Starting your own business in advertising, marketing and PR.
|28 Jul 2018|
|WM Summer 2018 edition|
WM: In what manner did the International Baccalaureate prepare you for your future studies?
RM: After AISB I went to Ecole Hoteliere De Lausanne (EHL) in Switzerland, where I got my Bachelors Degree in International Hotel Management and specialized in Marketing. The more I studied and worked in the marketing and communications field, the more I wanted to learn about it so I then pursued my Masters in Marketing and Creativity at Ecole Superieure De Commerce De Paris (ESCP) Europe in London and Paris.
I think it was only when I started EHL that I fully realised how well AISB had prepared me for studying abroad, both on an educational and personal level. First of all, I was fully prepared for all of my academic courses and I can’t even imagine how hard it would have been to learn business or math terms in English for the first time had I not have attended AISB. Secondly, and probably most importantly, I felt prepared on a personal level; already accustomed to a highly international community, I had no problem adapting to a new and diverse community. Another thing that helped me was that at AISB, compared to the Romanian system, we focused a lot on teamwork, be it in class or during extra-curricular activities. With 80% of our university projects being team-oriented, I can only imagine how hard it would have been for me to adapt, without having previously cultivated the necessary soft skills for such projects.
MW: Leaving to study abroad and working outside of your home country is an experience for everyone, how did you adapt when returning back to Romania?
RM: Coming back after 6 years was not easy, not because I did not like Bucharest, but because I really missed France and Switzerland. However, I did start working in advertising only a month after my return and once I did that I started discovering a whole new side of Bucharest. I met new people, went to very hip places and events, very similar to the ones I would go to in Paris. The city gradually grew on me.
What was very different and hard to adapt to was the working environment. I feel that, compared to Switzerland and France, where I had worked before, Romanians put less emphasis on soft skills and on management training. I believe this was one of the main reasons behind deciding to start my own advertising agency - I could not really change the environment in existing companies, but I could start one from scratch, more relaxed and more focused on employee development and recognition.
WM: You returned to Romania following your studies, however you did not pursue a career in your primary area of study. Why did you choose to shift your career? Please tell us about your experiences working for different public relations agencies.
RM: While I did not go into Hotel Management, I did pursue a career in my area of studies, as I specialised in Marketing & Communications during both my Bachelor’s and Master's degree. As for my career path in Romania, I believe I was very lucky to work for the top two advertising groups in the country - McCann and Lowe. This meant adapting to two different ways of working and environments. But given that I’ve always been set on learning as much as I can from both good and bad experiences, I did manage to gather a lot of “dos and don’ts” when it comes to advertising in general, and also dealing with clients and managing a team.
All in all, I believe that any alumni that decides to come back and start a project in Romania should first experience the local market from an employee’s perspective, for as long as possible, no matter the industry or the background he or she has.
WM: What inspired you to make the leap and start your own business? What are the advantages of this step for you?
RM: I often felt the need for more time, so I could take projects to the next level, to grow professionally and personally. I also really missed the working environment I enjoyed abroad, that would encourage growth and a work-life balance, one that allows you to focus more on quality and new ideas. I believe this is what made me start envisioning my team, my agency and our projects.
However, I believe the tipping point was when I started being pitched by other agencies to build new departments. Then it all clicked - why not build something of my own, guided by my own ideals? So I quit my job, rented a small office and started working on pitching and implementing awesome ideas, offering really good client service (that’s where my hospitality side kicks in) at transparent fees. That is how Line Agency came to be.
WM: What services does your business offer? What plans do you have in the immediate future?
RM: The agency started off as a digital (social media, e-PR, and websites) and events company, guided by the idea of connecting social dots, online and offline. Because our clients were happy with us and wanted our support in other areas of communication and we already had the necessary expertise and workforce, we expanded into the areas of PR, as well as branding, packaging etc. In just one year we gained the status of a full-service advertising agency, from through the line to above and below the line services.
For the next two years, I plan on further expanding our portfolio (and offices hopefully) abroad, as my network is very strong in countries such as Switzerland and France and I believe that we can bring those markets some of this amazing energy the Romanian advertising industry has, at affordable prices.
WM: What is exciting about your work?
RM: Everything! You get to work on new and exciting projects all the time, with people with various backgrounds and brands from different industries - right now we have more than 20 brands in our portfolio, from hospitality to real estate, beauty and luxury. There is also a certain rush that this industry gives you, which I believe would be hard, if not impossible, to find in other fields.
WM: What is your biggest challenge?
RM: I believe the biggest challenge would be the lack of support from the government when it comes to startups, not to mention the taxes. Second would be the job market, at least for the moment. It has been rather hard to find people who have a long-term vision and can recognize growth potential. Nonetheless, I did manage to gather amazing people around me and I hope I’ll be as lucky in the future.
WM: What tips do you have for present students who wish to enter your field of work in the future?
RM: I think my advice would be to focus on learning, no matter the chosen field of work. Pay attention to everything and everyone around you because even a random, overheard conversation can turn out to be helpful one day.
Another thing I would tell them is not to be scared to experiment for a few years. If today you work in hospitality, find a way to jump to banking, marketing or any other field you desire. I promise every experience will turn out to be helpful in the end and one day you’ll look back and see all of those dots connected.
If any of our current or future Alumni wish to experience the field of advertising, we would be more than happy to meet for a coffee. They can find more information about us on our website www.lineagency.co and on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thelineagency/ .
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