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Meet

Heidi

Meet

Heidi

Marketing Strategist
U.S. Navy - Lieutenant, Surface Warfare Officer
About

Every day for me is different, and it's one of the things I enjoy most about my job. I work as an internal marketing consultant, managing three to four projects at a time across my company's 25+ divisions. Just today I spent my time focused on pricing strategies for commodity cleaning chemicals, a market assessment in the respiratory pharmaceutical industry and web design for a newly launched health care brand. I'm an individual contributor in that I do not have any direct reports, but I manage a cross-functional team for each project I run. Effective management of those teams is critical to my success, and I've found that strong communication and interpersonal skills are some of my best tools. Project management, data analytics and strategic thinking skills are also critical in my day-to-day job.

Advice

Don't underestimate the power of networking. I know ā€“ it can be intimidating and, more often than not, stretches the boundaries of your comfort zone. But the time (and money spent on coffee) are well worth it. Reach out to people in your desired industry and/or company that you are genuinely interested in talking to and use the opportunity to learn about their experiences and to share your story. Be prepared. These are great opportunities for career exploration, but you should be able to clearly articulate your story and goals. And don't let the relationship go cold ā€“ reach back out occasionally with thoughtful follow-up questions or to share something relevant you discovered in the news. Meaningful connections with people who have come to know and respect you create advocates for you when a job opportunity arises. I'm proof in that I wouldn't be where I am today without the support of my network, and I know it';s not something that's unique to me.

Takeaways

As a career switcher, I knew that proving my experience would be the biggest challenge in my job search. After all, what has a navigator ever done that would make her good at marketing? I decided to pursue an MBA because it would enable me to expand my knowledge base, gain real-world business experience and build my network outside the military. And I chose my specific MBA program because it offered something unique ā€“ the opportunity to work on three real-world, corporate-consulting projects over the course of my studies. I also pursued a marketing internship prior to starting business school so that I would have non-military work experience to pull from during the recruiting process. As I interviewed, I found it beneficial to acknowledge the non-traditional nature of my prior work experience because I had concrete examples (and proven results) from the steps Iā€™d taken to improve upon my existing military skill set.

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