Interview with Anastasia Kouriatova, C'09

Anastasia Kouriatova, C'09
Producer, Civic Entertainment Group
Major: Visual Studies and Urban Studies
Location: New York City

How has your liberal arts degree been influential throughout your career?

Having a liberal arts degree has enabled me to be much more flexible with my career path and my interests. I've been able to work in advertising, entertainment, tech, fashion, women's rights, art and marketing, and eventually found a way to combine all of my interests into a career path that works for me. My degree has also taught me to think about challenges and problems in a much more creative and non-linear way, allowing me to be more adaptable professionally. A liberal arts degree allows you a certain kind of freedom to be able to do what really motivates you, although you do still have to be aggressive in going after what you want.

What is the value of the Penn network, and how has it played a role in your career? 

I would not have been able to work at the companies and with the clients that I have without the Penn network. Almost every job and project I've done has been either directly or indirectly connected through a Penn graduate. It definitely has given me access to opportunities I would not have otherwise found and created a community of like-minded individuals who want to help each other succeed.

How do you stay connected with Penn Arts and Sciences, and why is it a priority for you?  

It's so easy to stay connected with Penn in New York - many of my friends and classmates moved here after graduating, and there are many alumni groups where you can meet fellow grads such as the Penn Arts and Sciences Professional Women's AlliancePenntertainment, PennNYC, and Penn Digital. I've also put together a group of Visual Studies graduates living in New York City with the help of the Visual Studies department. I find it incredibly helpful to stay in touch with the Penn network as so many Penn alumni are doing really interesting work. I never know where I will get my next idea or who I will work with on my next project.

What was your favorite course at the College and why? 

Visual Studies 103 completely changed the way I thought about art, ideas and contemporary culture. I still apply methods of thinking and coming up with ideas that I learned in this class to client projects I work on daily. I accidentally took this class first semester of my freshmen year and it was the reason I became a Visual Studies major. This class taught me how to think of conceptual, non-literal ideas, and to come up with a bunch of them! I've learned that one good idea is never enough, you have to keep coming up with more, and you never know which ones are actually going to work out (or which ones the client is willing to pay for). The best part of taking this class was that I have lifelong friends I met in this program who continue to inspire me today.

What other advice would you like to share?

I had no idea what career path I wanted to pursue while I was still an undergrad. In fact, I didn't even know my current job existed when I was in college. College is the best time to try as many different things as possible. My advice to current students would be to identify different industries and career paths you are interested in, and then actually try them out - get an internship, shadow someone for a day, arrange for an informational interview, basically get whatever access you can and learn as much as possible. Also, make sure to ask lots of questions - you might end up finding a whole new path to pursue!

Twitter: @kouriatova