Our ‘A Day in the Life’ series highlights alumni in various fields and positions, offering a glimpse of what life after graduation is like. This post comes to us from M&T alumna Catherine, currently at startup Fab in New York.
Please briefly describe what industry you’re in and what your particular position entails:
Fab is part of the E-commerce industry with the mission of helping people better their lives with design. We are an online-only shop with Ikea-sized ambitions, providing over 15k products. One day, we want to be the Amazon for Design. I work on the Marketing team within Fab, specifically responsible for acquiring new users (registrants) to our site. I primarily focus on acquisition efforts through Facebook and mobile advertising.
What time did you get up this morning before work?
What time did you start working, and what time were you done for the day?
9am, finished at 7pm
What were some of the projects you worked on today?
1. Created Facebook ads for the most promising new sales that launched in the morning and evening.
2. Analyzed recent daily and weekly Facebook ad performance and made necessary changes to drive campaign efficiencies.
3. Worked on the creative with our Creative Director for the Facebook Logout Page. This is an ad unit we have been buying frequently that a user will see if they log out of Facebook in the US for an entire day.
4. Worked through details and processes of new Facebook Alpha and Beta ad tests in which Fab is a participant.
Who specifically did you interact with today, besides coworkers (clients, interns, researchers, executives, founders, etc.)?
– Facebook team (account executive in Houston)
– Nanigans team (Nanigans is a 3rd party Fab uses to drive performance advertising on Facebook)
Are you currently traveling or about to travel for work?
No travel really in this position!
What is your favorite part of the work day?
At Fab, we have sophisticated systems that let us track our Facebook ad performance in real-time. Therefore, I can launch ads or sponsor page posts and then immediately be able to see how many people clicked on any given ad, registered for Fab, made a purchase, and their associated revenue. It’s great to be able to quickly test and iterate multiple hypothesis on ads. To read about a gap we exploited with FB ads, click here.
What are some of the challenges within your position that you particularly enjoy?
At Fab, we are always trying to improve our marketing performance goals. Therefore, one of the big challenges is continually finding new high performing channels. Sometimes, they may be with big, established companies but sometimes they may be with new startups. Everyday I’m thinking about how I can make advertising more efficient which is challenging but a fun problem to tackle. The beauty of working in a relatively small company is that I can quickly test and execute with little bureaucracy. With the advertising landscape always changing, there are always new players dying and emerging and a lot of room to constantly improve.
How did you end up in your current position or school?
Upon graduating, I knew I wanted to work for a small early-stage startup where I deeply believed in their mission and vision. I was an early Fab member, joining a month after they launched and completely fell in love with the product and their aspirations. Since I follow them on Twitter, one day I saw a tweet which was a job posting for a Customer Acquisition Marketing Manager. A month and a half later, I got a job offer, moved to NYC, and the rest is history!
How did M&T help prepare you for where you are today?
Since I currently work in Marketing, my time in Wharton was invaluable in my career. However, in my role now, I frequently work with our Product team to spec out development priorities that will help various functions of my role. Maybe I want more advanced performance tracking with our ads or implement new pixels on a site we want to advertise on. Going through the Computer Science program helped me understand how to think like an engineer. This has been immensely useful with my interactions on our Product team. Every department/team in companies have different working styles and like to be communicated in certain ways. Understanding how to communicate across teams and relate with engineers and product managers has been key in successfully executing a cross team project.
What advice do you have for those who might be interested in pursuing a similar path?
If you’re interested in marketing, join the AMA Case Team. I did it for three years and learned a lot tackling these real-world problems from prominent companies. Talk to upperclassmen or alumni that are in a role and company you’re interested in. That’ll be the best source of information over anything a website or book will tell you. It will also ground your expectations of what to expect in the day-to-day of a “real” marketing job. Find the thought leaders in the fields you’re interested in and read their blogs. When you’re looking for a job, think about what products you love using daily. Think about the companies that make you so excited that you actually open their emails they send you. Personally, I’ve found this to be a telling indicator on places I’d love to work as I naturally market them to my friends in my everyday life.
Catherine is currently on the Marketing team at Fab. She graduated from M&T in 2011 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Science from Penn Engineering as well as a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School with a joint concentration in Operations Management and Marketing. After graduation she worked at Microsoft before moving to New York City. Catherine loves photography, painting, running, and traveling to the San Juan Islands in Washington.