Antonia Šakić is our bachelor student of Digital Marketing who got a job as online media planner assistant at Universal McCann (UM) while still in college. 

What made you choose this Digital Marketing study programme, which is one of the rare few of its kind in the region? What drew you to this study program?

What drew me to it was precisely the fact that it was the only one of its kind, it was specialized and, it not only sounded fun, but for me it really is fun. Before that, I attended the Gaudeamus high school in Osijek, which steered me in the direction of marketing and IT early on. During my studies, I came up with an idea for an app that analyzes tennis matches in a new and more advanced way than all the others before that. It was published on the App Store and that is when we hit a bump in the road – which is precisely why digital marketing! I attended a private high school and my experience with it was great, I knew what skills I wanted to acquire and that I wanted to developing them in a stimulating environment – and Algebra seem just that. I submitted my CV and waited to hear back about a scholarship.

What are your experiences with the study programme and does it meet your expectations?

I would say that my expectations were high, but that this program has really satisfied most of them. I have always been a perfectionist, which makes it harder to be completely satisfied – with myself or in this case with the college. But I have found my place in digital marketing and much more than that. Setting up, developing and optimizing digital campaigns which we learn in the coursework just seems like a common-sense way of thinking to me and it is something I will be able to use in future projects. In addition, it is also great knowing how to choose a target group, write a brief and communicate with clients – which are also just some of the things we learn in the program.

Since you already have a job in your field, how much does the knowledge you have gained in your studies help you with that and are you able to apply what you have learned to your day-to-day activities/campaigns?

People often say that you learn one thing at college, but that the real learning begins only once you start working. I did not want that to happen to me so from the very start I tried to blend theoretical knowledge we learn in class with real-life cases from the business world. Our practicums at college are really excellent and they really helped me in doing that. You cannot expect to get all the information in the classroom and learn everything, but if you are interested in something, you will do some more digging on your own until you find the right application for it.

That is the way I was taught at my high school Gaudeamus and it is a practice I will continue using in life. Sometimes it is a lot of hard work, but when you see the results – you know it was worth it. I am very happy about the opportunity I was given in my freshman year, to do an internship at DIBS digital agency. All of these things have allowed me to get a full-time job at Universal McCann at only 20, making great progress both professionally and in my studies. You can learn many things at university but you can’t even imagine how much knowledge and experience you can receive if you have a good mentor, and I always seem to get the best ones!

Perhaps the best thing about Algebra University is that the practicums and lectures are conducted by professors who also work in the field and have first-hand experience of what they teach from active campaigns and real clients.

What attracts you the most in digital marketing and what are some of the areas that will undergo the biggest changes in the future, which trends do you find interesting?

It is interesting that I do not particularly like change in my personal life, but I have chosen a professional field in which they happen all the time, which is often unnerving. By this I mean events in the world, not so much in Croatia, though Croatia is not much behind the rest of the world in that respect. The new employees belong to the “Instagram generation” who use clicks to come up with interesting results.

I think that is at the core of the changes happening in the field, the generations who are not afraid to play around and experiment with technology and the opportunities it offers. I am especially thrilled about the development of artificial intelligence, because thanks to the way I work and how I was thought to think, I’m not afraid of ever getting replaced. Thanks to such programmes, technology will take over performing all the operational tasks, while I will have more time for creativity. Unlike some, I do not believe that everything has already been invented, but rather that we can use small ideas to greatly affect already existing things, adapting them to the users and making them a part of their habits.

What advice would you give to future students thinking of enrolling in this kind of study program?

I think it is great to enroll in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing if you are good at physics or be a programmer if you can write code, it is also not bad if you like dissecting organisms or you can memorize a million facts so you decide to study medicine, but the best thing is to study what you love doing in your spare time, and it is something you enjoy reading, listening or watching films about. For me this something is digital marketing.

This is a professional study programme but if you use your head and listen to your heart, it opens a lot of doors for you outside of the strictly academic, in terms of marketing. Then you realize that you can apply this knowledge working on any number of projects with different experts from various fields and it is up to you to choose the ones that will be the most appealing to you – well, who wouldn’t want that?

So far, several prospective students have contacted me through social media asking about the study programme and I am always happy to be of assistance and offer my advice and say what I think, so feel free to contact me if you need more first-hand information.