Cassian Soltykevych ('16 BCom)

Serena Myles, BAA Communications Committee Co-Chair - 09 March 2020

Cassian Soltykevych ('16 BCom) reflects on his time as an undergraduate at the Alberta School of Business, the company he has founded since, and the impact of being an alumnus.

Cassian Soltykevych

Cassian Soltykevych is the owner of Urban Block Media, a marketing and web design solution company. He graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Commerce in Strategic Management and Organization and was a graduate of the LC2 cohort of the Leadership Certificate Program. During his undergrad, Cassian competed in over 15 case competitions, travelled to over two dozen countries, and always followed the 2 floors up/3 floors down rule with the School's elevators.

BAA: Tell us about your undergraduate experience at the Alberta School of Business. What were you involved in and what are your favourite memories?

Cassian: The core of my undergrad was being involved in a variety of clubs and organizations. In the Alberta School of Business, I was on the Executive teams for the EDGE Business Competition, the Business Students' Association, and Lazy Faire. I also took part in a number of case competitions both locally and away from home, travelling to Vancouver, Washington D.C., and Spain to represent the School. I was also a part of the Leadership Certificate Program, LC2. Then, to balance out my involvement with non-business activities, I was a part of the local Ukrainian Students' Society (USS) and their national parent organization, the Ukrainian Canadian Students' Union (SUSK).

My favourite memories of my undergrad include: finding out who you can really count on at 2am on a case competition and having a number of professors who wanted to help you succeed not only in their class, but set you up for success for life after graduation.

BAA: How has your Alberta School of Business education had an impact on your life post-graduation?

Cassian: It helped me understand a number of areas of business - finance, accounting, marketing, HR, strategic planning. No matter what you do after graduation, it's never a bad thing to have knowledge in a variety of areas - you'll never know where your life will take you.

BAA: Tell us a bit about your business. How did you start it and what was the inspiration behind it?

Cassian: As many businesses, Urban Block Media started out as a side gig that grew with more clients as time went on. It started small and has evolved organically, but now it's being taken more seriously, with more time and resources being invested into the company.

The inspiration behind Urban Block Media was to do two things: the first was to understand the types of customers a business has and help them market to their current and future customer base, and tied in with that was the second part, which was to build functional and effective websites that represent the company and its brand. Most of all, I was tired of hearing people saying things like, "your company has to be on social media" as the default marketing strategy. For many businesses, social media is a great tool to use, but for others, it's an absolute waste of time and resources. With my business, we try to find what works best for each client.

BAA: How has your Alberta School of Business education influenced your business? Has being part of the alumni network had an impact on its success?

Cassian: My undergraduate education helped me understand various parts of how to build and grow my business, and it provided me with a foundation to learn more after graduation through books, articles, seminars, and conferences.

The people I went to school with, and can call my friends, are a big part of why I am where I am. I have friends in all sorts of industries, in cities around the world, to get in touch with to ask for help, for support, for feedback, or just to chat about what's going on in our lives.

BAA: Do you have any advice for new graduates just starting out in their careers?

Cassian: Don't stop networking. Go grab lunch with someone you haven't seen in a while, attend a networking event or conference and meet people you've never met before, or invite someone to a Golden Bears hockey game to catch up. Having a solid foundation of people you can ask for help, advice, or an introduction to someone else, is invaluable.

Also, never be afraid to reach out to someone older than you for advice. However, reach out with purpose and understand what you want from the person. And keep it realistic; don't reach out to Elon Musk asking him for advice and be surprised when he doesn't reply back to your LinkedIn message.

Lastly, I think it's really important to keep learning by reading. Try to take time each day to sit with a book - whether it's on your lunch break, before bed, or on your way to work.

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