The story of E. Makauskaite-Galaburde: after studies – to the head‘s position

Many dreams of a successful career right from the first steps in the job market. Some are lucky sooner, others later, but Emilija Makauskaite-Galaburde, a graduate of Vilnius College of Technologie and Design (VTDK), really has something to tell - as soon as she withdrew her diploma, she got a job as a head.

Makauskaitė GalaburdėE. Makauskaite-Galaburde / Photo from personal archive

2012 was especially memorable year for E. Makauskaite-Galaburde: she not only graduated from the VTDK, but also got a job as the Head of the Graphic Design Department at IKEA. "As the CEO just joked recently, everyone thought he was crazy because he has wanted to hire a very young person for the position of the head, but, as he said, he did not regret this decision nor for a minute," – says the graduate of the Graphic Design study program.

What characterizes your career in "IKEA"?

"IKEA's" organizational structure is rather horizontal: a career is not a rise to a higher position, but an improvement and a "deepening" into one's position as an expert. I have been working as the Head of the Graphic Design Department for eight years now, but the nature of my work has changed over time. I started working alone in this department, now we are a team of five people.

From the beginning, there was a lot of learning and delving into the guidelines of the company’s visual identity, an interpretation how to work with this brand in general. Then there was a very interesting stage of the store planning with the company’s experts and designers in Sweden, the whole stage of a construction and an implementation. This was followed by the creation of processes, the explanation of how to work with various departments in a daily work. And when all the main processes were already clear, development projects started both in Lithuania and in the other Baltic States. An important period was growing up as a leader and understanding what it means to have a team that needs to be nurtured and led forward. This is probably my "horse" at the moment - educating people and spreading the right "IKEA" identity.

You have completed the Graphic Design study program at Vilnius College of Technology and Design. What added value did these studies have for your career?

I think the biggest added value was when these studies helped me to find a job. Just at the time when I was studying in the third year, "IKEA" was preparing to enter the Lithuanian market and was looking for employees. They have been searching for them not only on ad portals, but also in educational institutions. Jonas Malinauskas, the head of the Department of Graphic Design at VTDK, has recommended me, and I am very grateful to him for this. Of course, I probably wouldn't have gotten the job without the my hard work and effort.

Do you have warm or fun memories from study times?

Study years were the most fun stage of my life. The best thing that happened during my studies is the people I have met and with whom we still have a warm relationship.

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