Live your life as if it were a second chance

You are a successful alumnus of the Zagreb School of Economics and Management. What prompted you to choose ZSEM? What knowledge and skills have you gained during your studies that have given you an edge over colleagues from other institutions in the job market?

For me, choosing an undergraduate degree from the Zagreb School of Economics and Management was really easy because of the combination of top lecturers, an exceptionally high quality study program and a wide variety of additional activities. Most lecturers have experience in the industry and are very affordable. I gained the most advantages in the labor market because of international competitions, internships at Adidas Global Headquarters and exchange at the prestigious ESB Business School in Germany. ZSEM’s international recognition and accreditation opened the door for me to continue my education at the best business schools in the world.

What would you advise our students to do for a successful career? Is there a particular aspect of study and work that you should concentrate on if you want to find your dream job easily?

I would definitely advise all students to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the International Office and Career Center, such as student exchanges, internships, company presentations and competitions. ZSEM provides access to prestigious business schools at no extra charge (although their tuition fees are many times more expensive). With international experience you can perfect your English, make friends from all over the world and have a great time.

Did you find a job easily after graduation? What challenges did you face in the job market?

After graduation, I was looking for a job that provides opportunities for professional and personal development, facilitates an international environment, and encourages working in smaller teams. There is currently a “war on young talent” on the market that has helped me find a job easily. Although most of my colleagues went to work abroad, I decided to return to Croatia because of the opportunities McKinsey offers – the ideal combination of traveling and working in an international environment from Zagreb. In three years, I have progressed from an entry-level position to a department head position. Going forward and achieving personal excellence has allowed me to get feedback from the cultures and top-notch training I have attended all over the world.

Today, you work as a Senior Analyst and Head of New Client Development at McKinsey. What do you consider to be your biggest strengths for the position?

I am a person of entrepreneurial spirit who likes to find answers to difficult questions and work in an international environment. In my opinion, McKinsey greatly appreciates high commitment to work, a healthy dose of ambition, resilience to stress and asking the right questions.

What kind of candidates does your company look for? Do you think ZSEM would do well in this kind of work? Why?

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm. Look for candidates who are great at solving challenges, have an entrepreneurial spirit, want to be leaders, and can develop creative solutions to challenging problems. The company offers an interesting and exciting job in an international environment with daily learning from colleagues and mentors who are experts in their fields. Opportunities for growth and development in the company are limitless given that each person can shape their careers according to their own experience, skills and desires. The career development approach is “Make Your Own McKinsey”. I think the best ZSEM students would excel at McKinsey with good preparation for the demanding selection process.

What are your recommendations and tips for current ZSEM students?

I would like to convey the message that Salman Khan (Khan Academy) gave to MIT graduates in 2012. Imagine yourself in 50 years. Then from those 70’s look back on your life. You will think of all the great times with your family and friends. Then you will look at your mistakes. You will wish you laughed more, loved more, danced more, traveled more… You will wish that you used your talents better. What if you could go back in time? What would you do differently? Now you have the opportunity to do it all over again! From today, you can be the source of positivity you have wanted all along. Live your life as if it were your second chance!

Interlocutor: Ilija Obradović