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Heather Young, Platform Engagement and Deepening Product Manager at Truist

For Heather Young, the flexibility of the Master of Management program, along with the practical, hands-on curriculum and supportive faculty, have made for a rich learning experience that adds value to her career in real time.

Get to know Heather

Program: Master of Management, Marketing Analytics (MMA)
Start date: August 2022
Anticipated graduation date:
May 2026
Current location: Wilson, NC

Life before Jenkins

Work experience: 23 years 
Industries: Hospitality, 8 years; financial services, 15 years 
Role(s): Marketing, project management 
Field(s): Management, finance 
Undergraduate education: NC State University, B.A. in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communication 

Career goals

In Young’s current role, she manages clients’ platform engagement experience, marketing, and onboarding flows into Truist’s online banking system for web and the mobile app. To deliver a more seamless client experience and gain analytics skills to more effectively lead teams developing Truist’s app and web platforms, Young turned to the Master of Management, Marketing Analytics (MMA) program at NC State. “To engage our clients more effectively, I needed to better understand where they stand in the process – which required a deeper understanding of the data from the back end to the front end. That was the piece of the puzzle that was missing before,” she says.

“The MMA program was an opportunity to bridge that gap, and although I’m only halfway through the program, I feel more connected to our clients than ever before,” she continues. “I’m now confident that the data we’re collecting reflects the voice of the client – and we’re seeing the difference that makes. Because of the positive changes we’ve made, we’ve been elevated to the fourth-ranked app according to JD Power.”

Why Jenkins? 

As an alumna of NC State, Young was already familiar with the reputation of Jenkins Graduate School at Poole College of Management – and seeing the MMA curriculum made the decision to pursue her graduate education at NC State an even easier one. “Marketing and data analytics is a unique combination that fits perfectly with what I do in my role and what I aspire to do in the future,” she says. “It’s the ideal program for me.”

Daily life

As a working mom, Young balances her studies and responsibilities at Truist with her family commitments. “My husband and I have a 12-year-old son, a nine-year-old daughter and a goldendoodle named Goofy,” she says. “The flexibility of the MMA program really helps me strike a work-life balance. Adding the commitment of the MMA program was still a big ask of my family, but they’ve been very gracious and supportive of me. It’s also been a great tool to show my kids what it takes to succeed. I get to show them my homework and help them understand that it’s something I do on top of the responsibilities I have at work – so it really helps me be a better role model.”

What makes it great

The MMA program not only gives Young flexibility to balance her education with her professional and personal responsibilities – it also gives her the flexibility to take courses in different formats. “I can take classes online through the normal track, but I can also take classes on-campus in the evenings after I finish work,” she says. “Another thing I appreciate is how approachable the professors are. There’s a high level of engagement between students and professors, and some professors, like Donnie [Hale], want you to call them by their first name,” she says. “It adds a level of authenticity and communicates, ‘Hey, I’m here to help you learn and apply what you’re learning to your career. I’m not here to put you down or challenge you beyond your ability.’”

Career impact 

Best of all, the MMA program has given Young practical, real-world knowledge she can apply to the workplace in real time. “In every class I take, I learn something that applies to my job and makes me better. In a recent course I took on understanding databases, I learned what I need to ask to pull the right kinds of data and get valuable answers. The reality is that you don’t know what you don’t know, so being able to ask the right questions to get the proper insights is huge,” she explains. “With open-ended questions, clients may not understand what it is that you’re asking and give a different kind of answer than the one you’re looking for – so at Truist, we’ve changed how we ask questions in our user research, roundtables and focus groups to discover the kinds of insights we’re really after. Because we’re asking the right questions now, our research is much more relatable and authentic.”

Final thoughts

Reflecting on her time in the program, Young has a few words of advice for prospective students. “If you’re considering the MMA program, go ahead and pull the trigger. It’s worth the amount of practical knowledge that you’ll gain from taking the classes – and compared to other programs, there are no filler courses. Every single course I have taken has been applicable to some aspect of my role and I’ve already seen a huge return on investment,” she says. “Plus, it’s flexible and doable for a busy mom with a full-time career.” 

Get in touch

Connect with Heather on LinkedIn.

Learn more

To learn more about the Master of Management, Marketing Analytics (MMA) program, including tuition, curriculum, career opportunities and more, please submit the form below. 

This post was originally published in Master of Management Marketing Analytics.