Intrigued with consumer behaviour and marketing
As Thu-Pham kickstarts her dream of working in the marketing field from Beloit, she walks us through her journey of getting her career started in 2012 when nobody knew what digital marketing really was!
What made you interested in Beloit College? Why did you decide to attend?
I was an international student from Vietnam who has always wanted to study abroad. To prepare for the experience of studying abroad, I studied English intensively back in my secondary and high school years. And to be honest, when applying for schools in the United States, I did not know what liberal arts mean, so the only criterion I had was financial aid. Beloit College offered me the most financial aid.
Do you have any advice for admitted students who are considering coming to Beloit College?
One piece of advice only: Pick Beloit College. Its small class sizes combined with a wide range of course options have helped me form close relationships with my teachers/mentors and critical thinking from attending different classes in different disciplines.
As an international student, what were your experiences transitioning from high school to college?
Transitioning from high school to college, especially in a different country, for me was interesting. It was a mix of excitement, nervousness, some culture shocks, and many more. Freshman year for me was all about exploring and making new friends. Before coming to America, I was advised to focus on study and coursework only. What people did not tell me at that time was to start building relationships. However, as curiosity has always been my strength, I dedicated my first year to making friends and attending events, which helped improve my English tremendously and immerse myself in what “liberal arts” means.
What one piece of advice would you give to first-year students?
Allow yourself to be open to whatever path it takes you. That is how Amazon becomes Amazon now, or Google becomes what it is now. A lot of testing and failing. If I were to do it all over again, I would attend more science classes (biology, game theory, etc.)
How did Beloit’s education and experience help guide you to figure out your interested major and the career journey you have embarked on?
Before Beloit, I have always been intrigued by the concept of consumer behaviors and the power of media/communication in impacting consumer decisions. Since high school, I have always been interested in reading tons of non-fiction books on Behavioral Economics and Communications Theories. However, what interested me in going deeper into my current career (Marketing) was the working experience I gained through BATV (the TV broadcasting and media lab in Beloit Center for Entrepreneurship) under the supervision of Professor Dave Knutson. I was first exposed to TV production by producing talk shows, editing videos, and having my content aired on the local channel. Professor Dave Knutson (in the Media Studies department), Professor Jerry Gustafson (Entrepreneurship), and Professor Amy Sarno (in the Media Studies department) are the three people that were instrumental to my growth at and after Beloit.
What were your majors and minors at Beloit? When did you declare each of these?
I declared a double major in Economics and Media Studies with a minor in Chinese in my junior year. As I have just mentioned, I found myself interested in studying consumer behaviors through the lens of the media, so I decided to go in-depth into both Economics and Media Studies. About minoring in Chinese, I have been immersed in a lot of Chinese cultures through their history, movies, and music. So, I decided to learn more about it in college.
Besides academics, what opportunities did you have as a Beloit College student?
Beloit College has prepared me with the mindset of always being proactive and willing to take the initiative in any situation and environment. In my junior year, I was the president of the International Club and the Resident Assistant (RA). The experience of leading the International Club and taking care of my residence as an RA outside of study and research hours has taught me how to manage and prioritize my well-being. Regarding leading a diverse group of students, both in the international club and residential hall, I have learned “on the job” the principles of diversity and inclusion commitment in leadership. So, now, whenever organizing and promoting events in my company, I look back at my time at Beloit and realize, “OMG, I was doing the same thing.”
Many people say that their senior years are stressful as they went through it. Could you share with us your senior year experience and how did you manage to deal with it?
In senior year, I think you have to decide which is your priority and then dedicate your time and efforts towards it. And the senior year is indeed stressful; the to-do lists during that year seem never-ending with capstone projects, finding a job, and figuring out what life may look like after walking across the graduation stage in May. My senior year experience was all about finding jobs and internships. I learned how to let go of one activity when there were other competing priorities in senior year. I went to college gatherings less. For activities that I was in charge of in the previous years, I nominated younger classes to take over. Besides capstone projects, I spent at least 3 hours a day applying for jobs. And it paid off. Before graduating, I got offers for 2 jobs. I accepted the offer from an advertising agency in Dallas, Texas, and worked there for six months before moving to New York City.
What was your first job after graduation?
After graduation, I worked for an advertising agency in Dallas, TX. In 2012, nobody knew what digital marketing REALLY was. I got hired to assist a 3-person digital marketing team. I got to work with UI/UX designers to create YouTube banner ads for Procter & Gamble (P&G). 6 months later, I moved on to New York City to work for the Digital department at Broadway theatre.
What about your current job? What does your job involve?
I am currently the Senior Scrum Master for Marketing CRM Operations at Realtors.com. As a Scrum Master, my work mainly focuses on guiding the team and organization using Agile/Scrum practices to enhance working communication, improve transparency, and radiate information. My typical workday includes 60% meetings (leadership and strategy) and 40% operating, maintaining, enhancing, and building a new CRM system to match the aim of my company. This position is the perfect combination of MarComms (Marketing-Communications: lots of writing, Public Relations) and MarTech (Marketing Technology: lots of numbers, metric-tracking), which has been my ultimate career goal aiming to bridge the gap between these two disciplines in our currently living - the digital era.