Tina Ereš: What are some of the things, keywords or memories that first come to your mind when you think of your time at ZSEM?
Marija Vlasic: When I reminisce about my time spent at ZSEM, the first associations that come to mind are lasting friendships, practical knowledge, and motivating opportunities. To elaborate – ZSEM is a college that offers each individual the chance to better themselves professionally in many different fields. Once you step in, you can choose to become an active part of a community of students, professors, and alumni who care about moving forward in this globalized world. ZSEM is where your career really starts.
T.E.: After your undergraduate studies at ZSEM you went on to pursue a master’s degree in Fashion Business at IFA Paris. How valuable was the basis ZSEM provided you with for your professional success in Paris?
Marija Vlasic: During one of my internships I was honored to receive a compliment from the CEO of the company that I was working in. He said something along the lines that “Croatians are proactive and practical”, and all I could think of at that moment was ZSEM. Throughout the years I’ve heard many employers say that seeing our school in a CV is a sort of synonym for a fast learner and multifunctional employee. During my MBA at IFA Paris, I saw that the experiences and insight I carried from my business studies were competitive to those of other students from top universities worldwide. I always believed this to be true during college, but challenged in real-life situations was when it became clear.
T.E.: You moved to Croatia when you were 12 years old. Did growing up in the United States influence you in terms of your personality, your world view, work ethic, etc. and if yes, how?
Marija Vlasic: Growing up in the US definitely influenced my personality. Americans are very open, passionate and persistent in whatever they set their mind to – hard workers indeed. It’s my parents who I thank for insisting on implementing this work ethic elsewhere, too. I’ve learned that no matter what you’re doing, it’s important to be proud of your work, but never to be completely satisfied until you’ve done the job right. This work ethic also encourages me to always go further and challenge the status quo, which is why I now take this chance to say – I am open to new business opportunities and collaborations!