First Group of Marketing Analytics Graduates Crosses the Stage
By Samantha Beavers
On Wednesday, May 4, eleven Master’s of Management, Marketing Analytics (MMA) students crossed the stage at Reynolds Coliseum and turned a new chapter in their careers. The occasion marked a key milestone for the MMA program, too – as the graduates were among the first thirteen MMA students to complete the program since it launched a year and a half ago.
Now that the first batch of students has crossed the finish line, Poole College asked Julia Zachgo and Noor Bokhari, two recent MMA graduates, to share about their experiences in the program – including the aspects of the MMA program they appreciated most, the impact the program has made and where they’re headed next.
According to Zachgo, an operations advisor for Tesla, the flexibility of the MMA program is one of its main selling points.
“My first year in the program, I was a cross country athlete for NC State living in Raleigh – and now I live in Washington, DC and work at Tesla. Between traveling constantly as an athlete and working more than 300 miles away from Raleigh, the program gave me the best of both worlds – the ability to take online classes as well as the option to take a couple in-person classes to promote collaboration,” Zachgo says.
Bokhari agrees. Taking online classes provided her the opportunity to earn a graduate degree while simultaneously working full-time – with the flexibility to develop analytics skills at her own pace. It also helped her land a new role as a digital marketing specialist for Premier Research, a global clinical research organization headquartered in Morrisville, North Carolina that provides clinical research services for fields such as neuroscience, oncology and analgesia.
“I have been focusing on data hygiene tasks such as ensuring our website is as optimized as possible, cleaning up our large database and updating our processes to be more efficient,” Bokhari says. “I believe the MMA program helped me land this role because it was something directly correlated with the role’s duties of data hygiene, optimization and analysis. The program has been useful to me in my career because it has helped me understand technical terms and knowledge I come across, and exposed me to many different softwares that I can now say I have experience in.”
Compared to other online programs, though, the graduates note that the online learning environment didn’t sacrifice the personal feel of the program. Throughout her coursework, Bokhari says, she had opportunities to meet and work alongside fellow classmates – allowing her to hear their diverse perspectives and gain exposure to various industries and job pathways. Zachgo, too, says that the community in the MMA program was one of the things she appreciated most.
“Students, teachers, advisors and coaches never failed to lend a helping hand. Everyone was eager to learn, but more importantly, everyone was eager to help,” Zachgo says. “I can’t thank everyone who helped me along the way enough.”
Along with the flexible, personal learning environment, Zachgo appreciates that the MMA program delivered on its promise to give students real-world experience. In one of her classes, she had the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive social media analysis of NC State Athletics and provide the athletic department with data-driven insights in order to better empower its female athletes. The opportunity not only allowed her to leverage her analytics skills in a practical way – it also allowed her to tackle a real-world project close to her heart.
“Pushing women’s sports forward has always been at my core. I was the student athlete representative for Wolfpack Women, an initiative to push women’s athletics at NC State – so it was a very impactful experience to work alongside a strong, hard-working team to provide the athletic department with insights about their social media presence. It was a great opportunity to use data for good,” Zachgo says.
For that reason, Zachgo encourages current and prospective students to take advantage of hands-on learning opportunities – and also encourages them to bring their passions to the table. “Work to intertwine your passions with the program as much as you can,” she says.
Moving forward, the graduates plan to carry the lessons learned and skills gained in the MMA program with them – and though they’ve closed this chapter, both are excited to continue the journey of learning in their careers.
“I am still learning about the world of data in my career and am excited to continue growing in this role and applying my new technical skills more and more,” Bokhari says. “For the future, I would like to become certified in some of these technologies that I use most often.”
Meanwhile, Zachgo – who works in the delivery department of Tesla’s Vienna, Virginia facility to help the company meet its inventory goals, improve the customer experience and manage factory-defected vehicles that come in pre-delivery – is eager to continue learning and growing in Tesla’s fast-paced environment.
“This quarter, I will be working to open a new delivery center in Silver Spring, Maryland. I am super excited to open this new facility, work with a new team and create a strong presence for Tesla in this part of Maryland,” she says. “I’m also excited to continue learning from the strong team here at Tesla. The team at Tesla teaches me something new every day – we often joke that when you return from a day off, something about a process or business line has changed. This fast-paced environment never fails to keep you on your toes.”
To learn more about the Master of Management, Marketing Analytics (MMA) program at NC State’s Poole College of Management, click here.
This post was originally published in Master of Management Marketing Analytics.