Read about Al’s reflections on the culture of his team and experience at EG so far, below.

Tell us about your current team and role

I work in the Financial Operations team as an EVC Coordinator, and I currently focus on virtual card disputes, which means that I communicate with hotel partners when there’s issues and I am their main point of contact. We do this work in the Springfield office, globally, so that’s pretty fun!

Tell us about your career journey at Expedia Group so far, since you started in 2019

In college, I only had work experience relating to basketball, and I had just worked in sports up until that point. However, I was applying to opportunities in the travel sector, as well as technology companies, I knew I wanted to go in this direction. I studied economics at college, so I felt my career prospects were pretty broad, in terms of where I could go with it.

I actually applied for an EG Internship in the Denver, Colorado, office, and they let me know there was an office in Springfield. Even though I had lived in Springfield the whole time I’ve been in the USA, after moving here, I didn’t know EG had a presence in the city. When I first joined, I was in a team called EVC Disputes, and I was one of the Interns working with a system named MARS, which would match transactions instead of manually having to do it. The Internship lasted for 6 months, and fortunately I was able to stay on in a contract role until the end of that year while at college. I finished my degree, and then completed two more contractor roles within Financial Operations at EG. Although this came with the risk of not being a permanent, full-time, employee, I liked the flexibility of being in a role for 6 months. I am now a full-time, permanent, employee. Ever since joining as an Intern, I just always liked the Financial Operations team, and was pleased to stay in the team, I was especially drawn by the opportunity to continue working with virtual cards.

What has been the highlight of your career so far at EG? 

Aside from becoming a full-time employee, and all the benefits that come with that, the highlight for me has been the opportunity to “test and learn” in the role and team I work in. My team is specifically trying to combine both virtual card disputes as well as invoice collections for our properties and our partners. So that has been the highlight because it has encouraged me to apply everything I’ve learned at EG over the last 4 years and force myself to prepare for something that has not been done before. I’ve also really valued being given great opportunities, and responsibilities, by our leadership, even when I was a contractor, it felt great being trusted. Additionally, I’d have to say the people I’ve met and become friends with has for sure been a highlight – there’s people who I met as an Intern, and then people since then who I’m still connected with, now.

What advice would you share with an Intern or Graduate starting at EG? 

I’m a perfectionist so I tend to get overwhelmed and overwhelm myself more than anything. The way EG works, it’s so big and moves so fast, that after 4 years my team and my department has changed a couple of times since I began, such as its name and its processes, for example. It took some getting used to but I often find it helps to think about the overall aims of the company, which includes connecting people with experiences, places, travel, and with each other. I think being able to put your work in perspective allows you to keep up with the pace, and the values we have are pretty amazing. So that’s my biggest advice, realizing how the work you do supports the bigger picture. I also think it’s unique at EG in the way you’re empowered to be fearless, and to make mistakes. It sounds a little cliché but in reality with our work and how fast Expedia Group grows and develops, it’s very important. This helps with managing expectations, and with having a good attitude, both of which I think are important.

What do you enjoy the most about working at EG? 

I’d have to say the people, where I’m from in Springfield isn’t so diverse, however, at Expedia Group, the Springfield office is very diverse, there’s people with all kinds of backgrounds. Some people have moved here from other offices and it’s cool to hear the differences in their experiences, and myself as well being able to compare and contrast with their experiences with EG. I also really like when we have outings, getting to know people better. Although you work with people every day at the desk, sometimes you have different conversations away from the office. And of course, one of the greatest parts about working here is the benefits we have for travel, including hotel discounts, and travel reimbursement.

How has the Intern program helped you in your career or professional development? 

I joined as one of the first Interns in Springfield, so it was fairly new on both sides. But the experience I got from it helped me tremendously, helping to build my career experience . That alone helps open up doors. I think the skills that I learned were how to problem solve, and learning how to use initiative, which was great. It was a great way to develop, my manager would give me a task with an element of having to figure out some of the action points for myself. At college, and during school, you have your professors and teachers who you can ask questions. Sometimes in a role, especially when you’re new, you could have a moment where you need to ask a question, but the colleagues you need are in a call, or you’re speaking with a client and you need to make a judgement call on the spot. I think that being allowed to figure out your own problems sometimes can be the best way to learn and develop. Just being told that its okay, you can make that decision and you don’t have to ask permission I think allows you to become more self-sufficient in you career and I think that I first learned this skill during the internship. The Intern Program also exposed me to lots of new experiences and responsibilities, I had the chance to shadow different departments, and different roles, which was very useful as I started my career journey.

How have you found a sense of belonging at Expedia Group? 

I think I’ve been able to build strong bonds with my team members and I’ve found many like-minded people at EG. There isn’t the element of “I have to do better than this person” especially in the finance world it tends to be a little cutthroat at times but I think the way we do things is just very focused and we think about our wellbeing, which is important. It also helps, for example, if you’re starting your first role after college to find new friends at your workplace, and also feel comfortable with those around you, to be able to ask questions, and not feel afraid to do so. You’d be surprised how many people would want to ask that exact same question in a meeting and there’s been plenty of times when we’ve been in a meeting and someone asks a question and everyone starts laughing, saying they were thinking that too but just didn’t want to say it. I think just being comfortable in your own skin has been the biggest thing. For me, put simply, this is the company I want to work for, these are the people I want to work with. 

What makes the Springfield office unique?

I really like the Springfield office! Interestingly, it actually used to be the Springfield Airport Terminal Building. So we have an incredible view of the runways from the office. It’s funny because I vividly remember flying into this exact terminal where I arrived when we immigrated to the U.S.A. when I was a child. We see all kinds of planes, I am quite a airline nerd so it’s a nice treat for me, also next door to us is the private terminal so we see quite a few private jets. We even have a sign at the entry that is like the old departure boards and the windows looking out to the new terminal have distances to different cities.

The office recently had a renovation, and is more modern, now. There’s a great atmosphere, with regular activities, including we recently had NFL content on the main screen in our lunch room, with it being Super Bowl week.

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Expedia Group | Careers