Tereza Drimalova

Course studied: BSc Business Management with Marketing

Graduating year: 2016

What was your time at university like?

I really enjoyed all my studies at the Business School (formerly Cass) which were of exceptional quality but also just getting to know people from so many different countries, cultures, backgrounds or religions is something that I highly valued about my time at the university. I find it so eye opening and it just changes your view forever. Throughout my career,

I have built on those experiences various expansion projects and I believe, I am just able to better put myself in the shoes of others which is a crucial skill for a marketer. I also appreciated how practically oriented the courses were – for instance all the case studies or project that we’ve worked on.

What was the most memorable part of your university experience?

If I have to choose only one moment, then it would be the pre-university course which started 2 weeks before the first year and from which I have most of my best friends from the university. All truly inspiring people. We kept in touch throughout the entire bachelor’s studies as individuals but also as a group and up till this day, I am in touch with a lot them.

University is not only about studies, experience but also about the social aspects and about making friends, friends that maybe one day you can cooperate with again in your job.

What has your career journey been like since graduating?

Ooh, sorry, it will be quite a long story.

I had the advantage of working throughout my entire studies in the field which I specialize in – business and marketing. I was working for LIFETECH, a Czech family business that designs and produces devices for ecological water and air purification that my father started years ago and which now exports to all over the world. It was definitely tough to combine both work and university and I had to sometimes skip on doing some of the things my peers would do, get up earlier, go to sleep later or work during the weekend, but it was so worth it! I would definitely recommend this to everyone as you can also apply the frameworks or theories that you are studying about to what you are working on and you see a broader picture or remember it much better. For me it was a win-win for the financial aspect which was necessary for me and the experience.

During my time at the university, I also did 2 summer internships back in my home country, in the Czech Republic for 3 or 4 months – one in Havas Worldwide, global advertising and communications agency, in the Public Relations department and then as a Business Analyst in EY. In the Czech Republic internships are unfortunately still not very common and none of these companies did offer any standard internships but I just looked at the companies in the fields I wanted to try / learn more about, chose the ones which were the closest to my heart for some reasons, found a relevant email contacts for the directors and wrote and email explaining why I love their company, what I have to offer and why I could be interesting for them as well. I basically co-created both of these opportunities for myself.

I am the kind of person that if I decide to achieve something, I might come trough the window, if I see the doors are locked. When I came to Havas, I had no idea what public relations were, what it was all about and I worked there completely for free. I have to say that it ended up being one of the best paid jobs I’ve had to date and it was because in these 3 months I was able to get my hands on or see so much from public relations (PR) that I build on till this day and I made a “free” PR campaign for the company I co-founded with which I got to various newspapers, magazines but also to the most viewed Czech online TV. Last but not least, my PR experience was one of the requirements for my current job and I don’t know if I would get it otherwise.

Once I finished the university, I was still in LIFETECH but I also started my own business with my father. It was all about AquaQube which was a home water purification device that was able to ecologically remove bacteria, viruses, chlorine, pesticides or even hormones from drinking water. We completely designed the electric device, got initial pre-orders from the market as well as a lot of support but to cut the story short, at the end we weren’t able to find an investor into the business. And as we needed to produce a large amount of pieces to be cost efficient, we weren’t able to start the mass production on our own and after some time we stopped the project. By the way, we were able to get a patent for the technology of the device which was a huge success.

Even though, AquaQube did not end as we hoped for, I still consider it a success as I and other team members learnt so much throughout the project that we used in our future work, we were so grateful to get such great customer support and I am actually so proud that our team was able to design such a useful and easy to use device. I hope that one day I will be able to make something that makes so much sense to me and to the society again.

During the time in AquaQube I also studied part time Master’s degree in Business Finance and Accounting on a Czech University which I finished and part time Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering which I studied to understand better all the different materials or be able to read drawings for the design process in AquaQube. I have stopped the Mechanical Engineering studies in the second year but to be honest I never meant to stay until graduation.

After AquaQube, I started my current job which is a Business Development, Marketing and Communications Manager in Clifford Chance, a global law firm.

What is your current job role and what does a typical day look like?

I live and work in Prague, the Czech Republic. As my job title suggests, I am in charge of all the areas in my job title: business development, marketing and communications and from the Prague office we cover not only the Czech Republic but also Slovakia. After 3 months from joining the firm, I started coordinating the CEE region. The areas my team and I cover are extremely wide – from pitches and proposals to clients requesting our services to events of any kind, marketing materials, press releases and statements or even internal communication or setting up local processes around a CRM system.

Because of so many areas, there hardly is a typical day or week. The wide variety is actually something I need and I couldn’t have it any other way. I will try to answer in general terms at least. As a manager in a global company, I have a quite a lot of calls and meetings every week. It varies between a few hours per week to like 4 or 5 hours every day in one week.

It is anything from global calls for each specialist area where we discuss global updates, share our challenges or discuss case studies and best practices to regional calls or local meetings which can really be about anything – from strategic to really operational topics. I would say that my position and department are really unique in the sense that in most offices, we would have different managers and teams specializing in just some of the areas I mentioned. But as I said, that is actually something I really enjoy.

Not directly connected to my current job but in September I should also officially become a mentor for the first time. I will be mentoring a more junior female marketer as part of a local non-profit initiative called “Girls in marketing” that I decided to volunteer in.

Last but not least, from time to time I would also externally advise on business, management or marketing topics.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I love working with people (which in this department, I think I should :D) and I find especially rewarding when people whether it is colleagues, superiors or subordinates, find out from experience that they can trust you enough to come to you for ideas or with ideas that you then jointly improve. I believe that is the way to create best results.

How did your university experience and degree help you to secure your job/jobs?

I find the experience gained at the Business School and at Instituto de Empresa in Madrid which I had a replacement year at, extremely beneficial for practice, to know how to think about things or gain more technical skills. I would definitely do it again without any doubt. When I was looking for internships or a job in the Czech Republic my education was definitely something that did stand out as I did the entire university abroad which is definitely not that common as well as at such a well-ranked university. I would say that having this education in my CV did definitely help me to secure more interviews. Once at the interview, it would then be about my skills and experience, part of which is definitely an influence of the Business School. I also had the opportunity to discuss my CV or try an assessment centre while being at City University which made me better prepared for the interview process.

I now also work in a company where I use English every single day and in a lot of areas, I use primarily English. Studying at the Business School in English I am not only even more confident in the language but also, I know the technical terms in marketing, business or accounting which was very useful during the interview process and afterwards.

Most importantly, being at the Business School I found out about the possibilities of doing summer internships which I haven’t really known about being from the Czech Republic and as I explained these summer internships did play a huge role in my career.

What advice would you give students who are thinking of studying here?

Visit one of the open days or just schedule a visit and see if you like the atmosphere, the professors and if you do, then go for it. The best advice ever (I think) is to get practice while you are still studying and remember even if you end up working for free for a few months, it might end up being one of your highest paying jobs ever.

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

My family.

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