Success = luck+perseverance

I wanna share a story with you. A story that made me believe that I can achieve what I want, the only thing I need is trying!

In December, 2015 I was a student of Regent’s University London with a Marketing & Business Spanish major. Choosing marketing gave me the chance to enroll into the Public Relations module. It seemed to be an easy and straight forward subject, not one that I have to stress about: one group assignment and one individual assignment, both with managable deadlines and criteria.

Nonetheless, things started getting difficult when from the team of five I was assigned to by our professor, three people decided to create their own click and – without notifying me and my friend – they started and quickly finished with the group assignment. They even cut the communicaion with us for no reason… Not a nice thing to do but we had to get over it quickly. AmI was hoping that karma would help me out here, and oh yes it did!

I was heading home with the Overground line (London) towards Wapping. During the 45 minute ride I was thinking about the past 3,5 years. It’s been a long and rocky road with many sacrifices, successes and failures. Besides going to Mexico and Argentina for 1–1 exchange semester where I completed every challenge – both academic and physical –, I went to rural China to teach English for highschool majors as a Tsinghua University volunteer. Some pictures of my exchanges and volunteering.

Now, I’m about to receive a second-grade degree because of some people I dont even know… I was pissed to the guts but at the same time I knew there was a solution. An elegant solution.

I arrived home, turned on my computer and started searching about American Apparel, the company that we had as a subject in our group assignment.

I found that after the shareholders put great pressure on the founder and CEO, Dove Charney, he decided to renounce from his position. Although he seemed a true leader and influencer, he was accused with some serious stuff.

Then I came across an article about the „new start” presumably led by Paula Schneider, former executive of a similarly big company. This article had a hyperlink to her LinkedIn, so I clicked. Red through her profile and I thought to myself, maybe I should try and write a message to her… As expected, Linkedin asked me the type of connection I had with her, so I clicked „other”. I thought to myself that she’ll never read this but, atleast this way I could have a chance. I started typing, „Dear Paula, My name is Peter Csipak. I am a student of Regent’s University London and we got you as an assignment on our PR module. I know there is probably 0,1% chance that you’ll read this but in case you do please answer! All the best, Peter”

Five minutes later I opened my laptop again and I received a message. I was like, „pfff, no freaking chance…” Well… She answered!!! In 5 minutes only!! She wrote that she was more than happy to help and that she could easily relate to these sort of issues so I should contact her assistant (she gave me an e-mail address) and she would set up a call for us.

The next day I contacted her assistant and after a tiny issue we started the interview at 11 pm. I had my list of questions prepared in front and my phone for recording.

I was a bit nervous at the beginning but I eased into the conversation after few minutes. Luckily, she was unbelievably easy-going and fun to talk to. I also sensed her leader personality from the way she took control over the conversation (I felt I should let her do that, didn’t want to seem arrogant or greedy for information). We talked a few minutes about personal topics like my career plans or her roles as a parent and of course continued with American Apparel’s direction in the near future.

We conversed for 30 minutes or something when her assistant, S.,entered into her office to notify her about the next meeting. No surprise, Paula had to go but before leaving, she attentively offered a letter of recommendation which I accepted with pleasure of course…

The final presentation

Starting a presentation with knowing that the last slide will blow the audience’s mind is a pretty good feeling.

I think thats also a useful takeaway of this story: if you can, always finish your presentation with the aim for a „Wow!” from your audience!

It gave me and m team an immense confidence boost… I was presenting like a professional. My gestures, postures and articulation was better than ever before, I knew that we rocked. Then, before the presentation ended, I said: „We managed to contact Paula, the new CEO, and asked her about her future plans”… The teacher was just staring at me with her eyes wide open… „You did what?!”… „We talked to her”, we said jointly with my team. „To Paula??”, she asked again. „Yes!! We made a picture and recorded the conversation as well…” „Can you show it to me?”, she asked curiously leaning forward on her desk the first time during our presentation… I replied, „Of course!”. Walked there and put my phone in front of her with the audio file. She started listening and after a few seconds looked up to me and asked, „Can you send this to me please?” At that moment I knew we’ll get the highest possible score which meant that I had a chance again for the first class degree.

We eventually got a 85%, which is almost totally unbelievable in the UK grading system… But guess what! My average was just enough for the first class… 71% exactly…

On the last note

For many people first class is a must, or an average grade. For me it was a hard earned achievement. I was never the smartest in the room, but I always knew how to go around, fight and be persistent…I simply believed and still believe that the only thing between your goals and you, is trying…

Thanks for reading,