Ola – From Internship and Thesis Collaboration to Full-time Employee
Have you heard of a corporate fairytale? Meet Ola Swiatkowska, who originates from Poland but has been studying in Denmark for several years. She went from internship and thesis collaboration to full-time employee at Savings United, which enabled her to discover what her real interests were.
Get to know Ola Swiatkowska, who went from an internship and thesis collaboration to full-time employee. Ola is currently working in the Netherlands at Snowflake, as a talent sourcer. Prior to that, Ola was an intern at Savings United, the company which she also made a thesis collaboration with, and who hired her, subsequently. Quite a corporate fairytale.
I got to do a video call with Ola back in November 2020, talking about her professional and academic career. Also, we might slightly have touched upon how tired we both were of video-calls during this pandemic… Nevertheless, in this situation it was obviously the only way to go since Ola currently lives in The Netherlands.
Additionally, we also talked a lot about her time at Savings United. The work place that got her, her first full-time position as a Digital Project Manager. Stay tuned to hear her full story from internship and thesis collaboration to full-time employee. Although the process was challenging for Ola at times, it brought a great benefit for her at the end.
Name: Ola Swiatkowska
Position: Talent Sourcer at Snowflake
2014: Academy Profession Degree in Tourism Management at University College of Northern Denmark (UCN)
2018: Bachelor’s Degree in International Sales and Marketing at University College of Northern Denmark (UCN).
Ola is originally from Poland but has been moving from one country to another in order to study or work, as the true explorer she is.
She has currently the UK, Spain, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands on her list. The last mentioned is where she is currently living. I wonder where she will go next? Before moving to The Netherlands, Ola studied in Denmark at The University College of Northern Denmark. She holds both an academy profession degree in Tourism Management and a bachelor’s degree in International Sales and Marketing.
Describing herself, Ola states that she is a problem solver and is driven by anything that helps her to work and communicate more efficiently.
Today, after graduation and several years of work experience, Ola found a passion for meeting new people. Learning about their stories and helping them to find their dream job. The very reason why she is a recruiter today. However, it was not the starting point of her career, furthermore not where she expected to be today if you had asked her a few years ago.
But let’s go back to when Ola studied on her bachelor’s back in 2018…
The Almighty Internship
Just before Ola started on her very last semester of her bachelor’s, Ola was looking for an internship. A paid one. As many internships in Denmark are unpaid and challenging to find, she was looking for something abroad. As a result, she found Savings United, a German company, which ensures coupons for media companies. More specifically, Savings United works closely with media companies in order to create coupon platforms for them. In that way, shoppers can find the best deals for their online shopping.
Savings United did not only offer Ola an internship within digital marketing, but also an opportunity for thesis collaboration. Therefore, she wrote her bachelor thesis while being an intern:
“I began my internship in July and ended it in December, and in the meantime, I wrote my bachelor thesis. Before I started my internship, Savings United told me that I didn’t need to prepare anything in advance and that they’d teach me everything and help me with my thesis. It was everything I needed to hear.”
Talking about multitasking to a whole new level…
The Big B
As an intern, Ola was working in a team focusing on the Polish market. Coming originally from Poland, she brought some well-thought contributions and experiences to the table.
However, working on her bachelor thesis, she made a go-to marketing plan for Savings United to enter the Czech market. Having a boyfriend from the Czech Republic and a good friend from Slovakia contributed to a lot of help with the data gathering, and the intercultural differences to consider on the new market. Hence, it was possible for her to create a comprehensive analysis of the Czech market.
Also, she conducted interviews and surveys within Savings United, which she could use for her thesis as well. Besides, the company provided Ola with needed materials from the accounting office, so she was able to assess their growth. It was a tough challenge working both as an intern and writing a bachelor thesis at the same time. In retrospect, Ola wished she had more time for writing her thesis.
“Although I enjoyed collaborating with Savings United on my bachelor thesis, they also had certain expectations of me, delivering results at a fast pace. Ideally, it would have been a nicer experience for me if I had more time to work on my bachelor thesis. Nevertheless, they trusted me because they got to know me through the internship. They were very helpful and that was really great.”
Nonetheless, Ola managed to write a good bachelor thesis but it was also a great motivation factor for her that Savings United offered her to stay full-time after finishing the internship. Undoubtedly, that gave her some drive and energy in the challenging bachelor process.
… and that’s how Ola went from internship and thesis collaboration to full-time employee.
The Home Run
It should be mentioned that Savings United treated Ola as a regular employee almost from the very beginning of the internship. That was preferable, since she quite fast became in charge of significant work tasks. Ola also got essential insights into how the company operates that by-turn immensely helped her during the full-time position:
What she particularly enjoyed at Savings United was the prevalent start-up culture. It was not a rigid workplace, meaning that the company was always open to new ideas.
The company was rather dynamic in its way of operating. Creativity was highly appreciated, as well as failures because that was how the company acquired knowledge and grew.
When Ola started as a full-time employee, she switched from working in the Polish team to the global team. Her work tasks altered a bit as well. When starting as an intern, Ola wanted to explore digital marketing since she practically only studied old and traditional schools of marketing on her program.
However, as a digital project manager, she managed different projects in the company, which was something she was prepared for due to her studies. She collaborated with various companies on projects during her time as a student, which was definitely beneficial for her in that position.
She also selected the teams that were going to work together on projects, which was something that really caught her attention.
Savings United in Retrospect
Ola worked at Savings United for 2 years. During her time at the company, she discovered that she was a lot more people-oriented than first expected. The digital marketing part required too much of her sitting in front of a computer, not interacting with people. So, when her boyfriend got into a Dutch university, she moved with him to the Netherlands.
“Savings United offered me a position where I could work remotely from the Netherlands. However, that also meant that I’d have less contact with people and not much involvement in growing the international teams. I’d strongly miss that – which is why I decided to switch and work in the recruitment’s sphere.”
As a result, she searched for other opportunities and explored her interest in recruitment. The first job Ola applied for in the Netherlands at LevelUp Ventures, turned into a hire. Very lucky. After spending a year’s time at LevelUp Ventures, Ola changed direction and got another job at Snowflake. She’s still working there today, happy with how her professional career has developed.
Ola went from internship and thesis collaboration to full-time employee at Savings United. Because of that, Ola had the opportunity to challenge her competencies and interests. She got practical experience and responsibilities, which opened a new world for her. Not the least, Ola found out what her real passion and interests were. Something we, at Excelerate, are working hard for other university students to achieve as well.
Currently, Ola has a huge interest in employer branding, which gives her the best of both worlds. It enables her to work both in a digital and people-oriented sphere at the same time. Hurray!