Merging commerce and arts for a dream job

Head shot of Nicole Kiprovec

4 minute read

The Australian National University’s (ANU) College of Business and Economics (CBE) alumna Nicole Koprivec graduated from ANU in 2021 with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing, as well as a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Sociology.

She currently works as a Marketing Assistant for Canberra start-up business, MIIROKO, a hair-colour company. In this role, Nicole contributes to public relations, marketing, social-media and web advertising, and content creation.

Alongside that position, Nicole continues to work for a Sydney hair salon The Mane Space, where she has worked since she was 16 years old. She is now in a remote Marketing Coordinator role with the salon. In July 2022, The Mane Space launched their rebranded space, with Nicole leading activities for website interface redesign, promotional content and events.

In this interview, Nicole explains her decision process to study at ANU, and how it completely transformed her career prospects.

Q. Previously you expressed your reluctance to go to university because you wanted to focus on your passion in hairdressing. What convinced you to enrol at ANU?

My parents insisted on me having an incredible and new experience at the top university in Australia. Enrolling was something I had to push myself to do, because at 17 years old, I couldn’t really see a link between university education and my passion for hairdressing. To be honest, it wasn’t until after a year into studying that I saw the excitement in university. I had to persevere, but once I got over that roadblock and understood my purpose of being there, everything seemed to make sense.

Q. Why did you decide to do a double degree, and how did you choose the degrees you studied?

I had a curiosity of learning. I loved high school, and loved choosing six subjects that were completely unrelated, but would give me a broad spectrum of learning. I wanted to continue this at ANU. I don’t like the idea of specialising in one area, and the double degree allowed me to expand my scope of learning. On one hand, I learned about business and marketing, and on the other hand, in the arts degree, I learned about the history of social interactions, wars, and criminal justice systems. I truly believe this knowledge has enabled me to conceptualise topics in the world a different way and helps me helps me excel in my job.

Q. You mentioned that even before your studies were completed you were talking about your future goals – merging hairdressing with your studies. Did your goals remain the same or were they constantly evolving the more you learned?

The Bachelor degree changed how I perceived my limits in the professional world. I realised I was not confined only to the practical skills of hairdressing – I have capabilities to understand and grow the business side of things. The more I saw the possibilities of a prosperous and successful future, the more my goals broadened. However, although my goals evolved, they still came back to the central focus that I knew would make me happy – hairdressing.

Q. How has your study informed your work, and do you believe you’ll be able to apply your studies in whatever career you pursue?

Yes. I apply frameworks from the commerce degree in my job. I constantly remember or refer back to marketing and consumer theories that I learned in class. Dr. Hughes (who taught Strategic Marketing and Advertising) gave me the most valuable marketing lessons that allowed me to see a theoretical side, as well as practical skills that I now apply in my profession. I recommend looking at course content and choosing subjects that have this offering. This kind of study lets you configure business solutions with a foundation. If you use this foundation from studies, mixed with your own creative ideas, you have the perfect recipe for success.

Q. Throughout your double degree, you continued to work part-time at a hair salon in Manly, Sydney. What tips do you have for students on effective time management and balancing your studies with other pursuits?

I believe organisation is the key to success. It’s important not to exhaust yourself. Have an organised schedule, think ahead and prioritise what’s important week by week. Also, do part-time work that you’re passionate about, rather than something that makes you come home and think ‘oh, great, now I need to go onto the next task I don’t want to do’. It becomes a constant cycle of negativity and demotivation. Find a job you love, an industry you’re passionate about and work in it to pay the bills, and interact with new people.

Enjoy your university experience while you have it. Use this time to learn about the world, form new educated views and make lifelong friends. The degree at ANU will set you up with what you need to get an incredible job at the end of the road.

The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs. Click here for more details.