Hawrylko voted one of Norway's best tech-heads
In 2017, NHH graduate Izabella Hawrylko (28) took up a coveted position with Microsoft. Last year, she ended in third place in E24’s ranking of the best tech-heads in the country.
‘The reason I chose NHH was the shipping specialisation at master’s degree level. I've always wanted to work in shipping,’ Izabella Hawrylko says and adds that it took a long time before she abandoned the idea of one day becoming the captain of a ship.
Ever since she was little, she has dreamed of walking in her father’s footsteps. He was the captain of a ship and Hawrylko developed a great interest in the maritime field.
A background in start-ups
‘I have a background in start-ups and I also received a job offer from a start-up in Kuala Lumpur, but I chose Microsoft because I knew that I could contribute to positive changes for society, and also within the company.’
She had signed a contract with Microsoft already before graduating from NHH. She didn't know a lot about technology, but she became familiar with the opportunities in the company when she was head of CEMS at NHH.
Solution Specialist Data & AI
‘I was responsible for organising seminars and events alongside CEMS partners, and one of these was Microsoft. They had just started recruiting students to the Aspire Program, which is the company's graduate programme. I got a very good impression of the company,’ Hawrylko explains.
Today, she is Solution Specialist Data & AI at Microsoft Norway.
In her job at Microsoft, Hawrylko introduced a new global programme – Microsoft for Startups – in Norway. She established a team tasked with helping Norwegian start-ups that use the programme.
Top three management talents in 2020
In 2020, she came third in E24’s ranking of management talents in the category ‘Tech-head of the year’. She personally believes that the experience she acquired from leading the start-up team was the most important reason she did so well in the ranking.
‘Ending up so high on the list was a great start to the year. It was also very surprising, however. It was a long and thorough process in which we reflected on our own management style and how to build a team.’
Hawrylko decided to set herself even higher goals for 2021.
Energy and motivation
‘I believe that if you try to connect what you feel passionate about with your interest in the job, you will create a lot of good energy and motivation that will yield results, and you will stand out. For me this is start-ups – it’s something I’m passionate about.’
The programme she is heading is developed on the basis of the Norwegian start-up environment and the needs of Norwegian entrepreneurs. In an interview with Shifter.no, Hawrylko explains that a master’s degree project from NHH was one of the things that gave them some insight into these needs.
Through master’s degree project, Microsoft learned that Norwegian start-ups need direct technical support from technology suppliers.
Some advice for the road
As an NHH student, she played an active role on the CEMS board, in NHHS Consulting and UKEN.
Five years after completing her master’s degree, she has some important advice for NHH graduates looking for jobs:
‘I believe the most important thing to remember is that you create your own chances. You can’t sit around waiting for the opportunities to come to you. You have to get involved and try many different things, and the opportunities will follow.’
Choose technology courses
Based on her experience of the recruitment process at Microsoft, she believes that the choice of subjects can be important as well. When she was hired, Microsoft focused a lot on the employees being a good match in terms of personality and the ability to learn quickly.
‘Now there’s more focus on the students having a sound technical background, not only at Microsoft, but in companies in other sectors and industries. It's therefore important that you choose technology courses if you can. This will give you an advantage not matter which sector you want to work in. Technology is the future! It’s important to take the technology courses available to you. Just knowing the basic swill give you an advantage,’ she concludes.