genYOU Story 10 – Nick

Hailing from Moscow, Russia Nick Smirnov (or as his friends like to nickname: Smirnoff), is a trendsetting creative focused on helping start up companies to reach their full potential. In the future he aspires to launch his own marketing agency and come up with an innovative business idea. For which industry? We can’t wait to find out!

Name: Nick Smirnov
City: Brisbane
Current role:  Recent graduate, Stylist + Designer

How did you get involved with generationYOU and how did you find this experience?

While completing my degree, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Interactive Minds Digital Summit held in Brisbane. That was my first interaction with Bright Conferences, which soon developed into an ongoing relationship including participation in generationYOU.

As a recent graduate, I have a good idea of how different the expectations at the workplace can be compared to what you have been taught while completing your degree. The gap is quite big, and the aim of events like generationYOU is to lower this gap, giving students an opportunity to learn from top industry practitioners on what skills and abilities you need to acquire in order to succeed in a real work environment.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are headed in your career right now?

When enrolled in a business faculty majoring in Accounting I, in fact, had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I always knew that I wanted to tie my career with business but like many other students had a very vague idea about the career paths in that area. I remember like it was yesterday how Larry Neale (Marketing Lecturer from QUT) changed the course of my life and career by uncovering the world of marketing.

Throughout my degree, I was lucky enough to acquire a number of internships with some well-known companies like Vapiano and Culture Kings. These internships introduced me to a lot of useful resources, revealed some of my weaknesses and gave me the opportunity to work hands on in a professional environment. Sometimes my learning consisted of small steps like getting used to the fact that in a professional working environment people tend to communicate mostly via email, while at other times I was learning what it’s like to manage national marketing campaigns from start to finish.

Where is my career headed? I’m the kind of person who dislikes routine, so my ideal job would comprise of a flexible schedule that will allow me to work independently of any geographical location. In other words, the 9 to 5 working model is not for me. I enjoy working with start-ups, as such companies are more likely to experiment, take risks and disrupt the industry. As a recent graduate, I am open to new experiences. You never know when you will stumble on to your right career path.

 Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

There are many people who inspire me from various walks of life. Steve Jobs is, without a doubt, one of the people who inspired me and shaped my life in a positive way. His passion for design influenced my choice to take minor in graphic design, which gave me a unique ability to interpret reality and look at the same problems from a different perspective. Having a sound knowledge in this area definitely helped in my career as more and more employers require that employees become familiar with a wide variety of computer applications.

Another person that inspires me is my mother. At the age fifty-five, she decided to expand her practice and improve her qualifications, successfully completing another university degree. I believe that she is a great role model and proof of the fact that life is a never-ending learning process that does not stop with age.

You have the attention of over 1000 millennials. What is the one advice you would give them when you reflect on your own journey?

If I could give Millennials only one piece of advice, I would say: Toughen up and perceive failure as the path to success. No matter if you are applying for your first job or an internship, the competition is high. I have had many failures throughout my career and the biggest lesson, by far, is understanding that failure is an unavoidable and inevitable part of life.