Maja Markovic joined BIE as an Associate Researcher in the People & Culture Leadership Team in 2021 and was recently promoted to Consultant. We chatted to Maja about her passion for search, why being humble and persistent at work is important and why harvest time is such a special family tradition.  

What’s your philosophy in life and work?

It might sound cliché, but I would say that it’s to work hard and play hard.  I think a healthy balance between working smart and spending time with people (colleagues, family and friends) who will help you to be successful is the answer.

What’s your greatest source of job satisfaction?

Supporting each other and working within a team, collaborating and making an impact. Personal development is really important to me too. And getting to know so many interesting people and hearing their stories. They can make you feel sometimes that everything is possible if your mindset is right!

What have you learnt along the way?

To always stay humble and try to learn something from the people you meet. No matter if it’s good or bad, it’s always a great lesson for the future.

What are your career highlights or ‘defining moments’?

It was at BIE’s Christmas awards last year when I was chosen by my colleagues to be the second best researcher at BIE – I felt very honoured.

And getting to work in executive search. Before this, I wanted to be a police detective, so I studied criminal justice and security. Somehow, I’ve ended up doing a similar job but searching for the right candidates for our clients.

What professional successes are you most proud of?

It always feels great to place a candidate and hear how happy they are in their new job (from the candidate) and how much impact they’ve made in the company (from the client). For me, this is the best part of the job. As our Managing Director, Simon Moore said, “Making dreams come true.” 😊

Describe your professional style

My approach is very team-oriented, learning-focused and result-driven. I like to contribute as much as I can and come up with new ideas and approaches to find the best solutions. I’m persistent and flexible, and I always try to find a way to get things done efficiently.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard or been given?

The best advice was from my father who said that no matter how hard or difficult a situation gets, always think and stay positive.  Another was from a teacher in primary school. She said that it’s better to feel stupid for the moment when you ask a “silly” question than to not ask and stay stupid for the rest of your life.  

What top tip would you give to people looking to move up in their career?

Make sure you work for an organisation that makes you feel valued, trusted and where you can develop yourself. Having exposure and responsibilities will help you to grow professionally. If you’re not in a supportive environment and you constantly need to prove yourself, then just leave. Don’t waste your time there.

How would you sum up the BIE culture?

I simply love it! It’s a place where people are genuinely nice, willing to help and encouraging, and where you can be who you are - no one judges you. As a team, we like to deliver high quality work but also have some fun at the same time, and I believe this is what a healthy working culture should be like.

Name an interesting fact about yourself.

Can I give two? I learnt how to shoot with a real gun at university. I also trained in baton twirling until I was 15.

What's your favourite family tradition?

I never thought I would say this, as it’s such hard work and I hated it when I was little, but I love harvest time! I grew up in Slovenia, and the harvest brings the whole community together. And we got to produce wine, which I love.

If you could pick up a new skill in an instant, what would it be?

Flying – I could see so much, explore new places and visit my friends all around the world!


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