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Alumni Stories: Agnieszka Miśkowicz

Alumni Stories: Agnieszka Miśkowicz

"(...) Success for me is to complete a project that is not trivial. A project that involves an intellectual challenge is not easy to implement requires arrangements with various stakeholders, ethics, honest work, flexibility and seeking for solutions."

Name and surname: Agnieszka Miśkowicz

Place od residence: Cracow, Poland

Job position: Human Resources Director

Field of study: Psychology


How do you remember your time at the Jagiellonian University? Do you have any special memories?

I have lovely memories of my graduation. Leaving Collegium Novum with grade A on the diploma and a sense of honest work and good results, and the enduring feeling, which I really like, of freedom mixed with curiosity about what will happen next.

In my memories, I go back to the lectures with Reverend Tischner. These were open lectures. Many people from outside the University also came. I remember sitting, more than once during a lecture on the floor squeezed in between the other people. You can't forget the Reverend's logical conciseness in the message. He explained complicated philosophical theories very simply, without unnecessary words. In addition, he threw in-jokes, sometimes in Highlander dialect, and had enormous fun doing this. The memory of these moments will always stay with me.

How did your career start?

During my studies, and especially towards the end of my studies, I did a lot of internships. At Collegium Medicum, at the Department of Psychiatry, at the Department of Neurosis Therapy, or at the Institute of Forensic Research, as well as, for example, in the parliamentary office of Jan Maria Rokita. In this way, I also found out what my job might look like, how I feel about it and whether it would be a good place for me. After all these internships, I decided that I needed something else - a job that would give me dynamism, one that, at least to some extent, I can make a difference in. That's why I moved away from clinical studies and entered the world of business.

My first permanent job was in a headhunting company, but later I was looking for jobs in the company HR departments. Being involved in the manufacturing sector was a deliberate decision. I was interested in companies where something material is created. Moreover, I knew that there I would experience diversity, I would have to adapt not only methods and tools of communication, but also specific solutions in human resources management to different groups of employees.

Did your education at the Jagiellonian University help you in your career?

Definitely yes, but later I also trained in human resources management in business workshops at home and abroad. I am also a certified coach. But I would say that university education, in general, provides a very good background for dealing with various issues. My studies gave me a solid foundation in analytical and synthetic thinking, an understanding of social and emotional mechanisms, extremely useful in recognizing and resolving interpersonal conflicts. So, first of all, university instilled in me what I would call meta-skills. Later on, I could build on these foundations.

During my studies, I also learned a few things that now serve me as part of the HR manager's toolbox, e.g. methods of candidate selection in the recruitment process to check whether a given person has the right qualities to do a given type of work, the ability to detect the potential for a managerial role or how to build a training program. However, in my opinion, the overall set of basic skills of an HR person is created not so much "in the classroom", but "at the coal face."

Agnieszka Miśkowicz

Source: private archive of the graduate

What is your job like today?

At the moment, I work as an HR director in a branch of one of the international corporations, which is a leader in furniture manufacturing. I manage a team of specialists, leaders and coordinators. I am responsible for shaping and implementing the personnel strategy, including in the areas of employee recruitment, training and talent management programmes with a strong emphasis on the development of leadership competencies, employer brand management, salary management and trade union relations. What's important, I also manage interesting projects in the field of organizational culture development where we build an open work environment based on cooperation, trust, equality and dialogue.

What are your most important challenges today?

Now, in the period of an epidemic, or rather a transition back to normal life, a big challenge was and still is to change how we manage change, work planning for teams, how we handle job skills and their training in a wildly changing reality. I have a feeling that no plans are working out in the long term now, so you have to be extremely flexible, go back, correct plans or assumptions, but also respond on an ongoing basis.

What is your definition of success?

Success for me is to complete a project that is not trivial. A project that involves an intellectual challenge is not easy to implement requires arrangements with various stakeholders, ethics, honest work, flexibility and seeking for solutions.

What advice / guidance do you have for students who are entering the job market?

I would recommend that everyone be innovative and open to development. I would recommend, despite these wildly changing conditions, which may rattle our sense of stability, to have courage in defining and presenting our own individual approach, for example, to a career. At the same time, I would also recommend some humility (not to be confused with low self-esteem). I have noticed that young people are looking for authority figures. Perhaps because of the multitude of possibilities that the world offers, it is easy to get confused and difficult to rely on something and make choices. Humility and work seem to be current values all the time, but bearing in mind the nature of our times, I would also name flexibility as an apparently indispensable feature. Perhaps even psychologists find it hard to define flexibility. This is a complex trait that has to do with emotions. Ideally, we should be able to move from one state to another, from one project to another without regret. Flexibility should allow us to quickly adapt to the new situation, and that is what we really need now.

What, in your opinion, could relations between universities and graduates be like? What can graduates expect from the Alma Mater?

It would be interesting to create a platform for exchanging contacts, knowledge and experience. I would point out that such a synergy may provide new opportunities that we are not able to predict at the moment. This could be, for example, an opportunity to engage in valuable joint projects or ventures, but also to do research. This model of the network, which is already a reality for university graduates worldwide, should also be embraced in Poland.

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