#WeAreSymphony

My Symphony Story: Zein Badaro

By
Zein Badaro
Product Marketing and Operations
Rakuten Symphony
March 25, 2022
5
minute read
Zein Badaro, product marketing and operations for Rakuten Symphony, shares her journey from History of Art major in the UK to telco innovator in Tokyo, explaining how landing in a work environment that values diversity and openness helped her build a career in tech.

Every work environment is unique, filled with a collection of people from various cultural backgrounds with vastly different experiences. Rakuten Symphony is the epitome of a diverse workplace. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to find myself working in Tokyo along side industry pioneers and newcomers to telco alike.

My journey to Tokyo

Before joining Rakuten Symphony, I fell into the latter group. Originally from Jordan, I completed my university degree in the UK before moving halfway across the world to start my career at Rakuten. To say it was a big change would be an understatement. I graduated with a History of Art degree, and jumped head first into the world of telecommunications.

Zein Badaro, Product Marketing and Operations

When I joined in January 2019, the company was in the early stages of setting up the mobile network. I started with the international roaming team, and initially worked in roaming operations. Basically, I was in a new country where I didn’t know the language and was working in an industry I knew close to nothing about. As you can imagine, the first few months were extremely challenging, but I persisted. I was working with an incredibly talented team from all around the world, some of whom had been in the industry since before I was born.

“Not only was I learning about the industry and learning about Japanese culture, I was also working alongside people from all corners of the world, learning about their respective cultures and their experiences.“

I seized every opportunity to learn, spending time in our data centers and speaking to network engineers. I also travelled to Barcelona and took part in MWC, the biggest annual event for the telecom industry. Multiple discussions with my manager and team members helped me understand how the business works. Eventually, I gathered enough knowledge regarding the business to know where my talents would be best suited.

A chance to broaden horizons

The next few years were a whirlwind. We launched the network, COVID-19 hit, people left and more people joined. I moved around between teams, traversing different areas of the business and ultimately started working in product marketing and product management under Rakuten Symphony’s Intelligent Operations’ IT Apps section.

 “If you’re looking to learn, grow and prosper, Rakuten Symphony is the place for you. It has been such an enriching experience thus far and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

The people and the company culture is what excites me most about my work here. When I first started I constantly questioned myself: what am I doing here? It was challenging to look at the bigger picture and trying to imagine a career trajectory in an industry I didn’t know much about before starting work at Rakuten. However, the more I learned and the more people I spoke to, the more I came to realize that this was the best place to be.

Not only was I learning about the industry, and learning about Japanese culture, I was also working alongside people from all corners of the world, learning about their respective cultures and their experiences in the industry. These past three years have broadened my horizons immeasurably, and they have opened so many future doors.

What makes Rakuten Symphony special?

What makes the company so special, in my opinion, is that it has successfully cultivated a culture of transparency. During our weekly all company ‘Asakai’ meetings, Rakuten executives regularly share company updates, always keeping its employees in the loop. The open desk policy enables us to work closely with people across all managerial levels. I sit just two desks away from my manager, who is always more than happy to answer any questions I have, whether they’re about the industry, my career or my daily tasks. Additionally, every time I am assigned a task, my manager clearly states what the task is for and where it’s going to be used; I always know what the bigger picture is. I also receive constant feedback from my manager and my teammates. This constructive communication has been invaluable, fostering an environment that makes me grin as I walk into office every day.

If you’re looking to learn, grow and prosper, Rakuten Symphony is the place for you. It has been such an enriching experience thus far and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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