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Alumni Stories: Karol Głogowiecki

Alumni Stories: Karol Głogowiecki

“With advances in digitization, more and more technical skills are needed to operate systems across a variety of industries. It can be said that if you don’t take an interested in the IT industry, sooner or later the IT industry will take an interest in you. (...)”

Name : Karol Głogowiecki

Place of residence: Barcelona, ​​Spain

Job position: Project manager at a consulting company

Field of study: Cultural Studies, specialization: American studies

 

  • What is the best memory from your time at the Jagiellonian University?

I was very lucky with my classmates. They were fascinated with the subject of studies, which meant that discussions started during classes often went on during breaks. We also spent time together after class, because it was simply a group of really awesome people. I have very good memories of St. Patrick’s Day or the Election Night of 2012 when we divided into camps supporting either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

 

  • How did your career start? What were the turning points?

In my time in college, I was very active in a student organization and I also worked in tourism. In the 5th year of college, I started my first full-time job for an international corporation in the payroll department. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to take advantage of my last vacation as a student and make my dreams come true by going to Yellowstone National Park as a part of a ‘Work & Travel’ programme. During this trip I had a lot of amazing moments and met great people.

When I returned from the USA, I was persuaded by a friend to apply for the international Global Trainee program at ABB Company. Though I had no qualifications or experience for an IT job, the company gave me a chance due to my international trips and activities in a student organization. As part of the Global Trainee programme, I worked on a project in Switzerland for 6 months, and also had the opportunity to travel to the United States again and work for a year as a project manager at their Atlanta branch.

 

Zdjęcie przedstawia absolwenta na tle jeziora.

Photo from the graduate's own collection

  • How did your education contribute to your career development?

I believe that my studies allowed me to grow not only in terms of my professional field, but – perhaps most importantly – in terms of personality. Of course, knowledge about the United States helped me fit in better when travelling to America and get to know Americans. Also the classes I took on cultural studies allowed me to understand how societies function and become more culturally aware. This is very important, working in an international environment.

The Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora is staffed by wonderful lecturers with vast knowledge and an ability to provide a very interesting learning experience. What stuck in my memory was the seminar with professor Radosław Rybkowski. In one of the classes, he thoroughly analyzed a paper I wrote based on a book I’d  brought from the USA. The theses presented in it, as it later turned out, were quite controversial. The professor allowed me to understand that you always have to be critical of the sources you use. This is especially important now in the era of overwhelming “fake news".

Zdjęcie przedstawia absolwenta na tle natury.

Photo from the graduate's own collection

  • Tell us about your current job. What do you do?

I work for a consulting company as a project manager. I am currently in charge of a team for a leading company in the optical industry. We work on projects related to Salesforce, a system for sales and customer relations management. We also support online marketing campaigns and website development for European and Middle Eastern companies. This is why most of the work is done remotely and I work on a daily basis with people based in various places around the world.

 

  • What are your biggest challenges now?

I moved to Spain almost a year ago. Living in a new country brings a lot of challenges, but for me the biggest one is definitely learning Spanish. I try to apply as much as I can everything I’ve learned in the language school and talk as much as possible. I started practically from scratch, but I can use the language reasonably well in everyday situations.

The IT industry is very dynamic. Though I don’t work in a strictly technical position, I am also trying to develop technological competencies on an ongoing basis.

 

  • What are life and work like in Barcelona?

I work in an international environment, so the culture in the organization is certainly different from Spanish culture. This has its advantages, because at work I have contact with people from virtually all parts of the world, which means I am learning not only about Spanish culture. In the office, besides the Spaniards, we have people from Italy, India, the United States, Latin America, Great Britain, Israel and many other countries.

I think that Barcelona and Catalonia are great places to live. Beautiful weather, lots of sun, and above all closeness of the mountains and the sea make this region unique. In one day we can go on a mountain trail and relax on the beach. 

Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city, a meeting point for many cultures. As a result, people are very open, we can also find restaurants with authentic cuisine from many parts of the world. Virtually every weekend, the people in Barcelona find a different reason to celebrate and every now and then there are some festivals and outdoor concerts.

Zdjęcie przedstawia absolwenta w Barcelonie.

Photo from the graduate's own collection

  • What is your definition of success?

I believe that the greatest success is a personal sense of happiness and sustainable development in all areas of life - good relationships with family and friends, health, satisfaction with professional life, developing your passions, acquiring knowledge and skills in various areas.

 

  • What advice / tips do you have for students entering the job market?

Even for students of humanities, I would recommend considering the IT industry as a potential career path. With advances in digitization, more and more technical skills are needed to operate systems across a variety of industries. It can be said that if you don’t take an interested in the IT industry, sooner or later the IT industry will take an interest in you.

I also recommend getting familiar with the recruitment process. Going to interviews, improving your CV, learning about the mechanisms that govern recruitment. We may have relevant experience and skills for a given position, but be rejected due to a sloppy CV or a bad impression made during a job interview.

Above all, openness to constant change and investing in the development of interdisciplinary skills. Soft skills and communication, as well as language learning are crucial. To quote the famous investor Warren Buffett, “The best investment you can make is to invest in yourself.” Money and work can be lost at any time, but with a store of accumulated knowledge and skills we will have no problem getting them back.

 

  • How do you imagine the Jagiellonian University’s cooperation with its graduates? 

The Jagiellonian University has many outstanding graduates working in various industries practically all over the world. This is a huge potential that can be used by creating mentoring programmes, alumni networks, as well as providing opportunities to pass on practical knowledge to students through guest lectures and training.

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