1. Introduce yourself in 3-5 sentences in as much detail as possible.
I’m a student of EBS and a marketer at heart, but I’m not afraid to try my hand in different areas. I’ve graduated from the music school in piano and at the moment I’m learning to play the saxophone. My favourite sport is tennis, even though it took me 10 years before getting to it, having played volleyball, basketball, badminton and even doing show dance before it. I love to give 100% of myself and be passionate and involved in what I’m doing, otherwise, it’s just a waste of time. Unless I’m busy concentrating on something, which makes me look a bit more serious, the majority of the time you can see me laughing and telling jokes.
2. Tell us three facts about you that people won’t be able to guess when they first meet you.
- I am 22 years old. It’s not necessarily related to my looks, but I often act and talk in a way that makes people think I’m in my late 20s or even older.
- People often perceive me as more tough and serious but underneath that hard shell is a true softy who would love to help everyone around me and prefers being loved rather than feared. In reality, not a day goes by that I’m not thinking about different charity projects or helping someone. On the morning of my 22nd birthday, I opened my eyes at 7 am, looked at the ceiling and my first thought was: “Enough is enough! Those projects I have in mind might be a long time coming before becoming a reality. What can I do TODAY to help?” So I opened up my laptop and ended up on a site called Love to Help, where besides donating money, you can also donate your time as an IT-specialist, marketer or in any other way for different non-profit organizations.
- I don’t have mediocrity in me, as fortunate or unfortunate as that it. I either give a 100% or nothing at all. It can be fatal sometimes but then again may not. It’s more damning when I start multiple things at the same time, giving a 100% to them and when half of these things aren’t even done for myself, but to help someone else. It’s a good thing when I am seriously doing something for myself, though.
3. You are starting to graduate from EBS. What has been your favourite thing about studying at EBS? What’s the most valuable lesson that you take with you?
I have answered that question before, not in the context of being a soon-to-be graduate, but in the context of why I’m in EBS in the first place. Why pay if you can go to university for free? Before, I just answered that I don’t want to be part of the mass, but it’s not quite like that. I studied microeconomics at TalTech for one semester. Yeah, the class was a lot bigger than the one at EBS and the room was filled with brilliantly smart people and it made me scared to feel that I’m at my final semester, whilst they are all freshmen.
The school was huge and I knew there was a slim chance of anyone knowing me anyway, so I could just slip under the radar, but after two weeks, I was already known to my professor. They knew that I can translate the necessary materials to Estonian and a week after that I had to perform in front of the whole auditorium – that’s where I ditched my shy, invisible self. It all depends on the person though. If you want to stand out, then keep your eyes open and listen more than you talk, you’ll feel when it’s the right moment to start something.
Talking about what EBS has given me, I’d have to say… everything. Classroom smarts, experience as a volunteer and as an employee. There are countless opportunities to do things, more so than anywhere else. In EBS, it just doesn’t happen that when I go to the study department or any other place to talk about my ideas and my problem’s wouldn’t be faced. In other schools, I’ve heard a lot of outcries that they don’t have that luxury. If I come up with an idea today, then tomorrow we are already discussing and negotiating it and the day after that it’s already been set in motion.
Definitely one of the things that makes the wheels turn is money, but believe me, it’s an entrepreneurial environment – there’s just no other way here. EBS wouldn’t have its international reputation if people would produce mediocre work. Looking back, another thing that makes me grateful is that in my bachelor’s curriculum, I had the opportunity to get acquainted with almost all of the different subjects that arise in a company. I’ve always been raised to believe that you are more professional if, besides your own area of expertise, you also know more about other cultures and disciplines. EBS gives you a great base for it all. If you’re interested, there’s always a possibility to take on further studies at EBS or another university.
4. At the start of your studies, you were also active in the Student Council. Why did you decide to join and what did you learn from that experience?
In EBS, I was active for two years, but only one year as part of the Student Council. I had an idea when trying out for the school. I had just finished my high school which put a lot of attention on communication and with my fresh ideas and little knowledge, I wondered if EBS already had a school newspaper. If so, I wanted to join and provide value to it, which is why the Student Council seemed like the right place to take my ideas. I found out that the school newspaper hadn’t been around for years and that it was also one of the main demands to the Student Council that besides parties and entertaining students, there should be something more valuable. That was my chance and in a way, a small dream of mine.
