From marketing student to CEO of a successful digital start-up, RMIT graduate Anthony Svirskis shares his career journey.
After completing the Bachelor of Business (Marketing) followed by an Honours year, Svirskis is now CEO of TRIBE, a marketplace where brands can easily invite and brief social influencers to activate powerful 1:1 campaigns and engage audiences they’re desperate to reach.
What started your passion for the digital industry?
When I studied at RMIT, digital marketing as an entire industry was in its infancy, so there was very little coursework around the power of online marketing or even email marketing.
The pleasing aspect is that despite no specific tools being covered when I was at university, the foundation of digital marketing is underpinned by traditional marketing; so the marketing theories we learned are now simply applied through a digital medium.
The immediate advantage of digital marketing is attribution and accountability which suits my affinity for numbers. Since being involved in the industry it has always felt like a natural fit for me.
What made you decide to continue your studies with an Honours year?
In the early 2000s there was a mini-slump in the marketing industry that made the regular work placement opportunities limited. As a result I chose to add a more focused year of studies to my education and bypassed the industry-based learning.
While at university I was initially very keen to get into sport marketing so I felt undertaking an Honours year and writing an in-depth thesis in this area would be a good entry point.
It definitely helped and I got a role in sports marketing while completing my final year, although my career focus changed a year or so after that.
I look favourably at resumes with any postgrad studies as it shows a strong desire, concentration and focus in a particular field – important attributes I like to see in candidates.
Are there any key moments in your career that really challenged you?
A couple of years after I finished University I left Australia and headed to Europe with some vague ideas about what I wanted to do but largely leaving the plan undefined.
I ended up spending seven years in Europe and started a couple of businesses in Eastern Europe. This gave me a considerably broad business experience with obvious challenges around starting and growing a business, as well as doing it in a foreign country.
In taking this plunge, I bypassed the common route of seeking a graduate role and developing a career the more traditional way.
In my opinion, it’s a path which pays off in two ways; firstly in the potential rewards if you can establish a successful business; and secondly in the experience you acquire from entrepreneurship which can far outweigh what a large corporate can offer.
This experience acceleration will pay dividends later in your career. In my role at TRIBE, there are challenges every day and I feel privileged that the requirement to learn and grow is so tangible on a daily basis.
What are your top tips for students who want to get into the start-up world?
Network. It’s the single most important thing you can do, and needs to be approached not with the mindset of immediate results, but with the perspective of your career.
For start-up specifically, there’s plenty of events run by companies, industry bodies and government departments that are a great place to meet like-minded individuals.
The next step is taking a leap of faith with an idea and making it a reality. As daunting as this can be, there’s no easier time to do it than your early career given you are less likely to have too many personal obligations.
Furthermore, the support networks, incubators and mentorship programs on offer are a great way to surround yourself with a network and infrastructure to give you the highest chance for success.
Story: Ainslie Logsdon