Ljubica Vasiljević
  RIT Croatia, Class of 2017
  Hospitality and Service Management (IHSM)

  Employment:  Tourist Organization of Herceg Novi

  Job title: Project Manager for regional, national and EU funds


Ljubica, tell us a bit about yourself and your RIT Croatia experience. 

I was looking for a quality education that would fit into my expectations. I could not find what I was looking for in my own country and heard about RIT Croatia (ACMT at that time) from a friend, so I decided to apply. Four years later (2017) I graduated from RIT Croatia with a BS degree in Hospitality and Service Management. The best thing was that I gained a lot of knowledge from this program and experience from co-ops that I regularly did during my education at RIT Croatia.

Where did your path lead you next, and finally where are you now and what are you working on?

After I graduated I started working for the Tourist Organization of Herceg Novi where I am still working. At that time I was on a probation period for 9 months, which is obligatory in our country if we want to work in a public firm. After that I started working as Marketing and PR manager. During that time I was working on social media and Herceg Novi promotions as a yet undiscovered tourist destination. At the same time I was an assistant in a sector for International and EU projects (since that was my first interest) and I got to work on an EU project worth EUR 113,500. Following that success (beginning of 2019) I was promoted to a managerial position for developing project applications for regional, international and EU funds. During that period I got to work on one more EU project worth EUR 100,000 so right now we are implementing 2 EU projects directly; on one of them we are associate partners and follow and participate in all important project activities.

How important is career-oriented education and gaining work experience prior to getting a job (co-ops and internships during your studies)?

I found co-ops very useful and important. As students we were able to get more experience and responsibilities in our main daily tasks. I believe that this factor is the one that distinguishes RIT Croatia from other higher education institutions in our region. Students become more punctual, responsible, organized and team oriented but at the same time acquire skills that can be a huge advantage in a real business world.

In regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, do you see the changes that are occurring as a threat or opportunity?

As a consequence of COVID pandemic situation, a lot of activities that require personal contact, we needed to organize online. There were a lot of business trips that we needed to cancel or postpone to some other time. I would say that COVID for most of us presents some type of a threat since we aren't so much online oriented and a lot of our activities need to be implemented in the project area with a lot of participants, stakeholders and state representatives.

What advice do you have in one adapting to changes all around us – personally and professionally?

We need to be prepared for changes that are yet to come. I believe that 90% of work will be distributed and organized online. Unfortunately, the one who can't accept that change will lose the job. We need to research new opportunities and constantly look for some improvements for ourselves. Since we all have more time, we can use it to develop some new skill, learn a new language and improve our own health.

How important is quality education in dealing with unexpected and challenging times? How has RIT Croatia specifically, prepared you for this?

I really need to say that none of us actually was prepared for this terrible situation. However, education really matters and knowledge, skills and language are crucial for this new working environment. Some of my friends lost their jobs just because they weren't so educated and ready to adapt to a new situation. We now need to be a step ahead and to demonstrate our employers that we are useful and skilled. For RIT alumni that is not hard to do.

What is your message to our current and potential students?

If you choose RIT Croatia for your further education, you will not regret it! Just take as much as possible. Grab every available opportunity, learn a lot and always improve yourself in order to one day become a leader. Good luck Tigers!

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