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Anna Blitz

Running the podcast part of the business as Program Manager at Spotify, Anna Blitz, BSc and MSc alum, is pleased to be working with one of her passions. And even better? Contributing to her company being the number one podcasting app in over 60 markets (including the US).

Describe your role and what it is that you do overall and on a day-to-day basis.

I work as a Program Manager at Spotify within the podcast part of the business. The Program Manager role is versatile and includes many responsibilities, making it challenging and exciting. In my role, I deliver the end-to-end execution of complex, high-impact strategic initiatives (programs) with a company-wide impact. My responsibilities vary within and between workstreams, depending on the technical, business, financial, product & legal ramifications. I work with leadership to identify and prioritize data-driven opportunities and to set overall objectives, strategies, and vision. I create and manage roadmaps with multiple workstreams, dependencies, stakeholders, and deliverables. As a Program Manager, I’m responsible for achieving strategic objectives from start to finish by ensuring a clear definition of done, identifying and mitigating delivery risks, and achieving scale by driving cross-functional alignments, commitments, and dependencies. A big part of my role is about communicating: vision, ideas, plans, and progress (both bad and good news) to all company levels.


What interested you about the field/company/role you are currently in?

Throughout the years, I have realized that I’m deeply motivated by the desire to achieve for the sake of achievement – rather than external rewards. I take pride in a job well done more than anything else. I must feel passionate about the work itself, which comes from the opportunity to work with creative challenges, learn new things, and improve how things are done. Spotify gives me all of that. It is a creative and visionary place filled with people who thrive when they get to reframe challenges and think outside of the box. I believe that if you’re someone with high energy, strong execution skills, and strategic thinking, Spotify is a place where you will thrive. However, it wasn’t before Spotify added podcasts to the service that I got interested in the company for real. I’m a big fan  – podcasts bring joy, knowledge, belonging, and entertainment to people. Since I started working at Spotify, I’ve led strategic initiatives that contributed to Spotify growing from nothing to becoming the number one podcasting app in over 60 markets (including the US). This journey has been incredibly exciting and inspiring!


How did your time/education at SSE help guide you to the career journey you have embarked on?

I believe my time at SSE opened doors for me that would have been closed otherwise. Having SSE on your resume is strong, but it's more about how those five years helped me think about how to structure and analyze real business problems. I don’t think I understood that at the time, as I was so focused on acing every exam, but today I know that the value of studying at SSE is much more about learning how to think and behave to be set up for success in the real world. For example, how to communicate and collaborate with others (especially those that are different from you). At SSE you graduate with valuable skills such as strategic thinking, how to structure large amounts of information, coping with ambiguity, performing under pressure, presenting advanced analytics in an inspiring and actionable way, as well as business case writing. These are valuable skills, and most importantly, skills that are scarce (believe it or not) in the business world. With these skills in shape, you can own your career journey and steer it in whatever direction you want. 


What path did you take from graduation to where you are now? 

The path I took has been far from straight or well-planned. I have experimented and worked at different companies and roles from small start-ups, to large enterprises, consultancy firms, and now Spotify. My work has taken me to Moscow, London, New York, Mallorca, and back to Stockholm. I don’t really believe in deciding on a clear path after graduation or planning every detail of it. I try to keep an open mind and let my career path be driven by passion, curiosity, experimentation, and most importantly interesting people. 


Following your time studying, do you have any words of wisdom or advice you would like to share with our current students?

Studying at SSE is so much more than attending classes, acing every exam, and graduating with a high GPA so that you can become a management consultant. Don’t be afraid to fail. I wish that someone would have told me that when I was younger (although, I know I would not have listened). Use your time at SSE wisely; spend time on extracurricular activities of your choice, experiment with bold ideas and thoughts outside of the course plan, pick your professor’s brains on all kinds of topics, get to know people you would never have met outside of SSE, write your thesis on a subject that you genuinely care about (or that brings you to exciting places –  for inspiration: my partner and I wrote our bachelor thesis on the subject of launching Bernaise sauce in New York and got Erik’s Såser to sponsor the initiative) and make at least one or two friends that will last a lifetime. 


What are three words that sum up your time at SSE?

Intense, eye-opening, inspiring.