"I volunteered to serve food, collect items to send to Ukraine and helped to facilitate dance workshops at the Ukrainian festival. All in one week, I met 500+ Ukrainians in the Copenhagen area and felt proud that I could do at least something to help my fellow brothers and sisters." explains Amelia regarding devoting a week to helping Ukraine

Amelia Kovalenko is educated in PBA Business Economics and IT in 2020. Today she works as a Business Transformation consultant for Financial Services at EY, and is a former associate consultant. at Danske Bank. We spoke to her about her time at KEA and her career.

Q & A:

About KEA...

Q: In one word, how would you describe KEA?  
A: "Eye-opening would be the word. The Business and IT PBA gave so many insights into different topics and was general in some way. It helped to learn more about both business and IT and their branches. It would not be suitable if a person were interested in becoming a specialist in one specific thing, but it was a good start for me, who wanted to learn about both worlds."

Q: What was your favourite class and/or who was your favourite teacher?
A: "I have a love-hate relationship with the systems development class, as it was difficult to grasp but extremely interesting and helpful when I comprehended it. My favourite teacher was Kim C. Juhl, the way he explained technical terms and processes in a simple language sparked my interest in IT and showed that it was not as unreachable for me as I thought." 

Q: What is your fondest memory of KEA? E.g., a funny story from your studies at KEA.  
A: "My fondest memory was winning a KEA Charette design competition in 2018, which I registered for despite having no experience in design. I was probably the only one from a business and IT PBA, whereas all other students were from design educations. Those were challenging and demanding five days, where in the end, we had to present a design solution to bring communities together in Nordvest. My team was diverse; we were guys and girls from Lithuania, the USA, Canada, the Netherlands, and Ukraine. It was a great experience, as some were interior designers, some were graphic designers or architectors, and I with a business and IT background. We came up with a simple solution, but its simplicity helped us win the design competition." 

Q: If you could go back in time to change one thing in your KEA studies, what would it be and why?  
A: "I wish I would have attended more social events organised by KEA and taken a more active part in contributing to the social life at KEA. I worked at the dance school in the evenings and weekends, so it was hard for me to participate when the other students were free. I regret it now, as I have missed some opportunities to enjoy student life with a beer on Friday and meet new people." 

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Career Related...

Q: What was your first job after graduating from KEA and how did you acquire it?  
A: "I was working at Danske Bank as an Associate Consultant, also focusing on process work as I do now. I converted to this position after being a student consultant in the bank for six months. However, I knew that I would like to continue studying and get a Master's; therefore, I agreed that I would work full-time in the bank and, after seven months, will return to university to finish my Master's."

Q: What did you want to be when you were younger and how does it correspond with what you are doing today?  
A: "When I was younger, I was very creative and more artistic than I am now. I imagined myself being a singer or actress at an earlier stage and a president later in my childhood. My singing and acting career have never started, as first, I am a terrible singer, and second, if I think about it now, I have never been a great actress even though there could be a bit more potential. A career in politics has never begun either, so I ended up having a completely different job. Honestly, I do not regret it and think I have made the right choice, but I look forward to joining a theatre club someday and continuing dancing in my free time." 

Q: What is a typical day like as Associate Consultant at Danske Bank?  
A: "Covid has changed everything, but working part-time, I would still be in the office at least once a week. For my team, it is on Wednesdays when we would all come to the office in Høje Taastrup. I would usually be there around 8 to have at least an hour before my meetings start. I would then get a black coffee and look through my calendar and emails to know what the day would be like. Then, I would either start working on the tasks or attend project-related meetings. In the bank where I work, we are all assigned to different projects, so you often never see in person the people you work with as they are located in another city or a country. On Wednesdays, my team would usually eat lunch together. After, I would have a bi-weekly 1:1 meeting with my manager where we would talk about the status of my tasks or development-related matters. When the whole team is in the office, we would also have a team meeting that day where the facilitator would bring cake. After the meeting, I would usually devote my time to finishing up the tasks for the day and getting an overview of the things happening the day after." 

Q: What is your favourite thing about your career?
A: "I like that I learn a lot about the inner workings of the bank and its processes, as my background does not have a strong relation to banking. Also, I enjoy that the CoE [Process Delivery Center of Excellence] works with various projects within the bank where I work with different banking areas. The ones I have worked with so far were estate handling and pension, real estate, anti-money laundering., and debt management." 

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About you... 

Q: Can you tell us something funny/quirky about yourself and how you use it in your daily life? E.g., a skill or something only a few people know about you. 
A: "I tend to be an open book and tell people a lot about myself and my skills. Not sure if it would be quirky, but I can rotate my arms almost 360 degrees when having only a 20 cm distance between my hands." 

Q: What is your favorite book to read or podcast to listen to? 
A: "My favourite podcast is Børsen Morgenbriefing, as I can listen to it in the morning and be aware of all the main highlights for the day. From the books, I fell in love with the novel about Ukrainian Romeo and Juliet by Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, called Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors." 

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment, and why? 
A: "My proudest accomplishment is very recent. After delivering the thesis, I devoted one week to helping Ukraine and it showed me how much one could do if setting some time aside to help others. During the week, I volunteered to serve food, collect items to send to Ukraine and helped to facilitate dance workshops at the Ukrainian festival. All in one week, I met 500+ Ukrainians in the Copenhagen area and felt proud that I could do at least something to help my fellow brothers and sisters." 

Q: If you could choose to do anything for a day, what could it be, and why?
A: "I would love to have an opportunity to teleport from one place to another and travel through time. I think such a journey can expand my perception of the current reality, make me appreciate more what I have now and become more knowledgeable about what our planet is and has been." 

Q: If you could share a meal with any four individuals, living or dead, who would they be and why? 
A: "I would share a meal with Salvador Dali, as I have always admired his art, and I am curious to see how he would be in reality. I would also invite Madam C.J. Walker to learn more about what she went through to set up her business. Homer would be the next on the list to hear more about his life, ancient times and what inspired him. Lastly, I would invite Bohdan Stupka, a famous Ukrainian activist and actor who was one of the most talented Ukrainian actors." 

Q: What advice would you give KEA students or fellow KEA Alumni? 
A: "I would advise KEA students and Alumni to be open-minded, curious, and kind. Try out new things, and attend events offered by KEA and the Alumni groups, as you have a chance to meet so many people. It can be interesting to develop a new skill or hear a story from someone with a different professional background than the one you have."

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