In her free time, Michala enjoys sports, mainly running, cycling and circuit training. She also likes travelling and cooking.
You graduated from the Bachelor’s degree programme Business Administration and Sales at ŠKODA Auto University. Why did you choose this field of study and what did you enjoy about it the most? Since high school, I was practically on my own. I had great freedom, but also great responsibility. I did not have anyone who would “push” me forward, impose their ambitions on me or require study results. The choice to go to university was purely mine. I chose ŠKODA AUTO University because of my life-long interest in cars, even if that could seem a bit odd. The idea of getting “under the hood” of the automotive industry was attractive and also felt like a dream come true. At the time of my application, there were only two fields of study in the Bachelor’s degree programme. The first 4 semesters were the same for everyone, then we could choose between the “economic” and “technical” specialisations. I eventually chose the “economic” one because of my then employment in a tax and audit company.
Your form of study was part-time. Was it difficult to combine your work and study duties? Originally, I was admitted to full-time study, but it soon became apparent that it would be very demanding both in terms of time and costs as I would have to commute from Prague every day. Fortunately, the school allowed me to switch to the part-time form and I went to the university every other Friday afternoon and all day on Saturday. I always had to compensate for my Friday’s absence at work, I used my holidays for exam dates and my free weekends were sacrificed for the sake of studying and writing term papers. I partially worked while at high school already, so I was able to imagine the difficulty of such a schedule, however, the reality was even more demanding than that. Working in one of the leading tax firms is demanding even on its own. Moreover, the study itself was not easy. I had to take extra lessons for some of the courses.
If you could retake one of the courses here, which one would it be?An entire course? In each course, there were things I liked and things I did not like. Some went smooth and others made me struggle. I was surprised that I liked maths, although I must admit that this was the most demanding in terms of extra studying, and I only managed all this thanks to a studying partnership I created with my classmate Tomáš Růžička and our great tutor Marek Valášek. I still like mathematics. I also enjoyed courses which had an immediate effect on my work – tax and accounting. This allowed me to confirm once again that studying at ŠKODA AUTO University is demanding. I consulted the examples from accounting we did during our studies with our internal trainer at work, she also gave these examples to new employees, recent graduates from those fields and almost nobody was able to solve them.
What do you remember most fondly about your studies? Do you keep in touch with your classmates?I suppose that strong ties between students are not that common in part-time study. After all, you don’t spend much time together. Definitely not free time. I do keep in touch with my “buddy from extra classes” and I like to remember our trips from Prague to Boleslav and back. I discovered a friend in him and somebody with whom I could share the burden of studying and working at the same time. Under the same kind of load, he also had to find the time for his family as he did not want his work and studies to take this time away from him. I also like to remember Ms. Svobodová and Ms. Šťastná from the student affairs department, who were always very helpful.
Many people believe that our graduates can work only in the automotive industry. You currently work in CISCO, one of the largest computer companies. How did you get to this job and what are your responsibilities?I believe that the most important thing is to be open to new possibilities and challenges. Education is a foundation on which you can build and without it, my career would be much more complicated and some opportunities would not come my way at all. However, it does not have to predefine your career path. It is only up to you, your dreams and goals. Cisco is about technology, about finding ways to succeed in a globalized world. This is a challenge for many companies and on a smaller scale also for each individual. I work as a Project Coordinator at Cisco. I am responsible for the organisation and preparation of different conferences, meetings and other events across Europe. In fact, I am not employed by Cisco ČR, but by EMEAR Partner Organization, consisting of an international team of people. My other duties include creating and editing internal websites for different divisions within Cisco. It is a platform that works as a social network and is called Cisco Jive. It can be used not only to share information, but also for interaction between the different organisations. My work at Cisco is proof that you must pursue your goals, but also remain open to new possibilities and challenges. After a long time searching and numerous interviews in different companies, I was contacted by Cisco with a job offer. You could say that I was lucky and this job fell into my lap. However, if I had not been ready, it would not have come.