Victorien Loma Lono is a native of Cameroon graduated from Samara State Aerospace University (now Samara University). Now he lives in Canada, where he found a job in the leading companies of the world aircraft industry without any problems, at first he worked at "Bombardier Aerospace", now at "Airbus". According to Victorien, studying in Samara helped him to make such a successful career. He is still grateful to his teachers and maintains friendly and professional relations with alma mater.
Samara instead of St. Petersburg
— Where and how did your trip to Samara begin?
— I was born in a small town in Cameroon, my father worked there in a woodworking company. After high school graduation I studied at the Lyceum. Then I moved to the east of the country to enter the institute and to study electrical engineering. And therefrom I came to Russia – there was a programme in our university under which students received a scholarship and went to study in your country. At first I got to Tver, where I studied Russian, and then I had a choice either to go to St. Petersburg or to Samara. And since I wanted to work in aviation, eventually I chose Samara. That is how I turned out here. I entered the Faculty of Air Transport Engineers and graduated from the university in 2008. I studied Tu-154M and An-2 aircrafts, Mi-8 helicopter, participated in a joint project to create a regional airline.
— How did you cope with the study?
— I was an excellent student! Over the entire training period, I passed only four exams (and was very nervous every time). Grades in other subjects were received "automatically" (without taking an exam) on the basis of the learning outcomes. There was even such a story: the teacher gave us a task, I solved it, but with a different result. I checked it several times – everything was correct. I went to the teacher, we discussed it and ... found a mistake in his materials! So at the beginning of the next lesson he said: "All of you were solving the task, but only Victorien found a mistake, that is why he receives his exam grade "automatically!"
— Did you go to Canada right after graduation?
— No, at first I tried to get a job in my specialty here. But, as a citizen of Cameroon, I could not work as an engineer in Russia, since here all aviation enterprises are "high-security" ones. Although I tried, I collected a lot of documents, but I did not achieve anything. As a result, I returned to my homeland, met my family, and then brought the same documents to the Embassy of Canada in 2010. After that I immediately received an invitation. I was issued a residence permit for five years right at the airport of Montreal.
Big plus in the resume
— And why did you choose Canada, but not any other country in Europe?
— I considered the option in France, I thought to get settled in Toulouse. But I don’t like the situation in the country – different conflicts frequently occur there. In addition, I decided that I should go to the country where there is a large concentration of aircraft factories. There is only one place of this kind in the world – Montreal. There are at least 250 companies that deal only with aviation and cover all areas of this industry. During the first month I worked at a company that specializes in manufacturing parts for the Boeing 787. Then I moved to "Bombardier Aerospace", where I joined the Learjet 85 aircraft project. But then our project was acquired by "Airbus". As a result, our entire team moved there. And now I am the Head of the Aircraft Quality Department at "Airbus Canada".
— Was it difficult to get a job at "Bombardier Aerospace", which is one of the largest aircraft manufacturers, almost immediately?
— At the interview I said: "I studied in a foreign country, lived there for eight years, learnt Russian. This means that all the other applicants who were educated here are below my level, and they are not competitors to me. If you don’t hire me, you’ll lose a great engineer". Two days later they informed me that I was accepted, although they had promised to call back in three weeks.
— And what makes the training of specialists in Canada different from how you were taught in Samara?
— We had a lot of practical classes. We were thoroughly studying airplanes, all material part, details. Every year we worked at the aerodrome. In Montreal there is no such practice. They teach how to do calculations, they are only engaged in theory. So my practical knowledge has become a big plus in the resume.
During out interview at "Airbus", we were asked questions about our work experience. One applicant said that he had been designing airplanes for 10 years, the other one – 30 years. I said I hadn’t not designed planes even for a day, I had just been building them for six years, I know every detail. I think that's why they entrusted me with the management of the department.
I am well versed in airplanes. And the professional knowledge that can be applied in practice was given to me in Samara.
— What brought you to Samara today?
— In Montreal we are currently working on one important project that we started in "Bombardier". "Airbus" has ventures worldwide. Workers, engineers speak different languages. No matter how well they speak English, there will always be a language barrier that impedes understanding. Therefore, we are developing such methods of creating drawings and technical documentation that would be understandable to people in any division of the company, wherever it is situated. At Samara University there is good groundwork on this issue. I want not only to use it, but also to defend the international PhD degree on this topic here.
— Do you often recall Samara?
— Sure! I look at my wife Tatyana at home and recall. I often correspond with my friends and teachers. Sometimes I come to visit them, or they come to me. And now I am staying at the house of my friends.
By the way, in Canada, in our company, there are many Russians – pilots, specialists. For example, the chief engineer is from Russia. I can call him at any time, and he will always help. If I see a Russian name in the list of new employees, I immediately go to get acquainted. We will always find common topics for conversation.