Natasa (Jovanovic) Kuzmanovic

It was great being a part of the “Blackburn family” for four years, as I always felt like a part of something. It was not easy being ten thousand miles away from home, but great friends, professors, and staff ensured that I never felt like a “foreigner.” On the contrary, I always felt I belonged at Blackburn. The distinctiveness of my college experience, aside from studying in another language, was that I had the opportunity to be a part of the student-managed Work Program, and more importantly that during my junior and senior year I served as the Academic Services Department Manager.

Now, 15 years later, I remember invaluable lessons learned about leading and managing others. While managing a department of 96 workers was very challenging at the time, the value of what I learned in return was definitely worth the “pain.” I learned that when it comes to communications and managing people “there is always room to grow.” Of course I made mistakes and had a lot to learn. It was not easy, but I was guided to learn the importance of being open to all constructive criticism. I have never forgotten that advice and challenge myself every day to be a better manager. My experience at Blackburn College not only enabled me to obtain a degree and excel in my academic work, but more importantly, gave me “hands on experience” from which I learned and developed as a person and a manager. Today, I am in charge of communications of UniCredit in Serbia, a leading European commercial bank with more than 155,000 employees in 20 countries and I am sure that I would not have come so far if I had not made my “first steps” in Blackburn College’s Work Program.