My internship through the Telfer MBA program allowed me to work in a completely different environment than my previous work experience and helped me grow as a professional while allowing me to directly apply the knowledge I was gaining in my MBA classes. I worked in a sales and marketing capacity with a tech company still in its first few years of operations, which really left the space wide open for me to make an impact. My initial objectives for the internship were to develop, implement and manage an email campaign to boost lead generation, develop and refine marketing material, and look at updating the website and search engine optimization.
While starting from scratch removes a lot of the limitations that can occur when trying to revamp a legacy firm’s marketing strategy, it also leads to many challenges as you need to find consensus on many items that seem trivial to a company focused on meeting its initial monthly recurring revenue targets. However, there are pre-requisites any new company needs to establish that are vital to the overarching strategy and alignment that will drive sales and marketing for years. For any of my projects to make a lasting impact, I first had to gain consensus on the mission, vision and values as well as the unique value proposition of the company. From this, existing sales and marketing collateral could be aligned, new material and templates created and the messaging in the email campaign could be refined.
As much of my work focused on marketing initiatives, the skills and knowledge I gained from my Strategic Marketing Management course were critical in helping me. Although I had previously worked in a marketing environment, my background is as an engineer and I had always focused more on the technical side of product development. To take on a pure marketing role, I needed to use the theory of marketing that I was taught at Telfer to be able to propose a marketing strategy to the company’s CEO. I was also able to use the skills I was learning in my Strategy course, which I was taking at the same time as the internship, to look at the strategic grouping of the company compared to its closest competitors. I was able to help position the company’s messaging to showcase it as being in a completely new market compared to existing products, which helped set the overall voice and tone of marketing material. As our product was an application of the industrial internet of things, having taken a course on Global Trends and the Business Intelligence & Big Data elective gave me the introduction to analytics and machine learning that helped me understand the data scientists to translate their work into a comprehensive marketing message.
This opportunity enabled me to grow as a professional in several areas. The first was the chance to work in a startup environment. Having previously only worked in large bureaucratic firms, it was a new experience to work in a company that had less than 20 employees. This enabled me to take on more responsibility and forced me to be flexible and change what I was working on to focus on the firm’s more pressing priorities. It was inspiring to work with the people who founded the company, whose passion was the driving force behind the company’s growth. I also learned a lot about a completely new industry, one that focused on software development and the application of prescriptive analytics in a manufacturing setting. While I had worked in several different engineering environments before, this was by far the most cutting edge, and focused on the applications of a still evolving technology.