Film and Media Blog

Omolade Olorundare: Navigating Intercultural Communication and Professional Success

Omolade's graduation with honors in Communication Management from Tallinn University, along with receiving 1st prize for the Master’s thesis, is a testament to her exceptional achievement.

Communication Management alumni Omolade Olorundare

Specialty and year of graduation. What sparked your interest in Communication Management?

I graduated with a degree in Communication Management from Tallinn University in June 2023. My interest in this field was sparked by a combination of factors. Firstly, I've always been fascinated by the power of communication to shape perceptions, influence behaviours, and drive change within organisations and society at large. I also wanted to study how communication shapes the business management field. The communication management course at Tallinn University provided an excellent mix for both communication and management. Secondly, Tallinn University's reputation for its cutting-edge curriculum and innovative approach to communication studies attracted me. I was particularly drawn to the emphasis placed on practical, hands-on learning experiences, which I knew would provide me with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the field. Additionally, the opportunity to study in a vibrant, multicultural city like Tallinn appealed to me, offering a dynamic environment in which to learn and grow as a communication professional. Overall, it was the perfect combination of academic excellence, practical relevance, and cultural enrichment that led me to pursue my studies in Communication Management at Tallinn University.

What is your current role, and what does it entail?

I currently work as a Compliance Quality Assurance Specialist at Wise, a Financial Technology Company, I am actively engaged in providing customised feedback to operational teams located across various regions worldwide. A significant aspect of my role involves effective communication with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.

My education in Communication Management at Tallinn University has been instrumental in preparing me for this aspect of my job. Specifically, studying intercultural communication has equipped me with invaluable knowledge and skills necessary to navigate and communicate effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.

This educational background has empowered me to understand and appreciate the nuances of intercultural communication, enabling me to tailor my communication strategies to accommodate different cultural perspectives. As a result, I am better equipped to provide meaningful feedback and support to operational teams across different parts of the globe, ultimately contributing to the success and efficiency of our operations at Wise.

Tell us about your Master’s thesis that won first prize.

My award-winning MA thesis was inspired by my personal challenges during my first year at Tallinn University, where I encountered difficulties interacting with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds and struggled to forge new friendships in an unfamiliar environment. Motivated by these experiences, I embarked on a research project focusing on the communication experiences of international students at Tallinn University. My aim was twofold: to investigate whether my own struggles were shared by others, and to develop a practical guide to help future first-year international students navigate similar challenges.

To my surprise, my findings revealed a common narrative among international students during their initial year, characterised by a sense of culture shock and the adoption of coping mechanisms such as using sign language, speaking more slowly, utilising technological aids like Google Translate, and establishing personal boundaries when necessary.

This research not only validated my own experiences but also provided valuable insights into the shared experiences of international students transitioning to a new cultural environment. By offering practical strategies and guidance, my thesis sought to empower incoming international students to navigate intercultural communication more effectively and build meaningful connections within their new community. Winning the first prize for my thesis underscores its significance and impact, highlighting the importance of understanding and improving intercultural communication in our increasingly globalized world.

Communication Management alumna Omolade Olorundare

Which professional achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

At the moment, one of my proudest achievements is graduating with cum laude honors in 2023 and being awarded the first prize for my master's thesis in the digital and media culture focus field at the Tallinn University Students’ Scientific Works 2022/2023 Competition. Balancing these accomplishments with a full-time job has been a significant challenge, making me exceptionally proud of my ability to manage both commitments effectively.

I attribute much of my success to God, hard work and perseverance. Recognizing the role of God in my achievements, I am deeply grateful for the opportunities and blessings in my life. Without God's guidance and grace, I acknowledge that none of this would have been possible.

This journey has taught me valuable lessons in time management, determination, and the importance of staying true to my goals. I am immensely proud of what I have accomplished and remain committed to continued growth and excellence in all aspects of my life.

What is something about you that would surprise people to know?

Overcoming challenges with public speaking and shyness due to initially poor English language skills was a significant personal journey for me. As a teenager, I struggled with confidence in expressing myself verbally, especially in unfamiliar or public settings. However, I recognized the importance of developing these skills and actively sought opportunities to improve.

Volunteering for leadership positions and engaging in conversations within familiar environments became pivotal strategies in my journey to build courage and enhance my public speaking abilities. By gradually exposing myself to speaking opportunities and taking on leadership roles, I was able to confront my fears and steadily increase my confidence.

Through persistence and determination, I pushed past my comfort zone, refining my communication skills and gaining valuable experience in public speaking. Over time, I began to see improvements in my ability to articulate ideas effectively and engage with diverse audiences.

This journey not only transformed my public speaking skills but also boosted my self-confidence and resilience. It taught me the importance of perseverance and stepping outside of my comfort zone to achieve personal growth. Today, I am proud to say that I have overcome my initial challenges with public speaking and shyness, and I continue to embrace opportunities to further develop and refine my communication abilities.

A knowledge/lesson that I picked up at BFM and keep in mind on a daily basis (could be at work or in my personal life):

Navigating the nuances of communication across diverse cultural backgrounds can indeed be challenging, especially when it comes to distinguishing between cultural differences and rudeness. During my first year, I encountered difficulties in discerning whether certain interactions were a result of cultural norms or individuals intentionally acting disrespectfully.

Seeking guidance, I turned to Professor Anastassia Zabrodskaja, the Head of my department and an expert in Intercultural Communication at Tallinn University. Her insight was invaluable. Professor Zabrodskaja emphasised that it can be difficult to definitively differentiate between cultural differences and rudeness, but the best approach is to respectfully address any discomfort caused by someone's communication style.

This advice proved to be transformative in my interactions with peers both at school and in the workplace. By adopting a proactive and respectful approach to communication, I was able to navigate cultural differences more effectively and fostered an environment of mutual understanding and respect.

Professor Zabrodskaja's guidance not only helped me navigate challenging communication scenarios but also instilled in me a deeper appreciation for the complexities of intercultural communication. Her wisdom continues to influence my approach to communication, emphasising the importance of empathy, respect, and open dialogue in bridging cultural divides.

One piece of advice for future and current BFM Communication Management MA students: 

One piece of advice for future and current BFM Communication Management MA students is to embrace curiosity and actively seek out diverse perspectives. In the field of communication management, the ability to understand and navigate diverse cultural, social, and professional contexts is paramount. 

Therefore, I encourage you to immerse yourself in learning experiences that expose you to different cultures, communication styles, and industry sectors. Engage in conversations with classmates, participate in extracurricular activities, pursue internships or volunteer opportunities, and seek out mentors who can offer valuable insights and guidance.

Additionally, don't be afraid to challenge assumptions and step outside of your comfort zone. Embrace opportunities for personal and professional growth, even if they seem daunting at first. Remember that every interaction, whether successful or challenging, offers an opportunity for learning and development.

By fostering a spirit of curiosity, openness, and continuous learning, you will not only excel in your academic pursuits but also thrive in your future career as a communication management professional.