Mateja Križnjak

Mateja Križnjak

Mateja, tell us something about yourself.

I study Business Economics at the Faculty of Economics and Business in Rijeka, International Business programme. I also study part-time at the Faculty of Law in Rijeka. I am a person of wide interest, and I am especially interested in social responsibility projects.


You mentioned you are a student at two faculties. How did you come to that decision and how do you coordinate your student responsibilities with your additional, free time activities?

Law and Economics are two areas that go together nowadays, so it seemed a good choice, especially under the given circumstances – I was given the opportunity to enroll in the Faculty of Economics and Business while I was already studying at the Faculty of Law. My decision proved to be a good one; the Faculty of Economics and Business fulfilled all my expectations and left me with enough time for my private activities with its additional content and class organization.

The most important thing is the organisation of time. This is the basis, together with the regular fulfillment of obligations. I mustn't relax, because it could cost me my hard work at some point. Another important thing is compensation, you compensate with time. Sometimes you plan extra time for an activity, sometimes you make an activity shorter than planned. Basically, when one is persistent and has the ambition and the will to achieve his/ her goal, then there is no dilemma.


The Dean's Award is a proof that effort and all additional activities are not in vain.


You were granted with the Dean's Award for activism. What does this award mean to you?

The Dean's Award for activism is a proof that effort and all additional activities are not in vain. When one invests into him-/ herself and his/ her personal development, it must pay off. The Dean's Award for activism is an acknowledgment of such investment. Besides, it also confirms that the community you are active in recognizes your work and effort and is willing to reward it, encouraging you in your future activities.


Which of your activities would you like to highlight and why?

Certainly BBICC- Belgrade Business International Case Competition. It is an international case study competition which was held in April last year. My team and I were given the opportunity to participate because of our former successes at case study competitions. BBICC is one of the greatest competitions worldwide and as such, it is a valuable experience which gives you an opportunity to compare your competences with the competences of participants from the most famous foreign Universities. It also gives you an opportunity to establish links and connections with other participants, to meet new cultures...


You also won the 1st place at International Video Pitch last year. What did it feel like to participate in this international competition?

International Video Pitch adds an extra dimension to the competition – not only do you need to come up with a good idea, you also need to make a video with the help of which you will present your idea. You need to put some effort in this additional activity, because if you have a good idea which is not presented well, your idea may not be recognized as a successful one.


The purpose of my first conference was to encourage young people to be bold and proactive, to grow and develop, to face failures and to create their career stories.


You and your colleague won with RiTus at a local level, which took you further to the international level. Do you still develop the project?

We were delighted with the RiTus project and we had a strong wish to carry it out. At the moment we are not working on it, we left it behind because of the other projects we are working on, but we did not exclude the possibility of carrying it out at some point in the future.


Do you intend to apply this year? Do you have any advice for your colleagues?

We have an idea and a concept and we would like to apply. There is little time left for application and I hope we will manage to apply, considering our other obligations.

As to my colleagues, I would definitely recommend the application. The competition encourages creativity and it is a new experience. Even if your idea doesn't work out, you will get a feedback based on which you can improve your idea next year.


You are active in your local community. Can you tell us something about the activities you do there?

My first conference "Mind the Gap” was held on Friday, 1 March in Sračinec Municipality where I live. The conference gathered exceptional speakers with respectable career stories. The aim of the conference was to encourage young people to be bold and proactive, to grow and develop, to face failures and to create their career stories. My desire was to show young people, especially students, the aspect of informal education which generally takes place within bigger Universities and centres, so a lot of young and ambitious people from smaller municipalities do not have this opportunity. The conference was international, considering the speakers from Slovenia, and it gathered public people, as well as subjects who offer training and lifelong learning education.

I recently encouraged an initiative and came up with the new Student Grant Decision in Sračinec Municipality which promotes rewarding students' additional activities during their studies. There is still room for improvement, but it is a big step forward regarding the last Decision, based solely on GPA.

I am currently also working on establishing the new Youth Council of Sračinec Municipality. The Youth Council is an advisory body of the local government, aiming at involving young people in local politics and making decisions within it. My personal goal is to encourage the students from the municipality in a greater social engagement and in taking part in local community projects through the Youth Council. I was previously involved in the work of associations within my municipality, where I took part in numerous activities, from an amateur theater to leadership activities and working with children.


I firmly believe that one can succeed in Croatia and that young people are the key of this success.


What is your motivation?

I am motivated first of all by the bad economic and political climate present at the Republic of Croatia, which is demotivating for a young person who needs to develop his/ her personality, but also career. Maybe it's my (in)experience, but I firmly believe that one can succeed in Croatia and that young people are the key of this success. Young people are the most powerful group in our society which can influence the changes in society, but sadly, they are extremely inert and do not dare to step out and express their opinion. If I can influence at least one person with my example and the things I do, then I consider this a success. The other part of my motivation comes from my parents who have been encouraging the right values from my childhood. They always supported my decisions and invested in my personal development.


Which message do you have for your colleagues?

Be bold, dare asking questions and think outside the box. You are the creator of your own opportunities and your (better) future depends only on you.


Where do you see yourself in five years?

From my current point of view, I would like to develop in HR sector. I like to work with people, encourage them to become a better version of themselves, although it's very challenging, but I like thinking about what drives them, motivates them, makes them succeed or give up. The HR sector is an extremely wide area which makes you develop constantly. I think this would be an additional challenge, but also a great satisfaction. We will see, maybe in the end I will do something quite contrary to the above.




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