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News and Inspiration

Alena Kerosinskaya: ‘Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try’

This month's alumnus in the spotlight is Alena Kerosinskaya. She graduated in 2019 from the MSc Digital Business at the UvA and she works in Business Development, although she is currently looking for a new job. We asked her about her experience as an international in the Netherlands, what she learnt at the various companies she worked for, and how she approaches her job search.

EBCC alumnus

What was your dream job as a child, and what is your dream job now?

As a child, I already had my dream job: I was an actress, in the famous comedy series ‘Eralash’. I felt as important as an adult and was proud to be earn some money at that age. But that was enough to fulfil my dream as a child, so I moved on. Currently, I can’t define my dream job. It’s more about the dream company and responsibilities. 

What is your current position, and what do you do?

I am a BD. Even though my mom thinks that BD stands for the Best Daughter, I work in Business Development. I am responsible for development and implementation of growth opportunities driven by the revenue goals. Additionally, I take care of the analysis and reporting of the historical data to derive learnings and insights.

What was it like to enter the Dutch labour market after first coming here as an international student?

I moved to the Netherlands for my first graduate position actually. For an English-speaking person, it was easier to find a job in Amsterdam than in the rest of Europe. After working for two years, I decided to get back to school. I went on to do one year in Marketing at the University of Groningen, and after that I did one year in Digital Business at the University of Amsterdam.

You’ve had a number of positions at different companies. How did they contribute to your professional development?

In more than five years of working experience as well as my studies, I nearly collected a whole orchestra of different positions: I worked in marketing, community management, and business development. It helped me to figure out what I like to do the most and who I want to be in the future. Having experienced both operational and managerial roles, I prefer to have a more coordinating and managerial role, to have my fingers in every pie.

How did you apply the knowledge and skills you gained during your studies in your jobs?

I am very grateful for the practical skills that I acquired during my Master in Digital Business. In my current position, I make extensive use of MySQL and Tableau software for data analysis. Also, being a proud recipient of a 10 for the course on Python programming, I am looking for an opportunity to keep mastering my programming skills. By the way, I would recommend following a course in Online Marketing taught by Dr. Abhishek Nayak. It’ll help you become a guru in Google Analytics and Adwords.

You’re now looking for a new job. How do you approach that search?

I am quite selective towards my future career. Right now, I’m looking for a role where I can contribute with my skills and knowledge, and also where I have an opportunity for personal development and learning from experienced professionals. I am exploring opportunities at large international organisations, as well as at innovative tech companies.

Out of all the things you’ve learned at your various positions, what lesson do you value most?

Otto von Bismarck said that the wise man learns from the mistakes of others. And in my case, I was learning from the success of others. My life motto became: ‘Do it with passion, or not at all.’ I’ve noticed that the most successful people are the ones that are obsessed with what they do. So, it is very important to like what you are doing, and then your job can become your favourite hobby.

What career advice would you give students and fellow alumni?

Getting a dream job is a full-time job in itself. You should not get upset when you do not succeed immediately. Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid to not try. Just use every rejection as an opportunity to polish your application. And as an international student, you should be aware that not each company is into hiring non-Dutch people, as their primary market might be in the Netherlands only. That’s why I would advise you to start learning Dutch as soon as possible.

The EBCC would like to thank Alena for her insights, as well as for the time and effort she put into answering our questions.


If you have any questions, Alena is happy to answer them. You can reach her via LinkedIn, or you can get her email from the Economics and Business Career Centre.

We hope this month’s alumnus was an inspiration. What kind of Economics and Business career would you like to know more about? Let us know, and we will try to arrange an interview with alumni who have experience in that field for a future instalment of Alumni in the Spotlight!