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Katrina Chertkow (IMC19)

Associate Strategist at Barkley

Katrina Chertkow (IMC19) graduated from the IMC Full-Time program in December 2019 and began working for Barkley, a digital advertising agency, a month later as an associate strategist. Her work ranges from creative briefs to branding to loyalty programs. Her main client is Winnebago, and she assists on a variety of other accounts as well.

How did your Northwestern Medill degree help advance your career?

Having up-to-date strategic frameworks to share with my department was an awesome value add. I was able to talk about the importance of data and insights in building whole-brand thinking, which was exactly what my employer was looking for.

How do you use IMC’s “art and science of marketing” in your job?

Barkley’s intelligence and strategy teams are integrated in house so we’re able to work directly with the people who gathered our information and work with them to identify meaningful insights. There’s always a core idea that’s driving your work and oftentimes finding that idea is where art and science play most heavily.

What skills did you gain at Medill or what experiences did you have that were particularly beneficial?

Being able to interact with clients throughout the course of the program (I think I did seven client projects in total) gave me a way to discuss my experience in a really structured way. It gives you confidence when entering the job market that you have stories in your back pocket to discuss at interviews and relate to peers when you’re hired. 

What did you do during your Immersion Quarter and what did you gain from that experience?

I worked with the United States Olympic Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) doing brand narrative mapping and identifying corporate partnerships that drove brand equity. I was able to project manage, work on my team member development skills and work directly with the CMO and CEO of the organization to identify how we could best deliver value. I gained a lot of experience during Immersion Quarter and I came out the other side with the confidence of knowing how to apply my skills.

How has the Medill network helped you?

The Medill network allowed me to set up an information meeting with a brand leader at my company who was a Northwestern alum—and who just so happened to be married to the director of recruitment for our agency. I was able to get my foot in the door to showcase my skills and two weeks after that meeting I found out I had the job.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Your Medill experience will be what you make of it. Standing at the start line of your journey, it feels as though you have all the time but I encourage you to take a proactive approach in your learning and the value you leave Medill with. Set up time to meet with your professors one on one, lead a study group to connect with students, make connections and build your network as that’s the value that will last far beyond when you’ve graduated and moved onto being successful humans. Create opportunities for yourself and make the most of every moment.