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Master of Marketing Alum Lands Analytics Internship at the ‘Most Magical Place on Earth’

Dec 1, 2017
Victoria Conlon (MMark’17) provides marketing analytics and insights for Disney’s parks and resorts team

By Kara Sherrer

Victoria Conlon (MMark’17) discovered Vanderbilt’s Master of Marketing program while she was deciding where to send her GMAT scores. A Chicago transplant, Conlon wrapped up her undergraduate degree in marketing at the University of Alabama in just three years and planned to stay in Tuscaloosa to complete the school’s one-year Master of Marketing program.

Even though Conlon had her next year planned out, she was already thinking 3-5 years down the road when she took the GMAT. She decided to go ahead and send her GMAT scores to other schools now, in case she chose get her MBA later.

“I was just scrolling the list of schools and seeing where different MBA programs were, because I knew I wanted to send (my scores) to a few places,” she recalled. “And then all of a sudden, it said…Vanderbilt University-Master of Marketing. I was like ‘What? That’s new.’”

Victoria Conlon (MMArk’17)

Vanderbilt Business had just launched the program that January, which Conlon describes as “perfect timing.” She immediately began researching the program and was impressed by the comprehensive range of marketing courses at Owen.

“Being a one-year (program), having MBA-level coursework, and getting to focus on a lot of those marketing topics, both quantitative and qualitative, was something that I felt really built me up going into the real world,” she said.

Conlon was convinced by what she read and applied before the first deadline, just a week after discovering the program. “The way I see it, everything happens for a reason, and Vanderbilt did too,” she said.

Preparing to Recruit

Shortly after arriving on campus, Conlon hit the ground running with recruiting efforts. Megan Nichols, Associate Director of the Master of Marketing program, helped Conlon prepare for interviews and reviewed her resume and cover letters. Conlon also turned to her MBA student mentor for advice throughout the recruiting process.

Originally, Conlon planned to seek out brand management positions for consumer packaged goods companies. But as she progressed through her coursework, she realized that the classes were preparing her for in-demand quantitative marketing roles.

The analytics side was something I knew I was uniquely qualified for because of Vanderbilt’s Master of Marketing program and the quantitative skills we got in that realm. – Victoria Conlon

“The analytics side was something I knew I was uniquely qualified for because of Vanderbilt’s Master of Marketing program and the quantitative skills we got in that realm,” she said. “Especially starting out, I wanted to build that credibility and have that marketing skill in my pocket moving into positions with potentially more creative focus down the line.”

Landing at Disney

Conlon expanded her job search to include more analytical marketing positions and came across an intriguing opportunity online: the Walt Disney Company was taking applications for a Marketing Analytics and Insights Professional Intern.

She knew how many people applied to online job postings and that her chances of ever hearing back from Disney (much less securing an interview) were slim — but she decided to go for it anyway. She submitted the application online and reached out to Owen alums who worked at the Walt Disney Company.

Conlon outside the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts office

Conlon was invited to complete a phone interview and then a Skype interview. Ultimately, Disney extended her an internship offer to work with their marketing analytics and insight team.

“I didn’t think it would work out at the beginning, considering how many thousands of people apply to these jobs, but having that Master of Marketing was something that was definitely unique compared to other candidates,” she said. “(The master’s degree) was something that my recruiter at Disney said really stood out when she was looking through applications.”

Conlon believes that her degree showed that she was serious about pursuing a marketing career, and that’s partly why it stood out to the recruiter at Disney.

“It was a great way to express the fact that I really was interested in (marketing),” she said.

Looking Ahead

In her current role, Conlon focuses on consumer insights and marketing analytics, trying to figure out where to optimize marketing strategies to improve campaign performance. She specializes in parks and resorts, tracking how particular rides and attractions are performing in terms of attendance, social media, customer satisfaction, and more.

The internship is immersive: Conlon sits in on strategy meetings with directors and vice presidents of different divisions. She hopes to secure a spring internship in brand management so she can experience that aspect of Disney’s marketing as well.

For students looking to land at a highly sought-after company like Walt Disney, Conlon advises keeping an open mind in the job search. She also says that if they see an opening, they should apply for it, even if they think it’s a long shot.

“Being too rooted in your plan is just as dangerous as not having a plan going in,” she said. “You never know what company will see your resume and find it valuable and call you up.”

To learn more about the Master of Marketing at Vanderbilt Business, visit the program page.

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