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EU Alumnae and Sisters, Lavinia and Antonia Arl, on Their EU Experience

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Lavinia and Antonia were born and raised in a small town called Lanaken in Belgium by a Dutch mother and German father. They speak German, Dutch, English and Spanish and have both studied at the Barcelona Campus of EU Business School.

Antonia recently finished her Bachelor in Communication and Public Relations, with an additional Bachelor in Business Management at EU and is now based in Lisbon. Lavinia graduated with a BBA in 2019 and recently moved to Brussels from New York. Previously, they were both competitive horse riders, forming part of the Belgian National Dressage team, but are now focused on other hobbies; Lavinia enjoys exploring different restaurants in the city as well as discovering new places in Europe, and Antonia is passionate about the wellness industry and its importance in today’s world. The sisters also seek to explore different cultures and ways of life around the globe.

Lavinia, tell us about your career journey since leaving EU:

I completed a Dual Master’s Degree in International Marketing and Disruptive Innovation in London and San Francisco, and then started applying for jobs in the US. I worked as a global analyst at Ogilvy Consulting in New York for three years, and recently moved to Brussels with the same company as a strategic planner. My role is similar to that of a consultant: I’m doing desktop research and qualitative and quantitative analysis to understand what strategy, growth and innovation opportunities brands possess. I am currently building a social strategy for Google Pixel, and an improved employee experience for Amazon.  

Antonia, what has your career journey been like since graduating from EU?

After finishing EU Business School, I had a great start in the marketing industry. I moved to Lisbon, Portugal to join the campaign delivery team for Jaguar and Land Rover in Accenture Song. The work environment was challenging, which gave me a feeling of accomplishment. I had always aimed to work somewhere like Accenture to transform my theoretical skills into practice. Now, I’m redirecting my focus towards starting my own business model in the wellness industry. I took one month off, where I traveled to India to obtain my yoga teacher training certificate. I hope to combine my business knowledge with my own passion.  

Was your decision to go to EU influenced by Lavinia?

Lavinia’s decision to pursue higher education and redirect her focus towards business inspired me to do the same. We both had very intense horse-riding careers in which we focused heavily on competing around the world, with little to no time for school. When I decided to quit riding and focus on studying, it was because I thought, ‘if Lavinia can do it, I can do it too´. It opened my eyes to the fact that you are never limited to a single career.

Lavinia was so happy at EU! She was getting good grades and she told me about everything she was experiencing in Barcelona; making friends, learning so many new things and attending guest speaker events. I visited some other schools but when I visited EU, I was greeted by a very welcoming atmosphere and they were offering a course in PR and communications, which is an area that I had always been interested in.

What was your favorite class at EU?

To my surprise, accounting was my favourite class! This was mainly due to the great teacher and the class structure at the time. I also enjoyed all my specialization classes in which we focused on PR campaigns, consumer behaviour, and international public relations. The variety of classes makes it difficult to choose a favourite: as a student, you experience how different classes open your mind, and you learn from all of them!

Did Lavinia give you any advice when you started at EU?

Lavinia is my main source of advice in life, she understands me so well. She was very happy for me when I started at EU because she knew what a great experience it had been for her. Throughout my time at EU, I asked her for advice, and she always motivated me to do a lot outside of my studies and take advantage of everything that the school offered, as she had done.

Lavinia, what advice would you give to Antonia now?

My sister and I are very similar in some respects and very different in others. I’m a very theoretical person, she’s more practical. I was able to understand what I wanted through my studies, but for other people, it’s easier to understand what they want through practical experience. I’d advise her to do what makes her happy — it sounds like a cliché, but if you want to stay passionate and motivated, doing what you love is the key to success.

What are the main skills or concepts you acquired at EU that you still use today?

The good thing about the BBA is that you gain a good general understanding of marketing, PR, finance and accounting, which are all very important business skills. However, the classes that relate the most to my job right now are all the marketing and PR classes which cover writing, communication strategy, leadership skills and best practices in marketing. International Marketing, Social Media Management and Project Management are the ones that come to mind. One aspect of studying at EU that is especially reflected in my job is the focus on the practical rather than the theoretical, such as working in groups of people and understanding that kind of dynamic, and how to connect with different cultures.

What would you say to students who would like to have a job like yours when they graduate?

Anyone could do my job if they are motivated, open-minded and willing to work hard. Be curious and get to know new people, because your role will depend heavily on your personality and character. It is important to know what you are good at. Do as many internships as you can that reflect the classes you enjoy — this will give you an understanding of what these fields are like in real life. Everyone says, “Do what you love”, but it is difficult to know what you love when you haven’t experienced it outside of the classroom.

Did you make any friends at EU that you are still in touch with now?

Absolutely! I met my best friend at EU and I am close with many of my old classmates who are all from different countries. We keep in touch frequently, and still see each other whenever we get the opportunity. They mean the world to me!

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