Takeover Talks is an extension of our Instagram Takeover series where we provide a marketing professional, intern, or co-op student, the opportunity to showcase a day in the life of their job on our Instagram stories. It allows us to sit down one-on-one with our Takeover guest to gain a deeper insight on their personal and professional journey.
Last week, we sat down with our first Takeover guest of the ‘20/’21 academic year, Michal Aizikov. We spoke about her journey into the world of marketing, her personal experience on the RMA, and how she unconsciously manifested & secured her current internship. She also graciously shared with us a few words of wisdom that may help any undergraduate marketing students seeking an internship/co-op opportunity, or those who simply want to enhance their career skills in the industry!
Tell us a bit about yourself!
“My name is Michal Aizikov but I often go by Mich. I’m a business student at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management and I’m pursuing a marketing major with a retail management minor. I am going into my 4th year but I am also in co-op so I will be doing 5 years in total!”
Based on your Takeover, you’re a natural when it comes to marketing. Did you always know you wanted to pursue marketing as a major?
“I kid you not, I didn’t take one business course in high school until grade twelve. After I did, I realized how much I loved talking to people and how it was one of my strengths. From then on, I was interested in doing business, and marketing was the first thing to pop into my mind. Luckily, I came to Ryerson and out of all the business management majors, marketing was the one that stood out to me the most. I love art, talking to people, and spinning off my creative ideas so I knew I wanted to go into marketing because it merges all of my passions.”
You were also a member of the RMA last year, how did that experience allow you to put yourself out there and seek new opportunities?
“A principle that I truly value is surrounding yourself with like-minded people. If you are goal-oriented, driven, and passionate to succeed — you need to surround yourself with people who share the same qualities because they will motivate you to accomplish your goals.
Joining the RMA didn’t only give me the opportunity to network and establish new relationships within the industry and the people on our team, it also provided me with the opportunity to surround myself with people who wanted the best for not only themselves but for others around them.
When you surround yourself with those types of people, it not only pushes and motivates you — it sparks a fire in you. When you combine the opportunity to network, to establish meaningful relationships, and to surround yourself with like-minded people — you have the perfect recipe for success.”
How did you hear about the internship at Kimberly-Clark?
“Kimberly-Clark (or K-C) is one of the first companies that I applied to and I found them on the co-op portal! I applied to around twenty companies, banging out applications and tailoring each cover letter to every position. I remember a lot of my friends started to get interviews but I hadn’t yet and I started to get very worried. I would constantly check my co-op portal to see if I was being granted any interviews but I unfortunately wasn’t receiving any. I then remember one night I went to bed, and I had a dream that I got an interview. I woke up, quickly grabbed my laptop to check the portal and to my surprise I had an interview from K-C! It was crazy.”
Receiving that interview email must have felt like a small sigh of relief, were you nervous for your interview?
“When I went into my interview it was honestly an instant connection. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but K-C wasn’t initially my top choice — another firm was. Although when I walked into the interview room, the vibe was just amazing. I really connected with my managers, they were super nice and down to earth. When you have that instant connection with your employers, you know that’s the place for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re not entirely passionate about the products or the business, you will become passionate about the business if you’re passionate about the people that you work with and for.”
You mentioned that another firm was your top choice, how did you know Kimberly-Clark was the company for you?
“I was presented with job offers from both K-C and another firm. I wanted to work at the other firm for over a year and when I went to their interview, I was so nervous that I went to the washroom to calm my nerves. As I looked around the washroom, K-C posters were splattered all over the walls so in my head I was thinking — is this a sign?
Originally I was unable to make it to a K-C networking event being hosted on the day of my interview due to my part-time job. But at the last minute my manager gave me the night off — this was the final sign I needed.
From dreaming about getting an interview from K-C, to seeing their posters everywhere, and then having my shift at work cancelled at the last minute to attend their networking event, I knew I had to take the opportunity. The pieces of the puzzle miraculously came together.”
How has it been navigating your new internship position in an out-of-office setting? Have you come across any challenges?
“I’m not going to lie; it is quite challenging because this is my first experience in the corporate world. As a people person, it’s quite difficult to not be able to meet your team in person. If you have a quick question, you have to schedule an official meeting whereas in an office setting you can simply go up to them and ask. That being said, everyone on my team is immensely supportive and are always willing to help me out by answering any questions that I may have. I don’t know if everybody has this experience, but I am very lucky to have my team because they actually look out for me and they want this transition to be easy.
What do you think is an important and essential skill a successful marketer should have?
“Learning to always say yes, and figure it out later. If you don’t know how to complete a specific task or use a required tool for your role, be open to the challenge of trying to learn it yourself first. If you are truly stumped, then go and reach out — there is no shame in asking!
Finally, what advice would you give to a marketing student seeking an internship or co-op placement?
“My biggest piece of advice to find an internship or co-op placement is to attend student-run events and to simply get involved! By doing this, it surrounds you with like-minded people who are success-oriented and goal-driven. Trust yourself and don’t be scared to network, branch out! You never know what opportunities await you if you don’t try.
You don’t have to wait until this pandemic is over to network — attend webinars and listen to what marketing professionals have to say. If I like what somebody is saying, I’ll jot down their name, put it into LinkedIn, connect with them, and send them a message!”
It was a pleasure getting to pick Mich’s brain. She is a multi-faceted human being that exudes a sense of confidence that you simply cannot miss. In the future, she plans to professionally grow in the e-commerce industry with a goal of one day starting up a sustainability initiative to protect our environment. What’s next for Michal is truly infinitive and we are very excited to see her thrive!
If you want to gain a more detailed perspective of her specific duties as an e-commerce intern at Kimberly-Clark, we highly encourage you watch her Takeover on our IGTV, here!
Written by: Annie Limbana
Edited by: Rocky Cheung
Graphic by: Curtis Dizon