Jan. 11, 2016

Alumni Spotlight: Lucia Kovacikova, BA’11 (International Relations)

Arts alumni are an accomplished crew. They have great advice for students and fellow graduates, and know that arts degrees teach skills that are sought-after in the professional environment.

Lucia Kovacikova graduated in 2011 with a BA in International Relations from the University of Calgary. She went on to obtain an MSc in Political Science and International relations from the University of Amsterdam. Lucia is currently the Investment Business Development Associate with UK Trade & Investment, based at the British Consulate-General Calgary. Her role is to assist Canadian companies looking to do business in the UK, whether that is establishing their initial UK operation or growing their existing UK presence.

What is your favourite University of Calgary memory?

I am not sure if I can narrow it down to just one! Most of my favorite memories revolve around the Centre for International Students and Study Abroad (CISSA). It was my ‘happy place’ on campus and I made so many life-long friends during my time there. I remember when we were all sitting at one of the CISSA induction sessions (quite late in the day and pretty tired from our classes). The presenter made a joke and the whole room erupted in laughter. It was so silly and spontaneous; we all had the sense that everyone there was a good friend.

What was your favourite campus hang out spot?

Other than CISSA, I was usually in MacHall, sitting in close vicinity to Tim Hortons.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same degree that you did, what would it be?

Your degree is about more than just academics. There are so many opportunities you can take advantage of at the University of Calgary. Join student clubs, volunteer, study abroad, learn a new language, be part of the Coop Program and become an intern. Make your degree a holistic experience.

How has your career evolved?

During my last year at the University of Calgary, I joined the newly-formed International Relations Coop Program. This allowed me to spend my final year working with three fantastic organizations, both here in Calgary and the U.S. After graduation, I decided to go back to school and completed a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Amsterdam. I came back to Calgary in 2012 and joined the team at the British Consulate-General.

I am so thankful for all my experiences at UCalgary because they set me on the right path and allowed me to work in the International Relations field throughout my professional career.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is the knowledge that I am using my International Relations training to help Canadian companies become more successful internationally. It is very rewarding to know that I am able to work with different types of companies and add value to what they do.

That, and pretending to be 007.

How did your arts degree help you get to where you are now/your current career?

The lessons I learned during my BA degree helped me immensely. Coming from such a multidisciplinary background, I am able to see issues from different perspectives. I am also aware of cultural differences and biases, which is quite crucial in my current role. Additionally, anything from research to presentations to time-management can be applied to what I do now.

How can I steal your job?

I hope you don’t! I am having too much fun!

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

I truly loved working with all my advisers at the University of Calgary and cannot thank them enough for the advice and guidance they gave me throughout my five-year degree. Whether it was related to academics, volunteering, or professional work, they were always there and willing to give me a bit of their time. I would give this piece of advice to any student anywhere: connect with your professors and advisers and know that they will help you succeed.