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SEPTEMBER 2021: PEOPLE OF HICO – SAMIRA ALIČIĆ, MARKETING ASSOCIATE

Publication date: 13 September 2021

So… she does a lot of volunteering at NGOs. Enjoys taking care of plants in her free time. Loves cats! Plus, she’s a wizard in our Marketing department who’s about to move 1,000 kilometers away for her Master studies. Everyone, meet Samira Alicic, our brilliant intern slash working student from Bosnia.

Could you tell us a bit more about Samira, the person? Where are you from? Where do you live? What interests you, all that? 

Of course! Well, I am 22 years old. I live in a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina called Živinice. However, due to my studies, I spent the last three years living in Sarajevo. 

I recently completed my Bachelor’s studies in International Relations and European Studies at the International Burch University. In less than a month, I will be starting my Master’s at the Paris Lodron University in Salzburg, so I will be much closer to the HICO office! 

As far as interests go, I have plenty! The biggest ones on the list, I think, are youth work and volunteering. I also love to read and take care of plants and flowers. And cats, of course!

Meowza! Sounds like you keep a busy schedule, even outside of work. Has it always been like this?

I think so. Even back as a high school student in med school, I would volunteer at NGOs and organize various conferences, courses, and seminars that helped people. I was also a big fan of the IRES department. Not to lie, I could definitely see myself as a diplomat at one point, which was a big reason why I enrolled my university studies in this field. 

Oh, plot twist! I also traveled to Lithuania as an exchange student for a semester. That is when I started volunteering in the marketing department of AIESEC. Later, I became the Local Committee President in AIESEC Bosnia as well as the PR for the organization. I guess I just love to stay busy! 🙂

Wow, sure sounds like it! As someone who is currently amid their university studies, can you describe your journey to joining HICO-Group? What led you to choose to work here?

Well, seeing that I had so much volunteering, NGO, and leadership experience, I thought it might land me a good first job somewhere. Unfortunately, in my country, volunteering is not considered a relevant experience. This is when I started to apply for entry-level positions and internships online to get some relevant, professional experience. In most cases, I either didn’t get the position or didn’t get an answer at all! 

This was my ‘reality check’, as previously when applying to conferences, seminars, or positions in NGOs, I would get all those positions without a problem. 

Then one day, a post by our amazing Creative Director Jasmin popped up in my Linkedin feed. They were looking for an intern in marketing and I just thought it was the perfect opportunity for me as a student. It was a part-time role, it was remote, I would get to work with real professionals and learn from them! After a few weeks and a short round of virtual calls, I received the good news from Jasmin that I was accepted for the role. And I am still here!

So, what has been your favorite thing about HICO so far?

The people of HICO, really! Since day one of my internship, I was always treated as an equal to everyone in the company. Conducting interviews with colleagues was truly an amazing experience for me, as I had the opportunity to meet and greet everyone and talk to them. In each of these conversations, I felt very welcomed and at ease.

The working atmosphere is great, and the diversity of tasks makes every day interesting. Before any task, I get the guidelines and deadlines, and after the tasks, I get feedback for my work, which helps me improve myself day by day. 

Can you describe your typical workday? From early in the morning to whenever you complete? We’re interested in the deets (details)! 🙂

As an early bird, I usually wake up early in the morning, around 5:30. I feel the most productive then. Then I scour some social media and blogs to see whether there are any new interesting articles from our partner companies to read and share. After that, it depends from task to task; I either spend a few more hours knocking the tasks on my to-do list.

I also spend a few hours every day researching and reading about the best way to develop digital strategies, or how to improve my graphic design skills and similar. Nowadays, it is not that hard to find an answer to any topic, really. I mostly find great content for learning on YouTube as well as in the Deep Stash app.

Samira Alicic HICO Group Marketing 2

How much does work time at HICO translate into learning time? In other words, are you learning lots of new things in the realm of Marketing?

During this internship, I had to face tasks that I would not be able to do without previous learning and proper guidelines. Luckily, working with Jasmin made all the challenging tasks look so easy to do! I learned a lot from him and this internship, and each task that I did so far has either taught me something or helped me improve my skills and develop new ones. 

