The Alumni Network Blog

The latest from the Alumni Network at Lund University

“I started my master’s in 2010 and was supposed to graduate in 2012. But, like many of my cohort, things didn’t quite go to plan.”

Hi Sveta! You graduated from Lund University with an MSc in Global Studies in 2014, what have you been up to since graduation?
I started my master’s in 2010 and was supposed to graduate in 2012. But, like many of my cohort, things didn’t quite go to plan. So instead of graduating then, I took some time off from studies to work, hoping I’d get a better idea of what I wanted to do for a career once I graduated. I moved to Chicago for a role developing international programmes at a local college and that turned out to be the best decision I could have made career-wise. I then returned to Europe, wrote and defended my dissertation, and finally graduated in June 2014. While in Chicago, I got excited about a career in academia.

In June 2014, I moved to London to pursue a career as a higher education professional. My first role was at Regent’s University London, a small private university, which I loved, before finally arriving at what I thought would be my ‘final destination’ – I landed an international role at the London School of Economics and Political Science. For the following 3+ years, I managed international alumni engagement for the School, travelling the world on work assignments and meeting countless interesting people and notable alumni of the LSE.

In 2018, I was ready for a new challenge, so went into the private sector, taking up a marketing role at EY, where I spent another 3 years. Before long I needed another challenge so, when I was offered the chance to lead the global alumni programme at Clifford Chance, I jumped at the opportunity. It has been a fascinating journey transitioning from academia to professional services, they are similar in many ways but also with their quirks.

Outside of work, I’ve been in constant explorer mode in London, a city which continues to amaze me even though it’s been my home for over eight years. I also travel a lot – all my vacation days have been abroad (except for lockdowns!).

Today you work as Global Marketing Manager at Clifford Chance in London, can you tell us about your normal workday?
‘Normal’ is a word that has a different meaning today than it had a few years ago. Our working setup is a hybrid one, where we spend time in the office alongside working from home with a high degree of flexibility, all depending on the projects at hand. As Clifford Chance is a global law firm, I lead global programmes, working closely with senior stakeholders in our 30 offices around the world. It’s a varied role in which I spend many hours each day in calls and meetings with colleagues and lawyers to develop engagement strategies for a range of global audiences: staff, clients, alumni, and potential recruits. I also spend a lot of time researching and strategizing new programme developments, as well as sourcing and creating original content to engage, inspire and influence the firm’s audiences.

Women in front of computer

How have your studies at Lund University influenced your life?
The time I spent during my master’s degree, both in class and outside of it, facilitated building the global life I had been dreaming of since I was a kid growing up in a village in Moldova. I spent the second year of my degree as a visiting scholar at Tec de Monterrey in Mexico City, a wonderful and fascinating experience which changed my worldview and my life trajectory in many ways. The most memorable moments from those years are the ones I spent with my friends. Some I met on my programme but even more outside of it: volunteering with the student union, mentoring incoming exchange students, living and partying in the “korridors”. I still keep in touch with many dear friends from Lund, though we’re all dispersed around the world.

During the pandemic you founded Wovid Diaries, a platform to inspire and empower women during the challenging times of Covid 19. What was your biggest take-away from this project?
I got to work with an amazingly impressive group of women and I really enjoyed getting to know them and building Wovid Diaries together over 2020 and 2021. We were based in different parts of the world and I’d only met one of the core team members before, so building this project from scratch as a fully remote team showed me how with the right team and motivation, you can achieve something great. I also gained a renewed sense of confidence, which has helped me personally and professionally.

You have been working in London since 2014, do you have any favourite spots in this big city that you would like to share with us? And, what’s your advice for someone who is relocating to London from abroad?
I love London and have so many favourite spots all over the city. As I’ve lived most of the time in north London, most of my spots are firmly based north of the river (Londoners will understand). I love long walks around the canals in Angel and Camden, as well as going to Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill for panoramic views of the city. My favourite places for food, drinks and partying are in Angel, Camden Town and Covent Garden. I also love Holland Park (west) and walking along the Thames river at Southbank. This walk along the Southbank with views of the London skyline reminds me a bit of the Chicago Riverwalk, which is one of my all-time favourite places in the world.
For advice about moving to London, I recommend reading my article about being a Londoner, a summary of key lessons I learned in my 8+ years here.

Women standing by river

If you could do anything in the world as your career, what would you do?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut but in 5th grade, I realized I had no math skills and dropped that idea. In high school, I listened to a lot of the BBC World Service programmes so I thought being a war correspondent would be a great job, one that would mix my interests in history, geography, international affairs, and speaking many foreign languages, and, meant I could travel the world. After my first experience living and working in San Francisco in 2008, I realized that I wanted to keep travelling the world so whatever was going to facilitate that globetrotting lifestyle was my goal.

The reason I chose the Global Studies programme at Lund was that I was hoping it would help me pursue an international organization career. Like many of my classmates, I was aiming for the UN and similar organizations because my interests and skills would be a great fit in complex international settings. Alternatively, location scouting would be a great gig – I would love to travel to remote, little-known places to explore the wonders of our planet. Explorer mode on, adventure-seeking and always on the move – it would fit my personality perfectly.