Recent IMC Online graduates McMullen and McLeod reflect on lessons learned

IMC Online graduation photo

IMC Online recent graduates Kari McMullen and Sue McLeod walked in the winter graduate IMC convocation on Dec. 13. Below are their reflections on the IMC Online program

Kari McMullen, Business Analyst, Customer Communication Strategy Team for State Farm Insurance
Q: What is your favorite part of your current job?
A: I am currently on the Customer Communication Strategy Team at State Farm Insurance.  I enjoy most knowing the documents that my team creates touch the hands of our customers and influence business decisions.
Q: What was the most valuable insight from the IMC Online program?
A: The courses did a great job at demonstrating how important the consumer really is.  I have taken other business courses, and the focus has often been about profit.  The IMC Online program showed me that in order to increase those profits, the customer needs to always be considered top priority.
Q: What was the biggest surprise of the program?
A: When I first began this program, I assumed that IMC Online would not be a primary focus of Northwestern University, or the professors that taught us.  I assumed that most of the work I would learn about would be encouraged, but often self-taught through readings, etc.  As a recent graduate, I can say I was pleasantly surprised at how engaged the professors were, and how much they genuinely cared about the content that we learned and our success as IMC students.

Susan McLeod, President, Conroy Media, Ltd.

Q: What was the most valuable insight from the IMC Online program?

A: The most valuable insight was the 24/7 consideration/adoption of the customer’s perspective.  As marketers, we sometimes get sucked in by “new, shiny objects,” particularly in the digital age, but it’s really about building the relationships with our customers and encouraging the dialogue.  The adoption of this new way of thinking was the biggest insight for me.

Q: Any blogs/ websites you regularly frequent?

A: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Media Post, which is the media industry blog I happened to be reading at the time a Medill Online IMC banner ad was served up.  Our current director of digital had resigned and I was in the process of searching for her replacement when the IMC online banner ad showed up on my screen.  Wow – the Medill IMC program is now online?  One click and the rest is history.  I even used this example in one of my application essays.  This clearly demonstrates the power of contextually relevant content.  I’d highly recommend subscribing to Media Post’s blog, if you’re so inclined.

Q: What has been the most valuable class you’ve taken?

A: Marketing Mix Modeling with Dr. Martin Block was immediately applicable to my everyday work life, in that we learned to take existing data and to draw actionable conclusions from it.  Marketing Measurement, taught by Pradeep Kumar, turned me on to Tableau, a data visualization tool that we’ve since subscribed to and are actively using for data storytelling and dashboard creative.  I loved Digital Storytelling, taught by Emily Winthrop. The class got me completely outside of my area of familiarity and comfort to delve into the realm of digital story analysis and creation.  Finally, I loved the IMC Leadership immersion course, taught on-campus by Candy Lee and Tom Collinger.  This course brought a number of us together in-person, after having worked together virtually up to that point.

Watch the entire IMC winter commencement recording here: