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Ashley Tomzik (IMC17)

Marketing Data Scientist at 4C Insights
Ashley Tomzik

With a background in actuarial science, Ashley Tomzik (IMC17) built her analytical skillset before joining Medill. She said the IMC program helped her build on her experience and develop her true passion: analytical marketing.

In her current role as a data scientist for 4C Insights, she uses her background to analyze performance data. IMC not only offered her more technical training for this position, but gave her the tools to interpret and communicate data insights to wider audiences. Between alumni connections, hands-on classes and student-driven projects, she said IMC advanced her in the professional world.

Tell us about your career path.

My career path has been more of a winding road. I graduated from Northwestern with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and started my career in actuarial science. After working in the insurance industry for five years, I decided that I didn’t have a passion for it and couldn’t see myself there long-term. I decided to pivot into marketing analytics and selected the master’s program at Medill to help make that transition. While I had the analytical skills, this program elevated those skills and gave me the context needed to be successful in the marketing industry. After graduating from Medill, I started working as a marketing data scientist at 4C.

What are your main responsibilities at 4C?

I do all the analytics for our marketing team. This involves analyzing marketing performance data to be sure that we are spending our marketing dollars most efficiently and creating dashboards so that my team can easily digest this information. I also work with colleagues in other areas of the company to bring more intelligence into our marketing software.

How did the Medill IMC program prepare you for your career?

I specialized in marketing analytics during my time at Medill. These specific classes prepared me for my day-to-day work by developing my technical skills and teaching me not only how to analyze the data, but also to look for insights and relate those insights back to the business.

How do you apply the IMC way of thinking that uses both art and science in your job?

The IMC way of thinking is very important in analytics and data science. You can have the best data and models in the world, but if you’re not able to draw insights from that data and tie it back to how it can help the company, it’s useless. In the business world, people come from all different backgrounds–many of them not involving analytics. I need to be able to communicate my findings in a way that is both understandable and meaningful to people who are not so comfortable with numbers.

How did the Medill IMC network help you in your job search?

The Medill IMC network was extremely helpful in my job search. I formed a valuable relationship with one of my professors from the program who connected me to several people in the industry. One of them happened to be an IMC alum that was currently working at 4C, and she ended up being the one who hired me. 

What is a class or experience that sticks out in your mind and why?

I participated in the Spiegel Research Center Fellowship, which was an unforgettable experience. While we learned so many different concepts and skills in class, this fellowship really brought these skills to life. My team and I got to work on a real project with real data, which allowed us to put our new skills into action. The best part was that nobody had the answer for us–while we had guidance from our professors, we were in the driver’s seat and it was up to us to solve problems and deliver recommendations.