Hello World!

My name is Olga and I am a student at the University of Waterloo. I will be graduating in April of 2016 with honours in arts and business co-op, a major in political science, a minor in French, and a specialization in international trade. Originally from Russia, my family immigrated to Canada in 1999 when I was only seven. Since then I have been studying, traveling, and working in Canada as well as abroad. Feel free to navigate through the following sections to learn more:

Resume | Interview | Portfolio

Resume

The co-op program at University of Waterloo allowed me to gain practical business skills to balance my academic endeavors. Throughout the program I worked closely with two start-ups in the Waterloo technology sector, both addressing emerging global markets. My role was to market these high tech start-ups and act as consumer engagement representative.

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Interview With a Candidate

Tell me about a time you had to make a difficult decision. What was the result?

This semester I was working at a café in town. The café was special in that it not only served quality coffee but it also served a wide selection of rare whiskies. Because of this, the space was at times rented out for events. One Friday, my manager gave me the responsibility of running an event for about eighty people - I had two co-workers under me...

On the day of the event I received a call from a gentleman who was confirming his reservation for a bachelor’s party whisky tasting for fifteen people. It was clear to me that we had missed the reservation. I told him I would check the schedule and call him back within fifteen minutes. At that point I needed to decide whether to cancel the reservation or try and facilitate both parties at the same time. I formulated a plan and called my manager, presenting her with the situation and possible solution.

She approved and I was able to return the gentleman’s call to bring his party over at the reserved time. I chose to run the whiskey tasting outside on the patio while the other event went on indoors. This allowed the larger company to enjoy the premises they paid money for while at the same time giving a more intimate feel to the whisky tasting. I was able to provide support for my other two co-workers while they handled the large event so all stake holders were happy.

As a result, the café earned more money, the company brand was not tarnished by a missed reservation, and the bachelor’s party got to enjoy the whisky tasting they reserved. In this situation I learned to think fast and be proactive as problems arose. Furthermore, I developed my skills as a manager and event coordinator.


Describe a time when you didn’t succeed at something you tried to accomplish

When I was applying for a co-op job, I found a community engagement position at google that I considered to be my dream job at the time. Having worked with two startup companies in the region I thought I had what it took to enter the high-tech sector...

First, I researched the company culture to see if I would be a good fit for the organization. Then I spoke with employees at Google in the Tannery to see what recruiters were looking for in a hire. Following that, I spent hours re-working my resume and cover letter to make sure it stood out both visually and in terms of qualifications. Finally, I reached out to my contacts to see if they could refer me.

As this question foreshadows, I was not hired for the position. The rejection was disheartening. I felt as though I had done everything I could possibly do to get the job. This gave me an opportunity to self-reflect. It appears to me that I just did not have the right qualifications for the job at the time – I did not have enough experience on my resume. As an organization, Google only hires the best candidates and accepting that this was not me at the time was difficult. Since then, I resolved to work harder to gain as much knowledge in interpersonal relations as possible. I studied abroad at a University in Paris, worked with another startup in the Waterloo tech sector, and started my own blog. I am looking to reapply to Google for a full-time position after graduating.


Describe a time when you had to meet several deadlines and how you handled it

When I was in my 3B term I was living and studying in Paris, France. It was my first time living alone in a foreign country. My expenses exceeded my budget and I needed another form of income to supplement my savings. I was hired with an au-pair agency and my placement with a family was imminent. Unfortunately, I was not legally allowed to receive an income unless I applied for a specific stamp on my visa. Finding out, I knew I had to act quickly so as not to lose my position, or risk missing any paychecks. This occurred as my full-course school term had begun and various assignments were becoming due...

My first step was to gather research online. The procedure seemed complicated and lengthy. To do this I had to sacrifice a lot of personal time I would have rather spent with friends. I budgeted my time between school assignments and the visa application – working early in the morning or late at night. My French at the time was not at a high level and so I needed to get a local friend to translate the application for me. I also needed to gather references. All the moving parts needed to come together. To make sure I did not miss any crucial sections I made a personal list and checked it many times. Because of this, I was able to keep up with the workload from school.

I managed to receive the approval from the French government to work. The family I was placed with was pleased because they chose me as a top candidate from a pool of applicants. I learned that I do well under stressful situations. Furthermore I learned that seeking help is a positive action. Personal sacrifice played a role in this situation and allowed me to succeed.


Tell me about a time you used creativity solve an important problem

While I was working as a marketing associate with Structur3d Printing – a 3D printing hardware company, I was tasked with running a creative sales campaign to market the product at a large conference in San Francisco. I had to work with few key considerations...

  • The company set a low budget for the project
  • With over one thousand exhibitors at the conference the marketing collateral truly had to stand out
  • The marketing needed to gather sales leads.

I brainstormed a few topics with my colleagues and researched unique and memorable marketing campaigns on the web; I also read up on the psychology of marketing. With this background in mind, a plan was forming. Instead of printing expensive sales sheets I decided to hand-write over 500 notes. These notes, containing only a url and a password, were given out at the conference to conference-goers with whom my colleagues had shared a conversation and built a rapport. The note would lead the potential buyer to a landing page with a pop-up video from the company co-founders telling them they had the chance to win an object 3D printed out of Nutella if they would leave their name and email at the end of the one minute video. I integrated an online form to collect contact information that would gather leads into the sales funnel.

The personal touch of the hand written note stood out among competitors. Over 20% of receivers visited the site – compared to an industry standard of 5%. 50% of visitors left their email. The company received qualified leads to follow up with. Additionally I learned what to improve if I was to run this campaign in the future. To read more or see a sample of the marketing, please continue to the Recent Work section of this website.

Portfolio

TitanFile Inc

During my term at TitanFile, the start-up company participated in a program called 48 Hours in the Valley. This event gave Canadian companies a chance to learn from some of the best entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, California. One of my roles at the time was media relations and I saw an opportunity to promote the company.

Pitching a story to a journalist can be a delicate task and requires a deal of creativity. A company cannot simply ask a reporter to write a story about themselves. To gain exposure, one must first present a story to engage the readership.

I chose Techvibes as the publication to offer the story to because much of their audience is active in the startup sector. The piece I decided to write concerned the application process for 48 Hours in the Valley. I reached out to four other startups that succeeded at getting into the program so they could also share expertise.

The piece ran in TechVibes and got a fantastic response.

Read the full article here

Structur3d Printing

During my time with Structur3d, I was tasked with finding a creative way of marketing the company product – a universal 3D Printing device – at a conference called Maker Faire in San Francisco. My intent was to provide an untraditional form of sales collateral to attract customers who have never heard of the company.

For this project, I hand wrote and stamped over 500 notes, created a password protected landing page, filmed a video, and integrated an online form to collect emails. To find out more about the project, check out my work-term report:

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