Guest speaker series puts students in touch with industry experts

This fall, the RIT Croatia Career Service Office brought college alumni, industry executives, and expert professionals to both campuses for a series of lectures and presentations. Students learned directly from the experts about the latest business trends and procedures, and connected personally with potential employers.Students who attended the entire series of lectures earned certificates which will help boost their CVs when applying for future jobs.

Hospitality in Dubrovnik

In Dubrovnik, the focus for October was on the hospitality industry, and the series kicked off with four alumni who returned to the campus to share stories from their career paths, followed by a lively discussion and question and answer session with current students. Speakers included Mrs. Kristina KelečićKanostrevac (class of 2002), currently employed as Operations Manager at the Castelletto Hotel in Cavtat. Ms. Karla Labaš, (class of 2011) shared her experience as Marketing and PR Manager for the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Mrs. Ariana Lušić, (class of 2005), works as Event and Sales Manager at travel agency Signumšped, and Ms. Anđela Matić, (class of 2003)shared her experience as PR and Event Manager and Head of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) department at Dubrovnik Partner.

"This was a really great opportunity to learn something new from professionals in their field about business in real world,” said Dubrovnik student LjubicaVasiljevic. "Every lecture wasvery useful. Not only did I learn a lot, but also I got a better picture of the advantages and disadvantages of every job. A lot of speakers mentioned the stress of their jobs, but also the happinessand satisfaction whenthey fill customers’ expectations.”

Later, Mr. Toni Aleksić, Cruise ship department Manager of Elite Travel agency, presented a lecture on destination management. He introduced students to the company’s organizational structure, internal procedures, and services, based on extensive local knowledge, expertise and resources, specializing in the design and implementation of events, activities, tours, transportation and program logistics.

"It was interesting to hear how a young agency like Elite developed, but the best part was about their innovational character and new and interesting methods they use to attract customers and to stay competitive,” said student Ivan Saltaric.

"Every presentation had some kind of advice I can use later in my life and career. I am really grateful for this experience and I find it very helpful for the future challenges. As a student, I find it was very motivational and a great lesson.”

As part of the guest speaker series, Hilton Imperial hotel, the Dubrovnik campus’s five-star neighbor, invitedstudents for presentation on their core values followed by a hotel tour. Hilton’s Human Resource Manager Mrs. ZoricaDuićlead this interesting presentationon the Hilton vision. In the same hospitable spirit, Hilton prepared refreshments for all participants, and later during the hotel tour, RIT Croatia students had opportunity to see various departments, rooms and services Hilton offers to its guests.

"It was a really good experience because we had opportunity to see our future career in hospitality in real situations,” said student Marija Stankovic. "Guest speakers were impressive and full of knowledge they wanted to share with us. They were very friendly and they answered all of our questions.”

Since Dubrovnik Airport plays a key role in enhancing connectivity and driving tourism growth in the region, the Career Service Office invited Mr. RokoTolić, Airport Director, to talk to students about airports and tourism. Trends in air transportation business are encouraging airports to market the destination as well, with the primary target being the airline and the secondary target the traveler. Dubrovnik airport plans to invest 245 million Euro in next several years to accommodate rising passenger numbers, expected to hit around 3.98 million by 2032. Some RIT Croatia studentswho work seasonally at the airport over the last couple of years, had a chance to speak individually with Mr. Tolić.

The final hospitality session was led byDr.Sc. MatoBrautović on agrotourism in Konavle region. The Brautović family business protects heritage through guest education, storytelling, and uncompromised quality of service and food offered at their agrotourism complex. It was interesting to hear that Family Brautović uses most modern forms of marketing and self-promotion through Internet channels such as Google ads, Google Maps and Facebook.

Marketing in Zagreb

Guest speakers in Zagreb spoke about their experiences in the marketing industry. The lectures gave students the opportunity to better understand the industry and become familiar with more details of particular marketing disciplines. The lectures were a combination of theory and practical examples, which was very interesting and easy to understand.

Guest speakers discussed the importance of understanding the target audience, identifying brand image, positioning, digital campaigns, market research, events, creative designs, events organization, creating the customer experience.

Alumna Adela Marković (class of 2007), now Division Director for "Brand” Croatia at the Croatian National Tourist Board, spoke about the importance of branding for Croatian tourism in her talk, "Delivering the meal…but is that enough for a dining experience?” Mr. Nikola Vrdoljak, Partner and Director of Agency 404, shared his experience in digital marketing, and Mr. DamirCiglar, director of Imago creative and advertising agency, gave a presentation on the importance of creativity.Helena Folnegović, Client Executive of Nielsen Company spoke about market research in the business decision making process, and Antonia Radić, director of Ex-Alto agency, spoke about experience as a focus of events management.

"Attending marketing month lectures was great,” said Nikolina Trcak, sophomore IB student. "I heard a lot of useful information about marketing in real life. Also, I got a great chance to meet some experts in marketing and to hear a lot about their experience. I am glad to attend all of the lectures because I got a certificate as a proof of my additional knowledge.”

"Being a sophomore, this year I really got to learn a lot of marketing in theory. However, in my mind there was always this idea of marketing as an incredibly broad and vague area of business. These lectures enabled me to learn about experiences in marketing from people in successful companies. They helped me understand what real-life marketing is like, and how its theory is actually applied in practice,” saidGabrijelaBrigljević, sophomore IB student. "Also, what I found very encouraging was that all lecturers were rather young, but in their lectures they still proved their experience and expertise in their field.”

Marketing lectures helped me to understand the topics I'm currently learning during my Principles of Marketing course even better. Since I'm interested in topics such as human resources, PR and digital media, it was a pleasure to participate and hear our guests talking about the marketing methods and strategies in their business, said sophomore IB studentAnte Kurtovic.

"The last lecture about Events Management by Miss Radić was especially important for me. Since my hobby is video and website production, it was amazing to hear about different methods of creating promotion projects.”

November lectures at the Zagreb campus focused on the field of finance, and the first speaker was one of RIT Croatia’s own graduates, Dario Vilović, CEO of Neta Capital Croatia, who brought the topic of Invesetmnet Funds closer to students. More than 120 students from all generations attended the session. After the lecture Mr. Vilovic and his colleague Mr. Mirko Matić spent additional time with our students answering all the questions and sharing their experiences and advice.

"I really enjoyed the finance lecture by Neta Capital. I am interested in finance and this lecture helped me to get a better insight to this specific industry. Also, I received a lot of information about investing and portfolio management,” said junior IB student TajanaGrubišić. "These lectures are really useful since we can see which companies are operating successfully on the Croatian market. Also, with first-hand experience, we can easier understand and connect what we actually learn in classes and what will be expected from us in the workplace.”

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