5. Can you talk about the start of Ebster? What were the biggest challenges and victories?
When I first heard there’s no school paper and that it had previously existed on paper, I knew that something had to be done. It needs to be in an electronic form. Everything that has gone overlooked at EBS needs to be made visible and the best way to do that would be to use an online platform. The other goal was to make the paper sustainable. I even got scolded a bit by a former student who, upon hearing the paper will be resurrected wanted to join the editorial team, that it wasn’t the old school paper, but something new. Apparently, the new system would never work and no one would read it. It was actually a necessary discussion to have because soon after it I knew I was going in the right direction and that it’s much more sustainable online than on paper.
Ebster’s name was chosen during a brainstorm meeting with the Student Council. We got through a lot of different and funny name options and I’m not sure if that’s the official version now, but in the beginning, we chose The Ebster. Now it seems it goes by just Ebster, which is a lot more reasonable. The concept came from the team who conducted research about the topics that were discussed in the paper in the old days. We took inspiration and tried to revive some of the content.
Immediately before the completion of the paper, the Student Council had dinner with rector professor Arno Almann, who sat next to me and touched upon the subject of the school paper. I had no idea how important the paper was for the school until the dinner was nearing its end Mr. Almann stood up and said: “Don’t publish the paper before you’ve organized an opening ceremony or party for it.” I didn’t quite understand what kind of a ceremony or party it should be, it’s not like it was that big of a deal and when asking for clarification I got the reply: “Well, maybe a cutting of the ribbon or something along those lines.” I’ll never forget that moment and our inside joke that it seems more appropriate to cut the cable, not a ribbon.
Since the day of the launch kept changing and pushed forward a lot, then we really had only a week to organize everything. Catering had to be booked a few days in advance through mutual connections. It was a hassle, but all’s well that ends well. We managed to get everything done, I made a small speech and so did the rector and we launched the paper by showing it on a big screen on the wall in front of everyone.
Fun fact is that I managed to lure in a teammate from Scotland, who is Estonian but doesn’t study in Estonia, named Kärt Mättikas. I knew that no publication can list without an editor, especially since it’s in two languages. Kärt seemed like the right choice and I’m happy to see that after all these years she is still a part of Ebster’s editorial team, regardless of me having left it.
6. What are you up to know professionally?
Most of my family members are involved in the sales industry, which is why I didn’t fall far from the tree. I’ve been involved in sales, but the majority of my experience is in communication and marketing and that’s where my heart lies.
At the moment I work in marketing but as of the new year, I will try to collaborate with marketers by stepping into sales, which has always been the opposite for me. In the beginning, it will be difficult to re-adjust, as my thoughts and ideas run along the lines of marketing more. Still, there’s a reason for everything – I might need that experience to be even better at marketing.
A fun fact about my current position is that I work at Infovara where I was just responsible for changing the branding and with it, renewing the website and blog. The project manager of the brand that was founded 10 years ago, happened to be the current pro-rector of EBS – Mr. Toomas Danneberg. In a lot of ways, knowing that made me try even harder – this wasn’t just my project anymore, but in a number of ways, also a continuation and bettering the work of a fellow Ebster.
7. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
In 5 years I will be independent, having founded at least one organization that deals with bettering and solving a societal issue and for sure I would want to have received recognition in marketing. The next 5 years ideally also entail an MA degree.
In 10 years… oh god, I’ll be 32 by then and by that time it’s likely time to shift the focus on becoming a mother. Knowing myself, it will probably not be ideal to stay in one place, but I do see it as a natural part of life and with discipline and setting your priorities straight, anything’s possible. Maybe I’ll realize a new dream at that time and whilst raising a child, I believe it’s doable. I dream of being a lecturer or a mentor someday.
8. If you’d go to sleep tonight and would wake up with a new skill, then what would it be and why?
There are so many. It would be beneficial in work life if I could learn different programs in a faster manner. But the learning process has its own magic. You know… I think I wouldn’t want to learn a skill that way. Where’s the fun in that? I wouldn’t be proud of that skill, I wouldn’t be happy or if I would be, then only momentarily. I enjoy the learning process, that makes it interesting. Otherwise, everyone would do it.
9. If you’d have a time machine and you could travel whatever time in past or future, then where would you go and why?
Something bothers me in how it used to be. I am pretty old-school person but I don’t like to talk much about how things used to be before. Therefore I wouldn’t go to the past. And there is no rush in going to the future either, I am already moving there on daily basis and when speeding up that process, the good things would end sooner.
10. Your favourite quote and why this one?
I don’t have a specific favourite because it changes with time and with mood but there is one sentence I see every morning when I open my eyes and what has had a positive impact:
“Do more of what makes you happy”
Translater: Kertu Serikov
Photo: Vanessa Y. B. Roosmets