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Courtney Wessel (IMC16)

Project and Account Manager at Evolve Healthcare Marketing
Celeste Paylor

Courtney Wessel is a project and account manager for Evolve Healthcare Marketing, a Chicago-based digital marketing company that focuses exclusively on healthcare. 

Why did you choose Medill, and what did you learn about the most from IMC?

I pursued a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications to develop the skills needed to support, manage and contribute to a marketing communications strategy at a high level. I also wanted to learn more about internal communications, finance and investor relations. Since employees, money and investors are all vital parts of organizations, Medill’s courses in these subjects really attracted me to the program and stood out compared to offerings of competing programs. 

One of the strategies we learned in the IMC program was how to adapt communication when dealing with various audiences. Communicating internally with employees differs vastly from dealing with investors or customers. Using data to understand their position and needs helps tailor messaging and increases the opportunity to appeal to a given audience. I also learned how to tailor a presentation to be short, sweet, clear and effective; public speaking was a huge component in many of my courses. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, was the skill of writing. The greatest skill learned throughout the program was editing, proofing and checking grammar. The level of expectation when it comes to writing well in Northwestern’s IMC program is unmatched.

What was your takeaway from Immersion Quarter?

My immersion quarter role was as a digital marketing consultant and project manager with Brand New Media Group. I helped lead a team of fellow IMC students to generate actionable insights, recommendations and strategies for financial marketers in the top 50 asset management, wealth management and insurance companies. Our challenge was to provide BNM clients with competitor analysis and recommendations on how they can best market their products and services in the financial industry. Some of the clients and sponsors included Bank of America, Bloomberg, MetLife and Prudential. The president of the company presented our work at BNM conferences.

What specific experience from Medill has helped you in a certain aspect of your career?

An experience I found very helpful in my career path was Medill’s first Global Brand Communications course in London. We studied global branding, brand equity and retail and luxury marketing in England and visited various organizations and met professionals from around the world. It is for this reason that I am comfortable communicating and working with attorneys, both domestic and international. Understanding the subtle nuances of culture can help build authentic relationships, shape communication strategies, and ultimately make your job a lot easier.

 Northwestern Medill certainly prepared me for the latest developments in communication technology. Most importantly, the program prepared me to ask the right questions, think outside of the box, and connect marketing efforts to the bottom line, proving the value of my own work. It’s one thing to have data, but it’s another to connect the dots. 

What advice would you give students considering Medill IMC’s full-time program?

Do it. Northwestern’s IMC program challenges you to think differently about marketing and communications. Having studied communications in undergrad, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on how things worked…until I started the IMC program. The professors are world class, the curriculum is both challenging and rewarding, and a Northwestern degree is impressive—there is something to be said about how an elite program can set your resume apart from others, negotiate higher salaries and take on higher-level work earlier on in your career.