What were you doing before you joined The NUS MBA?
Prior to the NUS MBA, I was working at Disney in India as a Senior Associate in the Brand Solutions Group. I was responsible for collaborating with Disney's partners such as Unilever, P&G, J&J, and Reebok to create custom marketing campaigns leveraging the beloved Marvel, Disney, Pixar and Lucasfilm brands. The campaigns were rooted in creative storytelling and were translated across all lines of business at Disney: Studios, Television Network, Digital and Consumer Products. Examples of memorable campaigns I worked upon were: sales promotions for Subway and Mountain Dew leveraging Marvel’s blockbuster Avengers Age of Ultron, annual YouTube strategy for Unilever’s beauty brands, and digital and television programming for J&J’s Clean & Clear. This pre-MBA experience allowed me to learn the fundamentals of marketing strategy, brand marketing and project management.
What was your career goal before you joined The NUS MBA? Did it change during or after completing the programme?
My top career goal before joining The NUS MBA was to develop a global network and international perspective. I wanted to accelerate my career, gain more responsibilities and work in an international market. When I joined the NUS MBA, I knew I wanted to stay in marketing, however, I wanted to pivot from entertainment to consumer goods. During the MBA, I learned more about the dynamic and innovative technology industry through MBA networking and company events with Google, Microsoft and Singapore’s leading tech start-ups. I also enriched my knowledge about the industry through conversations with my classmates who had extensive experience in technology. This encouraged me to explore roles in tech organisations as well.
What did you do during the programme to achieve your goal?
To stay true to my goal of continuing to build a career in marketing, I specialised in marketing during my NUS MBA. My favourite elective was “Marketing in China” which helped me understand how brands leverage technology and deep local expertise to be successful in one of the world’s largest and most complex consumer economies. I participated in the Global Immersion Programme where we travelled to China for two weeks and met local and global organisations operating in the country. This experience enabled me to combine the theory I learned in the classroom with real-life insights from business leaders. I also applied for an exchange semester to Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, where I doubled down on analytics with electives such as Customer Analytics and Retail Analytics.
My internships were also focused on marketing and customer experience. The first was a part-time internship taking care of marketing for Morgan Philips Executive Search, a European headhunting firm that runs its Southeast Asian operations from Singapore. I found this internship through a job posting by the career services office at NUS Business School. My second internship was with Amazon Germany in Munich where I conceptualised customer engagement strategies for Amazon Fashion. I found this opportunity while networking at the MBA World Summit 2016 in Miami. The summit gathers 100 of the most inspiring MBA students from all over the world, as well as top executives from a small number of carefully selected companies that offer exceptional career opportunities. Ever since the launch of this event, The NUS MBA has been a preferred partner with the greatest representation among all global business schools! My passion for business networking combined with the NUS brand backing me, allowed me to get a spot at this coveted conference. While at the summit, I attended the Amazon company event and explored the possibility of a summer internship in their Munich office with the company’s executives.
How long did it take to achieve your post-MBA goal?
At the end of my summer internship, Amazon offered me the opportunity to come back after business school to join their MBA Leadership Program. I returned to Munich in March 2017, and started my first role as a Senior Product Manager. I consciously moved away from marketing in my first role to learn about product management. I knew that understanding the product roadmap was essential to be successful in a tech organisation in the long term. I was responsible for setting up and running the Dash button programme for five European countries: UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The Dash button programme is a strategic initiative under Alexa Smart Home and we experimented with ways to revolutionise how customers shop for their everyday essentials. Leveraging my passion for marketing and working backwards from the customer, I shaped my role to be customer experience focused and championed the needs of European customers in the global Dash organisation.
Amazon encourages its employees to rotate across businesses, functions and locations to gain rich experiences aligned with their career development goals. In my second role at Amazon, I joined Prime Video’s transactional business (Prime Video Store) as a Senior Marketing Manager for Germany in June 2018. I leveraged my product management experience at Dash and my knowledge of the entertainment industry from my Disney days to develop customer engagement strategies for the Prime Video Store in Germany. Within a year, I expanded my scope to take on the role of marketing lead for the Prime Video Store in Germany. I was responsible for leading a team of digital marketers to drive top-line growth for the business.
As of May 2020, I am heading marketing for the Prime Video Store in Europe taking care of six countries: UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. I lead a team of talented digital and product marketing managers to create marketing strategy and programmes for European customers. We are in the midst of international expansion, driving go-to-market strategies for new markets. We also collaborate closely with global product teams to drive long-term success and innovation for our business.
What’s your advice for students who are looking for a career or geographical switch?
Map your career ambitions: Irrespective of which geography they would like to work in, I recommend students to map their career ambitions. Critically think about where you see yourself in a five- to 10-year horizon, and start working backwards from that long-term goal to arm yourself with the right professional experiences and skills. For example, during my MBA, I knew that I wanted to be an expert in the marketing field in the long term, and I pursued appropriate opportunities during and after my MBA.
Be open-minded: Sheryl Sandberg has famously said that careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder. I echo that sentiment and recommend everyone to be open-minded to new opportunities that allow growth, scope and impact. This is especially important while making a geographical switch as it might be tough to find a role or an organisation that fits every bullet point in a checklist. Look for how you can build your skills instead of chasing a title on a resume. You may need to explore a different industry or even function to make that geographical switch. Though, it is important to stay true to your career ambitions to ensure that you are learning the skills that allow you to achieve your long-term goals.
Embrace networking: Lastly, I can’t emphasise enough the power of networking. When done skillfully, networking can not only help land new roles, but also new business and tap talent for future hiring. As MBAs, we have a very powerful global network at our disposal thanks to NUS. Cultivate and diversify this network painstakingly over the years. Leverage it at the right time to seek information about the region you are interested in, learn about new organisations and how to navigate finding a role in a different geography. Most importantly, do not forget that networking is about understanding people’s stories and building mutually beneficial relationships. Take the time to build and sustain relationships. When the time is right, it will also be your turn to pay it forward.
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