Elena is a firm believer in the transformative power of education in shaping lives, and it is this conviction that has inspired her career.
When she immigrated with her young family from Russia to Australia in 2012, Elena was excited to be embarking on a fresh adventure and eager to pursue her long-term goal of obtaining a master’s degree. Having left behind a successful career in journalism and public relations, the University of Sydney Business School’s Master of Marketing aligned perfectly with her criteria. Highly regarded, and with an admission requirement of at least three years’ professional experience, the program offered a valuable opportunity to broaden her understanding of the subject matter while learning from local peers with industry experience.
“My goals were clear,” Elena recalls: “to enhance and expand my professional knowledge and skills, and to establish a strong professional network to support my future endeavours.”
The program experience exceeded these expectations.
“My affiliation with the University of Sydney Business School connected me to a valuable network of faculty, alumni and industry professionals that has provided numerous opportunities for mentorship, collaboration and industry insights, all of which have been instrumental in my professional journey,” she explains.
The challenges and experiences gained during my course of study also improved my resilience and adaptability, all of which are valuable qualities in both my personal and professional life.
For Elena, it was one particular experience at the Business School that had a profound impact on her career and personal life.
“During my time there, I was offered a remarkable opportunity by Professor Emerita Pennie Frow to manage a blog for the Master of Marketing program. At that time, my English proficiency was still a work in progress, and my understanding of the local marketing landscape was limited,” she remembers.
“Managing the blog enabled me to expand my professional network significantly and granted me access to a wealth of knowledge about the local marketing sector in a relatively short period. This unexpected opportunity not only enhanced my writing and communication skills but also deepened my understanding of the industry’s intricacies.”
Being entrusted with the responsibility of managing the program’s blog impacted her career trajectory far beyond her immediate academic pursuits.
“It played a pivotal role in shaping my career trajectory and fostering a sense of personal growth,” she says. “It not only prepared me for my career by honing my skills and expanding my knowledge but also instilled in me the belief that with determination and the right support, I can overcome any obstacles that come my way. Looking back, I am truly grateful for this unexpected and transformative experience.”
Now co-founder and Marketing Director of CODE4FUN, Elena says she finds herself “constantly” drawing on the knowledge and experiences she gained during her time at the Business School. “Whether it’s developing effective marketing strategies, making informed business decisions or fostering growth and innovation, I am able to directly apply the skills and insights acquired from my studies.”
CODE4FUN equips young students with the skills they’ll need to thrive in the digital age, through fun and engaging face-to-face classes across NSW as well as online classes that extend its reach throughout Australia and beyond. The company began in 2015 with a free trial lesson in a rented room with laptops purchased from the local Officeworks. It has steadily grown ever since, establishing partnerships with numerous schools and diversifying its delivery formats to expand its reach. A trial partnership with School of the Air is now enriching the education of students living in remote areas.
Our main focus at CODE4FUN is to provide comprehensive, long-term coding courses that enable our students to study with us continuously and coherently for up to 10 years.
Students begin with the basics of coding at the age of 5 and progress through more advanced concepts such as recursive algorithms, nested loops and fractal maths patterns. Several former students of the program are now pursuing university degrees in computer science and other fields. Others have won national STEM competitions and launched commercially viable apps, and at least one has returned to work as a CODE4FUN Lead Coding Teacher while pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering.
Elena explains that the program is not just about teaching technical mastery but about equipping the younger generation with invaluable skills to empower them and shape their future. “Coding fosters logical thinking, analytical abilities and a structured approach to problem solving.” she says. “These skills are not only relevant in the field of technology but also transferable to various aspects of life, nurturing critical thinking and innovation.”
Reflecting on how her own studies at the University of Sydney Business School shaped her career and ultimately her future, Elena says she strongly believes in maintaining an ongoing relationship with the Business School.
“By remaining engaged, I can stay informed about the latest research, industry trends and emerging practices. Additionally, interacting with students and alumni at different stages of their careers allows for a fruitful exchange of ideas and experiences,” she says. “I am also open to the possibility of returning to the Business School as a student in the future. I see it as an avenue for continuous learning and expanding my knowledge in the business field.”
Elena’s time with the Business School has also instilled in her an ongoing curiosity in the way she approaches her career and engages with the world more broadly. When asked what she’s been reading lately to keep abreast of current issues and keep her outlook sharp when it comes to her work, she mentions Yuval Noah Harari’s, Sapiens: A brief history of humankind, Adam Grant’s, Originals: How non-conformists move the world, and Michael Lewis’s, The fifth risk.
To those at an earlier stage of their own career, Elena offers this advice: “Embrace every chance to engage with the business community and make meaningful connections. These relationships can shape your career trajectory, offer unique perspectives on the industry you aspire to be a part of, and unlock opportunities that may not otherwise have been available to you.”