Strutting down the catwalk during fall 2014’s Paris Fashion Week, Yuliya Shvets is clothed in a simple black dress created by French designer, Rochas.
She has spent all season meeting stylists and befriending the biggest names in fashion.
After Paris, she jets off to New York, frequently travelling around and outside of Europe, making stops in Asia and gracing the magazine covers of Vogue Portugal, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and more, as well as modelling for Chanel, Roberto Cavalli, and DKNY.
Yuliya was living the dream for nine years after being scouted in her hometown of Mozyr, Belarus, during a beauty contest at the age of 18. Yet modelling wasn’t her dream.
She entered modelling after postponing a bachelor’s degree in economics and management. But the time came when she decided it was time to dedicate herself to higher education. An MBA was on the cards, and she enrolled at MIP Politecnico di Milano School of Management (MIP).
This Italian business school helped her transition from catwalks and fashion shoots to her current role as a business analyst for Business Integration Partners, based in Milan.
We caught up with Yuliya to find out how the MBA helped her switch careers.
Why did you leave the fashion industry?
Modelling was a beautiful chance to travel and work at the same time. I always knew I could finish my studies, but there wouldn’t always be a chance to be a model, so I decided to take the chance and postpone my studies a little bit.
At some point as I was working, I knew I had to go back to my studies. I was bored and wanted to learn more. I could have been a model for a while but in terms of age, modelling offers a much shorter career, and I wanted a long-term career.
I started to look into what I would like. I asked the people around me what they do and what their jobs were like. I had a lot of friends who were doing consulting and from how they were describing the job, it was very similar to what I was doing, with different projects and clients.
Why an MBA?
I wanted a 360-degree knowledge of business, which I thought was important for consulting, because you can get projects in different industries and for different functions. You get better offers after an MBA compared to a masters.
Many people thought it wouldn’t be possible because of the requirements and work experience you need to get an MBA, but I decided to look into how to get to where I wanted to be, and the MBA seemed to be the perfect match.
How did your MBA at MIP help you switch careers?
The university was very strong on preparing you for interviews, explaining the job market, and the right behavior when working with companies. It was something that was very new for me as I’ve never been to an interview in my life.
Even now, I go back to my notes from my MBA to look at the methodologies and frameworks during my finance, strategy, and project management classes for my job. It has helped me to be proactive, because in an MBA most people do it not to just get a degree, but because they are really curious.
It’s an environment of people who are willing to learn a lot and where everybody is competitive. This mentality helps me in my current job, to remind myself to always be proactive, never stop learning, and just go for it.
During the teamwork assignments, we often had to deliver projects in very limited time with classmates from different backgrounds, with different points of view, different temperaments, and coming from different cultures. It was a personal challenge, but it helped me to improve my soft skills by learning from other people and from my own mistakes.
What tips would you give to professionals who want to switch careers?
It is possible to have a career change and start working in business even if your experience is not related to business. Many people, including headhunters, were skeptical about whether I was going to make it, however here I am, and I have achieved my goal of working as a consultant.
I would suggest to all prospective applicants to work hard on their dream, because it pays off, and of course believe in yourself and never stop learning. Thanks to the MBA, I have transformed from a model from a small town in Belarus to a business analyst in an Italian consulting company, in just in one year.
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MIP Politecnico Di Milano
Milan - Italy