Alumni Q&A: Karina, Affiliates and Partnerships

Wise alum Karina sitting on a sofa in the office

Wise alumni

Once a Wiser – always a Wiser! It’s so great that we have a Wise Alumni initiative, where not only I get the chance to maintain relationships with the amazing people I worked with, but also lean on them for career advice and support. We have regular catch-ups and meetings that we organise to keep in touch.

Why did you join Wise?

Having been an international student, I was looking for a way to pay my student loan with a cross-border payment. That’s how I found Wise and got to know the product. I was looking for a company that was making a positive change in the world. Having had a great customer experience with Wise and seeing they were based in London, I was excited to see they were hiring the role I was looking for.

In a nutshell, what did you do at Wise?

I was part of Performance Marketing team working with Affiliates and Partners. The goal was to find the right partners who could help reach audience that showed intent for Wise products and service. The role was very diverse and broad allowing me to develop skills not only as a marketer and but also in business development, sales, design, SEO and user research. We worked with websites and partners that either attract the right traffic or has engaged captive audience who would benefit from our service. It’s all about knowing who your customers are, how to reach them and provide tools and resources to educate about your product.

Did you do any other roles at Wise?

I started as an intern and joined very early. I think I was the 5th person in the Performance Marketing team. I got to do a little bit of everything – strategic partnerships, product management, growth hacking, finance, even some developer work when it was needed. It was scary, I had no experience, and it often felt like I had no idea what I was doing. But with such a small team, I still was involved in making big decisions. It was like climbing Mount Everest!

Do you have any advice for someone starting their career here?

Try to make your work visible. With so many smart people around you, everyone has a little bit of imposter syndrome. But you need to get out of it and show the output of your work and how it can help other teams. Don’t be shy about it.

What was the biggest challenge working here?

Figuring out how to mould your career here. There are so many things you can get involved in and skills you can build. But it’s up to you to find the things that’ll take you there. It can be daunting and confusing if you’re early in your career. But as soon as you realise where you can have an impact and what you like doing, you can start investing your resources in that space. 

It’s a journey for everyone so you shouldn’t be scared. The best thing I liked about starting my career here was the chance to try so many different things. Lots of people here have moved into lead positions and from team to another. It’s a place where you can figure out how you want to grow and then make it happen by getting connected with the right people and teams, learning about their jobs and creating a development plan for yourself.

What was the most interesting project you worked on?

I loved educational campaigns that explained to new target markets what we do and how we can help them. We thought about the person who would use Wise – from expats to small businesses and freelancers and how we could solve their problems. Once we knew who we want to target and what problem we want to solve for them, we figured out the message. We spoke with customer groups and put ourselves in their shoes to discover their challenges. We then tailored the package for our third-party partner and came up with messages for their audience to educate them about what we do. 

You need to make sure you target the right partners with the right audience. For this you need negotiation and sales skills. You also need to be analytical to understand if the partner has been a good investment by tracking and measuring the campaign. 

Most interesting place you’ve used your Wise card?

Buying a beer after a 20 km hike in the Alps.

What did working with freedom and autonomy mean to you?

It meant accountability and ownership. You need to be able to demonstrate that you’re optimising for the key metric you’re moving at the end of the day. It can be challenging. You need to proactively try to understand and find out how you can have the most impact and be laser-focused to prioritise your work.

Tell us about a time you disagreed with your lead and why!

In my team, you could do what you wanted as long as you showed the impact of it. We always quantify our partnerships, forecasting how many customers we’ll be acquiring. So it can be challenging when testing something new. Not just your lead, but the whole team challenges you to think if this is the right thing to do. It’s not about disagreeing really, but I’d say we’re challenged regularly to justify what we’re doing.

What’s the craziest thing you did at Wise?

There are so many things I could mention. One of the highlights of my time in Wise was hosting legendary Summer Days in Narva, Estonia.

We’ve also done two Guinness World Records – one was the biggest human Euro currency sign in the world, and the other one was the biggest fully inflated ball. I’ve also participated in two marketing stunts. I’ve been in a video we’ve made, doing a ‘rate race’ dressed up in an aqua suit, running on a slip and slide.

What did you do after you left Wise?

After my incredible journey at Wise, I feel I can only work for companies that are mission-driven and customer-focused. I was always fascinated by healthcare. Just like finance before FinTech, healthcare is ripe for disruption. So, I wanted to be part of this and joined Babylon Health, whose mission is to put affordable and accessible healthcare in the hands of everyone on earth. 

What learnings have you taken to your new role?

At Wise, I was part of a world-class marketing team and learned alongside the brightest minds in tech and marketing. I can’t speak highly enough of the people, the vision and the opportunity it gave me to accelerate my career in marketing. Most importantly, I learnt how the marketing team functions and the value it delivers to business. This is a skill  I can apply to any role in my future career.