Speaking of learning, is there anything you’ve recently been shown or trained how to do that you think will be extremely valuable to you in the future?

Recently I learned about WordPress and SEO, which are highly valuable and in-demand skills, especially in marketing.

Any particular colleague you’d like to give kudos to?

I would love to give kudos to Jasmin, our Creative Director! I really enjoy working with him and learning something new every time. He is always ready to show me the right way of how to do certain things and guide me to complete my tasks correctly. I am truly happy and grateful for having the opportunity to work with him during my internship.

What would you say is the greatest challenge in your line of work? For example, is it challenging to balance work time vs. study time?

For sure! As a student, I had quite the workload these past few months. I had to write lots of articles, research papers, and have recently worked on publishing a book with my professors. There were days where I would sleep 2-3 hours a day. 

All in all, I’d say these challenging moments actually gave me space for growth and improved my time management in the long term.

Could you give us a specific example of a “job well done” in your line of work? For example, HR might consider launching an ad about a new job opening that brings in quality resumes to their inbox a success. How about you?

There were moments during this internship that made me really proud. One example of this was when I saw that my work with SEO helped to boost our website’s search rankings. It meant that all my intensive research and typing had paid off. I also love seeing some of the interviews I worked on get published. I consider that as my “job well done”.

So, after several months of working at HICO, how would you rate Samira of Day 1 to the Samira of today? Do you remember anything from the early days that was super challenging and new that nowadays feels like “just another thing to do”? 🙂

I can definitely see my self-improvement. I have learned a lot and have gotten out of my comfort zone. During the pandemic, my social skills went a bit rusty and I remember how freaked out I was before my first People of HICO interview with a colleague. I had to mentally prepare for the conversation with a completely new person! Nowadays, I don’t need nearly as much prep. Communication has become easier in all aspects of my work.

Would you say internships like yours are a great way for students to gain “work experience before work experience”? In your honest opinion, is there anything you’d change to make it even better? We’re so open to suggestions!

I think for most students, internships are their first ‘work’ experience. However, more importantly, internships are about learning what it is like to work in a corporation, how to organize their time better, how to approach certain matters, improve professional communication and develop and improve their skills. 

Good feedback and communication by the company is a pillar of successful internships. It boosts the learning process and improves the overall work atmosphere and performance.

The main thing that many corporations do wrong, no matter how big their name is, is the initial communication with students that apply for the position of an intern or an entry-level job. Something that bothered me in my search for an internship was the lack of communication by most companies. In 80% of cases, I didn’t get an answer of any kind to my application.

HICO is a completely different story. From the beginning of my application process, the communication was quite engaging and I had the sense that they really care about me as a candidate and a prospective intern. Even if I had not gotten the position, I would still have a positive opinion of the company due to this way of communication. 

Thank you!

Aaand… time for some Rapid Fire Questions! Please try to make your responses to the following questions short and to the point.

Okay, pick one. Books or movies?

Books.

Coffee or cappuccino?

Coffee!

Marvel or DC?

Marvel, of course!

Android or iPhone?

Android, for the better features! 

Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grow up as a kid?

I wanted to be a teacher, or a doctor, to help people in any way. Look how the tables have turned! 😀 

Who inspires you?

My parents. Truly, they have done so much to enable proper education for my sister and me. They were so committed to making us succeed and always gave the best of themselves to help us. To never give up – that is the main lesson I’ve learned from them. 

In the professional sense, one of my greatest inspirations is Ms. Jacinda Andern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand. She has done so many great things during her term.

Your favorite thing to do in your free time is…

I like spending time with my cats and getting flowers for myself or my friends. It really makes my day to see someone smile! 

Tell us the top 3 items on your bucket list.

1 – Go hitchhiking all over Europe and meet new people and cultures

2 – Complete my Master program

3 – Open my own flower shop that is also a café

Where would you go right now if you were invisible?

I would like to go to NASA to see what they are up to these days. 

What’s a good movie or TV show that everyone should watch?

The Pursuit of Happiness.

As a reward to our readers for reading ’til the end, please share your best piece of advice.

Results are achieved with consistency. Rome was not built in a day.

Take every opportunity you get and make the best out of it.


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