Name: Isha Kembhavi
Programme: Business and Marketing
Year of graduation: 2014
Company name: Samsung Electronics America
Position: Channel Marketing
Q1. What made you choose Middlesex University Dubai?
I was looking to major in marketing and the degree at Middlesex had a great combination of general business subjects and marketing. Also, the idea of having the option to transfer to the UK campus was exciting!
Q2. What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?
Some of my subjects were very exciting, which I would credit to the professors. For instance, the marketing strategy class always referred back to real-time organisational situations and case-studies which got me engrossed and fueled my curiosity to learn further. The entire course structure too was well thought outand allowed me to build a base with subjects that had elements of finance, economics, organisational structures,which focused my concentration as I moved forward.
Q3. What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?
Looking back now, I have got so many memories I hold dear, but being a part of the winning team for the Business Case Study Challenge tops them all.We were right around the finals week, had our internships going on, and yet we worked really hard on the challenge; it was great to see it pay off!
Q4. What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?
Middlesex does offer tons of opportunities in every aspect - there are student organizations you can be a part of, professors with open door policies to help build your professional network, extracurricular events that range from sports to art, you just need to take the initiative to make the most of them!
Q5. Where has your professional life taken you since graduation?
Right after graduating, I started working at Katch International, a communications and branding agency from London where I started off as an Account Executive. My time at the company allowed me to work in multiple industries and with a number of well reputed clients such as Cle Dubai, White, Panda Express, Mövenpick JLT, etc.
I then decided to pursue my masters and got accepted at New York University for my Masters in Integrated Marketing. I’m currently a year into the programme and have worked at a communications agency in New York and I am currently working with Samsung’s B2B marketing team for the summer.
Q6. Can you give an example of a time when you put the things you learned at Middlesex to practical use?
My role at Katch often required me to analyse the industry my clients were in and make strategic recommendations based on market trends, customer needs and competition, which was something I had learnt in class. Apart from that, one of my core classes, market research, taught me skills that are still useful. Part of my job at Samsung includes collecting and analysing primary data, which also uses skills that I developed during class.
Apart from academics, I had the opportunity to pick up a number of soft skills at the university, which would be useful throughout; my internship with the Careers and Employability services in Middlesex had provided me the opportunity to practice my leadership skills when managing about 100 student volunteers for the fair, or my public speaking skills when conducting a seminar for both graduate and undergraduate students on professional networking.
Q7. What made you choose the industry you work in and what are its pros and cons?
I have always been on the agency side of the marketing industry (Samsung being the exception here) and while it has been extremely exciting, it can also get a little overwhelming.
In my personal opinion, some of the pros of the industry:
- Learning experience: Working on an agency side allows you to dabble in multiple industries, and depending on your company, wear multiple hats. While I started off as an Account Executive, I undertook tasks in the fields of PR, social media, events, etc. which helped me learn a lot more, a lot faster.
- Better networking opportunities: working on the agency side allows you to interact with so many people, especially in PR. You are always growing your professional network, which is always helpful.
- It’s fun: I worked really hard at the company I was at, but had so much fun doing so! We would have a number of client meetings/trials and were always the first ones to know about exciting developments!
Some of the cons:
- Long hours: The agency life doesn’t have a 9-5 schedule - if you would like to grow your career here, be prepared to have a schedule that runs all over.
- Competitive: You’ve always got to stay on your toes - the industry moves very fast and you have to make the effort to keep learning and evolving, otherwise there are always going to be people who can do what you are doing.
Q8. What are the top three tips you would give to current students and recent graduates who are looking for a similar career to yourself?
1. Find your passion: the marketing industry is wide and there are many things you can and will do, but you have got to find a job you are passionate about and love.
2. Take your chances: sometimes it’s okay to say no to a job you don’t like but could ‘settle for’. It all comes down to knowing your capabilities and both your strengths and weaknesses, and then using those to get you the best opportunities, and being absolutely relentless in pursuing those opportunities.
3. Work smart: I’m a firm believer in hard work but I’ve learnt working smart, gets you further. Prioritise your tasks, know your capabilities, and be both effective and efficient!
Q9. What one piece of advice would you give to the 17/18 year old you?
EVERYTHING you have done has been a learning experience, which makes you who you are today. Be it the success stories, terribly long internship hours or even failures, everything teaches you something and as long as you take something away from the experience, you are moving forward