I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago as a first-generation Polish-American. This experience has really shaped me culturally, especially as I had daily exposure to my Polish roots, as well as other diverse backgrounds. My parents are from a small village in Poland, and I used to spend every summer there as a kid. I love to travel, learn other languages and experience diverse cultures, so my degree in International Relations is a perfect fit. Outside of school, I am interested in fashion, content creation, cryptocurrency and startups. In fact, I founded my first startup when I was 16 years old and have continued to be part of entrepreneurial ecosystems ever since.
Involved, inspired and driven
Olivia has spent every summer in Europe since she was two, which helped influence her decision to attend a European university. During her high school days, she attended a private catholic school and then a public school without exchange options. This left her feeling disappointed as she had seen what semesters abroad can be like from videos and vlogs. Her mother joked that she could study at a university abroad, and Olivia was determined to make that a reality.
When she was just fourteen, she began searching for the top business universities in Europe, and IE University quickly made it onto her list. She received a scholarship to attend the IE Summer Program for junior and senior high school students and, in summer of 2017, spent two weeks with 50 other prospective students—many of whom she is studying with today. Besides its high level of diversity, Olivia was most interested in the thread of entrepreneurship that runs through every program at IE University.
When she was in high school, Olivia started a travel app startup and has been involved in different entrepreneurial ecosystems ever since. Her work for early-stage startups didn’t go unnoticed, and she became a recipient of the IE Scholarship for Young Entrepreneurs. Olivia’s intentions were to study the Dual Degree in Business Administration + International Relations, but she changed her path and is now a third year Bachelor in International Relations student. She believes her degree choice gives her a unique profile for her future applications and interviews compared to applicants who study business administration.
What’s more, Olivia feels that the degree has exposed her to historical and cultural situations that allow her to analyze how industry players respond. She’s drawn the conclusion that the world has transformed and continues to do so, noting that key political players are those who allow for innovation and societal changes to take place.
Making the most of the opportunities presented to her, Olivia has been incredibly involved during her time at IE University. Her first year she participated in the IE Mentorship Society, served on the staff at the Startup Grind Madrid x IE University Chapter, volunteered at IExperience events, and found time to do even more. Each of these activities has brought her closer to deciding her future path. In her second and third years, Olivia served as a team leader, the social media manager for The Stork, and was part of the IE EdTech Club and IE Campus Life, among other activities.
Her time at IE University has helped her in both her personal and professional growth. For example, she once received an email from the Careers Department, which provided information on the United Nations’ Cybersecurity Innovation Challenge. This would turn out to be a life-changing event. She and two friends decided to make a proposal even though they knew every little about cybersecurity and its usage in counterterrorism. Despite this, their proposal ended up being one of 13 selected to compete in a Hackathon at the UN in Vienna, Austria.
Olivia thrives when doing a lot of things at once and her third year is a perfect example of that. She has been keeping busy while she continues her studies, including working with IE Campus Life and completing remote internships for early-stage tech startups. Next on the list is to start her remote summer internship with L’Oreal USA, while simultaneously completing her social media management internship at the Polish, early-stage psychometric recruitment startup, Gyfted.
When looking to the future, Olivia is focused most on a career in marketing for tech, but is also interested in venture development and policy. She thrives in agile, creative environments and would love to live in a startup-driven city like Berlin or San Francisco. She considers herself a complete entrepreneur, and is certain that she will be able to leverage her acquired skills towards creating ventures of her own—with the goal of one day investing in other high-potential startups.
As for her degree in International Relations, she plans to politically consult on R&D policies. She has experience working with people who do this, and would like her consulting role to take off within the next 15 years. Deeply fascinated by the policies that are emerging specifically in response to social media campaigns, fake news, digitalization and tech in the case of security, she would like to work somewhere in the intersection between innovation and governance.
Outside of her studies, Olivia loves walking around and simply exploring. She lives life by Steve Jobs’ idea that, “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.” Olivia has big aspirations and we believe she will go on to do great things.