Ivana Živković

RIT Croatia Class of 2007
Tourism, Hospitality and Service Management

Employer: Genera istraživanja d.o.o.
Job title: Head of Finance and Accounting


"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."

Vince Lombardi

This quote by Vince Lombardi perfectly describes my career path from my first days of college at RIT Croatia to my current position as Head of Finance and Accounting. I will never forget my first day at RIT Croatia – a country girl with a low level of English enters class with an international professor and colleagues from all around the world. In order to understand and communicate in English, I remember spending sleepless nights writing essays, learning English grammar and memorizing new vocabulary just to be able to understand what they were talking about. After four years at RIT Croatia I graduated as one of the top students in our generation, taking with me new friendships, great memories of student life as well as knowledge of team work, project management, presentation skills, and of course, English language.

In the process of finding my first job, I got offered two positions at the same time – one at an international bank and the other at a famous hotel in Zagreb. At that moment, my experience in the hotel industry and tourism track at RIT Croatia made me a perfect hotel candidate, but my strategy was to try the banking business since experience gained through summer internships in hotels would open me doors to hotels anytime in the future. The cashier position in the bank enhanced my knowledge of the finance sector and then later on I got promoted to Organization department Specialist where involvement in projects, planning, and processes of the banking business made me capable of leading projects on my own. This valuable experience combined with a strong will for acquiring new knowledge brought me where I am today.

An unexpected offer from Biotech Company made me change my career path for the second time. Today I am managing European projects in cooperation with 11 European companies, cooperating every day with scientists, surgeons and regulatory experts in clinical trials. My responsibilities also include planning, budgeting and dealing with numbers and invoices on a daily basis. I have to admit, while taking this job into consideration, again I felt like the country girl from the beginning of the story who entered class with little understanding of the language, no familiar faces and numerous obstacles in my way. After two years of experience, I understand the majority of chemical processes our scientist do in lab, controls they have to make, rules of good laboratory practices and how clinical trials actually function.

Forrest Gump once said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." So, take all the opportunities that life offers you, work hard, have a plan and do not be afraid of new, unfamiliar tasks, because if the will is strong enough, success must come eventually…

RIT Croatia. Different from Day 1.

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