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Margo Li (IMC17)

Product Manager Trainee at Tencent
Margo-Li.jpg

Why did you choose IMC?

The IMC program is flexible and empowered me to learn what I really wanted to know. I could either choose one or two specializations, such as data analytics and branding, or explore as many as I wanted. Therefore, I can build my own skills and stories for my career.

Additionally, what differentiates this program from others is the customer-centric and data-driven perspective. This way of thinking makes marketing more interactive and utilizing business techniques to understand people is so much fun.

What activities did you participate in while at IMC?

In IMC, I was a member of CMI (Cause Marketing Initiative). We helped a nonprofit organization build their brand awareness in nearly four months. While my track was data-oriented, this project gave me a chance to better understand how digital marketing works.

How did IMC prepare you for life after Medill?

Before my graduate life, I was never a big fan of quantitative research (even though I was once an intern in Nielsen) and qualitative study. However, classes with Professor Ed Malthouse and Professor Michelle Weinberger were mind-blowing. They showed me this new world and totally changed my understanding of marketing research. Most importantly, I found my interests in data analytics and consumer insight. My biggest takeaway from IMC is never reject any opportunity in your life even though you are not excited about it because it may turn out to be where your passion is in the future.

What was the job search like and what attracted you to your current position?

I spent the first four quarters in the program figuring out my personal brand and strengths. After that, I understood myself better and could be more focused in my job search. When I was in the IMC San Francisco program in the fifth quarter, I was exposed to the cutting-edge tech world. Attending events organized by tech companies, such as Google, and talking to gurus in the industry was helpful for my search. Meanwhile, contact with old friends and previous classmates helped with the job search, too.

There are two reasons why I decided to go back to Asia and be a product manager trainee at Tencent. First, I truly believe the company is a promising tech giant and will become more powerful with the mission they have and resources they own. Second, being a product manager provides me with possibilities for my future since I can be exposed to different steps of product development and I can learn and experience more.

What lessons do you take with you from IMC?

Empathy is always a good thing to have and to hone, no matter whether at work or in real life. I think it is the essence of customer-oriented marketing. No matter what advanced techniques are utilized, how to create a story showing you understand the needs of the customers and that you truly care about their life is a lifelong quest for a marketer. In real life, empathy is the key to effective communication and relationship management. 

Who influenced you in Medill and how? 

My awesome and smart classmates influenced me a lot over the 15 months in the program. I learned not only to respect various cultures from all over the world but also genius ideas and their unique ways of thinking. My project team in Media Economics and Technology class taught me what successful teamwork looks like and hanging out with amazing classmates in San Francisco was so much fun--it became an unforgettable memory. 

What advice would you give you to a future IMC student?

Enjoy the 15 months with your wonderful classmates and have fun! Always do good things for others, especially your classmates, because you will miss the time you spent with your project teams or Immersion Quarter. Don’t panic about finding a job or other things at the start of the program. Lecturer Judy Franks always says, “Content is king” in her media class, and I firmly believe it applies to the job search as well. If you work hard to hone your skills and figure out what you are good at, opportunities will come to you naturally.

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