This week we meet Iva Cvjeticanin, alumna from the master’s programme in Economic Growth and Spatial Dynamics, class of 2013, sharing her daily life as a Design Hub coordinator at Tetra Pak in the city of Gornji Milanovac, Serbia and as an international alumni leader.
Q: You graduated with a Master’s degree in Economic Growth, Innovation and Spatial Dynamics, class of 2013. Can you tell us a bit more about what you’re working with today?
I am very happy to share my story with other alumni and students! After graduation in 2013 I came back to Serbia and found a job in Tetra Pak in my hometown. When living in Lund I passed by Tetra Pak so many times. My new employment made me so excited because I knew that in this way I am staying attached to Sweden and to Lund. I work in a department called Design Hub Europe and Central Asia. We do technical preparation of designs to be printed in our factories around the world. My role is Design Hub Coordinator and, as I like to say it, I do everything except the designs. As an economist by formal education, I deal with various reports on productivity, cost, daily and monthly realization of job volumes. I also take part in big projects that are implemented globally and support implementation of certain methodologies in our daily work. On my to-do list are also organization of soft skills training for my colleagues and yearly team building activities.
Q: What does your typical work day look like?
I can’t say that there are typical work days for my role. However, it depends on the period of the month. I am usually busiest in the beginning of the month and in the end of the year when I am dealing with all kinds of reports for previous months or quarters.
So, let me tell you a bit my day looks like in the beginning of the month (written with the assumption that during the day there were no interruptions – which is highly unlikely). My official work day starts at 8am and ends at 4pm. I usually come a bit earlier to make coffee with my colleagues, prepare everything, and then we are all ready at 8am to start working. Unless I have a very urgent task, I start my day with reading e-mails and setting priorities for that day. At 9am we have a regular morning meeting where we analyze the performance of the previous day and discuss hot topics. Then, until lunch I have an undisrupted time that I use for data collections from different sources and platforms. Around noon, together with my colleagues, I go for a lunch where we try not to talk about work topics. We try to use this time to relax, tell funny stories and vacation adventures etc. When I’m back in the office I usually have (at least) one more meeting regarding an ongoing project and before I go home I use the data I obtained to start creating the reports.
Q: Has your Lund University education been beneficial in your work? In what ways?
I would say that my education together with living in Sweden was an invaluable experience that helped me in many ways in my further career and I, would dare to say, my everyday life. First, education at Lund University helped me develop critical thinking. Now, I have a habit of questioning conventional thinking as well as questioning “doing things a certain way because we’ve been always doing them like that”. That is not good enough and calls for a change. In addition, the independent research we were conducting enabled me to manage a great number of different data in a limited time and make good analysis of it. Also, Lund University encouraged brainstorming and group problem solving sessions, which is a very useful skill when you work in a big team.
Also, living in an international environment makes you very open, tolerant and understanding to other cultures and any kind of diversities. This is especially important when working in an international company and cooperating with people from many different countries.
Q: You recently visited Stockholm for the Swedish Institute Alumni Leaders Meeting with alumni who have studied in Sweden, from all around the world. We are keen to hear about your experiences; what are your top 3 takeaways from the meeting?
Yes, I have attended the Swedish Institute Alumni Leaders Meeting and I am very grateful to the Swedish Institute for giving me this opportunity! I was representing Swedish Alumni Network Western Balkans (SANWB) which is a regional network for alumni from Balkan area. The organization was flawless and we fully enjoyed a very fruitful few days! Let me summarize my experience in 3 important points.
First, it was so inspiring to meet the alumni from all over the world! We were around 26 alumni from 24 different countries. During the days we spent together we shared experiences, brainstormed, made future plans and helped each other out with advice. It was a great feeling to see that no matter how different we seem from the outside, we have many things in common. We are all devoted to our alumni networks and we are trying to keep the Swedish spirit alive in our own countries (e.g. the majority of networks organize Kanelbullens dag in their countries in October). We all came back from Sweden with tremendous amount of memories and now we are making efforts to share all good things and habits we learned in Sweden.
Second, we had an opportunity to meet students and attend the diploma ceremony at the City Hall. It was very exciting to see all these students proud of themselves for finishing such an important chapter of their lives. They came to talk to us, asking numerous questions of what they can expect next, how does a life after Sweden look like, how to fit in the life of their home countries, how to live without “fika”… For us, it was like a travel in a time capsule. We were all remembering the time when we were in their shoes – happy, confused and optimistic about the future.
Third, I had to point out this lucky occasion, and I guess everybody who lived in Sweden will understand – the amazing weather we had in Stockholm! I landed on 27 degrees at 8pm in Stockholm and there are not enough words to express my happiness. ? During our stay we had an abundance of sunshine and I believe we all fell in love in Stockholm (again).
Q: If you could plan an ultimate vacation, where would you go?
There are many places on my travel bucket list, but if it were an ultimate vacation you would probably find me trekking through Latin America. ?