Alumna interview: Victoria Grønsedt
At just 21 years old, Victoria G, from the class of 2016, is the CEO of her own home improvement company AND a full-time master’s degree student. How did this come around? How does she achieve to balance work, studies and personal life?
1) What have you been up to since you graduated?
After I graduated from CIS in 2016 I [almost] immediately moved back to Denmark or more specifically, Copenhagen. I chose to study for my bachelor’s degree in Copenhagen because I really missed Denmark after having lived in Asia for so many years. I wanted to “come home”, so I knew this city would be the perfect fit for me!
In September 2016, I began a bachelor's degree in Business Economics and Communication at CBS (Copenhagen Business School). After about one year of studying, I decided to start my own company. In June 2019, I graduated with full marks on my final thesis - which I was extremely proud of, because I was able to get good grades and run a company at the same time.
Now it's 2020. I’m in my second semester of my master’s degree and I’ve been running my company for almost 3 years.
2) It seems this all started when your dad suggested that you take over your grandfather’s business, as he was going to retire. What went through your mind then? What persuaded you to "just do it”?
At first I honestly thought: how in the world am I supposed to start a company with products that I don’t know anything about? I’m a first-year bachelor student with limited experience?
But I'm so happy I chose to do it anyway. No amount of internships or jobs will prepare you or give you the experience that having your own company has given me. When you have your own company you are in charge of every single aspect. Sales, marketing, finances, distribution, purchasing, customer service, logistics, and so on.
3) Concurrently running your own business AND completing a masters degree is quite an achievement. How do you achieve work/study balance?
To be honest, it’s really hard. Both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees are “full-time” programmes and running a company is more than full-time. I’m pretty much always working. It takes a lot of dedication, but I never feel like I'm working because I love what I do.
An IB education forced me to be quite structured because of the numerous deadlines and constant projects. I think this aspect of IB is something that I see in my daily life - it really prepares you and helps you be structured and organised.
4) What is the "day in a life" of a young CEO and student like?
My day starts at 5:55 am when I get up. I then drive 1.5 hours (each way) from my house in Copenhagen to Kalundborg, the office and warehouse where my employees are. It is also my hometown. It’s quite expensive to have warehouses in or close to Copenhagen.
I go to Kalundborg at least three times per week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It also depends on my university and the lectures that we have.
I don’t think it’s possible to narrow down my day to specific tasks as I sort of do everything in my company. I, of course, have employees who help me and take a load off my shoulders. I usually have meetings with potential and current suppliers; sort out logistics; pay company bills and do all the finances; work on sales and marketing materials; work on company growth through analysing the numbers and last month’s/year’s sales etc. The list is endless and days go by fast!
It also varies in terms of what time my day ends, but I do feel like I’m never not working. When I come home from either university, Kalundborg or meetings, I continue working until about 23:00 and then go to bed. And I also work all weekend - but I do remember to take a day off here and there.
One thing that is important for me to point out is that a lot of people want their own company but they don’t realise the hours you have to put into it. Dedication and hard work. There isn’t time for a whole weekend of watching Netflix and I don’t go out on Friday nights. It’s just important to know that a lot of hard work follows the glamourous story!
5) Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years? How about Fixdithus?
In 5 years I aim to have completed my CBS master’s degree, and I hope that Fixdithus is still a successful and running company. I hope to have expanded not only in terms of growth and profit, but also my team. I have no exit-plan for Fixdithus - I want to run it as long as I still find it fun and interesting!
6) What are your top 3 achievements to date: personally and professionally?
I realise all my achievements are related to work or university - I don’t have time for much else just now! To date, they would be:
1. Hiring and leading two employees
2. Making a profit in my first two years.
3. Finishing a bachelor’s degree with top marks on the final thesis.
7) Do you have any advice for grade 12s regarding IB?
Enjoy the time you have left in high school. BUT - be excited about what the future holds! So many young people are scared for what comes next, but my best advice is to just take that nervousness and fear and turn it into excitement! Things will [most] likely work out.
8) What are your fondest CIS memories?
The best memory was our excursion to Ladakh, in India. We didn’t have access to the internet which naturally meant that we didn’t use any technology (phones). I felt like everyone who went on the trip got really close and it was just a very memorable experience. The nature and views were incredible - it was just a great experience overall.
I also remember Mr Baker, my history teacher in the first year of the IB-programme. He was also my EE supervisor. A great teacher!