Michaela Milkovičová

Graduation: 

Business Administration, Class of 2015

Career: 
Global Foods Strategy, Innovation and Operations Manager, Unilever

At UNYP, we are always happy to catch up with our alumni. Their inspiring stories remind us how important education and university are for young people. This time, we have reunited with Michaela Milkovičová, a former Business Administration student at UNYP. If you are looking for an exciting and fulfilling corporate job, this interview with Michaela is a must-read – she describes her trajectory from studying business at UNYP to a leading position in one of the world’s biggest corporations.  

"My classes were taught in small groups, my professors had a business background, and I had classmates from all over the world."

How do you remember your days at UNYP? 

My UNYP memories are connected to a significant change that happened in my personal life at the same time – moving to Prague, where I lived away from home for the first time, with my boyfriend (now husband). I had studied at the Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia before transferring to UNYP, and had always wanted to go abroad and study in English, exploring new cultures. UNYP delivered that 100%, and on top of that I had the opportunity to live in the wonderful city of Prague. I remember the things I loved: my classes were taught in small groups, my professors had a business background, and I had classmates from all over the world. I felt very humbled and honored to study at this prestigious university, so I tried to get the most out of the classes. During my studies, I had already started to work at Unilever as an intern, and a few months after that I went full-time. This meant that I could connect what I learned at school with the real world of business, but on the other hand it also meant that I was really very busy – always working or participating in classes, reading materials for school, or preparing projects. Looking back, I must say I loved that combination, and was very enthusiastic back then of fulfilling my dreams. 

Your career path at Unilever is impressive. Could you briefly describe your professional growth within this company? 

First of all, I must say I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work with many talented people who have inspired me during my development within the company and helped me along the way. As I mentioned, I started as an intern while still studying my bachelor’s at UNYP in the Shopper & Customer Marketing department for the Czech Republic. I changed a few roles across categories, and I led my first team. As part of my development, I wanted to broaden my skills, so I decided to move to either marketing or sales. My manager encouraged me and said I would be a good salesperson, so I became responsible for the Foods and Refreshment business with Tesco as a Key Account Manager, and later responsible for Unilever’s entire business with Tesco. Eventually, after they centralized, I coordinated Unilever’s Beauty and Personal Care categories for Central Europe (CZ/SK/HU/PL). Continuing my career development, I moved to the Netherlands to our global office where I was responsible for LIDL’s customer account management for the Eastern Europe cluster (negotiating contracts for 14 countries) and Value Channel EE Lead, in other words embedding/localizing global Design for Channel initiatives for this fast-growing channel in Eastern Europe. From there I took a career break, and went on maternity leave. 

Congratulations on your recent promotion. What are you doing now in your new position? 

Thank you. Working as Global Foods Strategy, Innovation and Operations Manager is a new challenge, and I am grateful to be starting with an experienced marketing team. In this role I will be helping to shape, execute and communicate our Global Foods and Innovation strategy to become more consumer-centric, all done in cooperation with the local markets across the world. So far it has been very exciting! 

How did education from UNYP help you in your career? 

Many times, I think about how UNYP helped me with my soft skills. Working on projects in a multicultural group of people with different backgrounds, doing presentations in English in front of different stakeholders, but also a little bit of the American “you-can-do-anything-when-you-decide” attitude that I find the most valuable. 

What is next for you? 

At the moment, it will be learning and exploring the full potential of my new position and spending time with my husband and newborn son. I have some plans for the future and my development, but I will keep those to myself at this stage! 

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