What was your dream job as a child, and what is your dream job now?
As a child, I dreamt of being a journalist. I took some courses in high school and watched every TV series and movie possible concerning any area of journalism. During my Bachelor’s, I wrote for the University magazine and took many classes in the field, which were extremely interesting. Then I did an internship at Marie Claire Magazine that showed me how different the reality is from the glorified version I had imagined, and that in some cases, 90% of the job is ‘dressing up’ the press releases you receive. The narrative was always coming from a brand or company – not a journalist. I realised that to be the one to tell the story you need to flip sides, and my dream job became brand management: which is what I am doing now! That doesn’t mean that all journalism is like that, of course, and I think that at some point I would still be very excited to return to writing.
How did you get your first job?
While I was studying, I was trying to get exposed to as many companies as possible, since it is quite hard to find a job for international students who can’t work more than 20 hours a week. I managed to get a few social media management gigs for different businesses in Amsterdam, and started freelancing in marketing & brand communications.
What is your current position, and what do you do?
At the moment, I am working as a Global Brand Marketing Specialist at KARL LAGERFELD. My dream job, really! Depending on the project, I get to drive it from the very beginning, starting with the first idea, to involving all the different departments, making sure that we are all aligned on the communication, producing the required creative assets, and how it will be rolled out to the public.
I also work on the creative productions for market launches. When a collection is ready, it is up to our department to create a story around it: we conceptualise, shoot and present it in a way that would make the product as desirable and wonderful as the designers intended. There are many incredible brand projects that we are working on daily that activate the brand and definitely make a lasting impression. Those special projects can be years in the making, or only have a 6-week turn-around from when someone calls the first meeting until it is being sold and introduced to the customers. That is the most exciting part: you see it coming to life and touch each part of its creation.
What do you like most about your job?
The diversity of our projects, the possibility to see a project from the very first ideation session to seeing it go live and brought to our customers. I have the loveliest colleagues, too. Everyone on the team is a professional, which helps the growing and learning part, and there’s truly strong support when we need to meet a challenge and come together to face a project head-on.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
There are so many things happening simultaneously and most projects I am working on are going to be rolled out in 6 to 9 months, so when the product actually launches it is easy to forget all the work that was put into it. Thus, it’s important to take a moment and congratulate yourself on how amazing it all turned out, and I think taking this step back is what sometimes takes an extra push.
What did you learn from working and studying in different countries?
There is nothing more important than being exposed to different perspectives, opinions; you can always learn from anyone you meet. Chances are, the knowledge you can gain from someone coming from a completely different background or culture, will be more valuable than something you could learn in your nearest surroundings. No matter how open-minded and curious you are (which is already wonderful!), if you stay in the same place, the scope of your outlook will not expand nearly as much as it would if you experience things first-hand. So talk to people whose life is absolutely different from yours and, literally, expand your horizons. I’d also add a cheesy but true note, that it helps anyone see that people are always people, with the same problems, aches and desire for happiness, no matter where they are or what they do.
How do you apply the knowledge and skills you gained during your studies to your job?
People skills are the most important skills. It’s something you work on every day for the rest of your life, but the way that they develop while you’re studying – exposure to new people in every class – is a huge step forward. Another thing is that, of course, all communication and marketing-related knowledge is quite applicable to all I do, and the research skills you gain while studying truly contribute to your working life.
What career advice would you give students and fellow alumni?
The classic ‘go out there and experience things’! Do whatever you think you might like, because if it turns out you don’t, that’s even more important to know than what could be perfect for you. The more things you see, do and reflect on, the richer your academic, professional and personal life would be. The sooner you start trying different career paths and thinking what would you want to do day in and day out, the better the chances are of you being happy with where your life takes you.
We would like to thank Anastasia for her insights and taking the time to answer our questions!
If you have any further questions for Anastasia, please reach out to her on LinkedIn.
We hope this month’s alumnus was an inspiration. What kind of Economics and Business career would you like to know more about? Let us know and we will try to arrange an interview with alumni who have experience in that field for a future instalment of Alumni in the Spotlight!