By Heream Yang
Vanderbilt’s Master of Marketing program equips students from all academic and professional backgrounds to succeed in a diverse array of marketing careers, from brand management to communications. We spoke with three graduates from the Class of 2017 to see how their careers have progressed over the last two years since graduating from the inaugural program.
Terranicia Holmes, Sr. Digital Communications Planner, Events at Gartner
When Holmes entered Bowdoin College, she never expected to pursue a career in marketing. Originally a pre-med student, she was driven by her passion for social issues to pursue an academic career. However, during her senior year, her desire for a more action-oriented role led Holmes to pivot once again.
On the advice of her mentor, Owen alum Amy Jorgensen Conlee (MBA’77), Holmes enrolled in a summer business program where she discovered her interest in marketing. After spending two years as a Marketing Communications Manager at the YWCA of Greater Atlanta, Holmes decided to supplement her work experience with an advanced marketing degree.
“The Master of Marketing was an opportunity for me to go from being self taught to actually getting a formalized (marketing) education and learning a little bit more that I wouldn’t be able to teach myself during my job,” Holmes said.
After graduating from Vanderbilt, Holmes landed a job at Thomson Reuters as a Sales Development Associate, where she gained a better understanding of the convergence of marketing and sales. After working there for nearly a year, Holmes transitioned to a more traditional marketing role at Gartner as a Senior Digital Communications Planner working across their global conferences.
Through her job, Holmes has had the opportunity to travel all over the world, from Barcelona to Brazil, and collaborate on a global scale. “There’s an opportunity to really work across the globe, (and) you kind of learn how to manage those dynamics,” Holmes said. “The most exciting thing about my job… is the chance to interact and work with people from different backgrounds.”
Holmes credits her Vanderbilt experience with giving her the confidence and skills to take charge of her career in marketing. “I left (the Master of Marketing) feeling like a true marketer, in the sense that I had both a little bit of work experience, and then I was able to combine that with an educational experience and… I can take that knowledge with me anywhere I go,” Holmes said.
Jonathan Martz, Product Experience and Marketing Lead at Nashville Entrepreneur Center
Originally an aspiring history teacher, Martz became heavily involved with VandyRadio as an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University. His passion for the music industry eventually led him to a career in marketing. “I (asked myself), what do I want to do with music?’ and took some classes, did some research, and landed on marketing,” Martz explained.
After graduating from Vanderbilt, he began interning at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC) to build up his marketing experience. “While I was interning, I realized I was learning a lot of the technical skills of marketing but wasn’t really getting the big picture (of) marketing strategy…” Martz said. “Also, looking at the bigger picture of my whole career, up into more senior marketing positions, I needed a stronger marketing background.”
Martz decided to return to Vanderbilt to get his Master of Marketing degree and continued working part-time at the EC while in school. “It’s super helpful that I worked part-time,” Martz said. “Everything I learned in school, I could then apply to the real world at the same time.”
After graduating from the Master of Marketing program, Martz continued to work at the EC as an independent contractor while also pursuing freelance marketing projects. In April 2018, he transitioned to a full-time role at the EC as a Product Experience and Marketing Lead, leveraging digital marketing and event promotion to support the EC’s mission of empowering local entrepreneurs.
“The EC plays a really vital role in the city,” Martz said. “It’s really cool getting to see someone start from the very beginning and grow their business, and then make a substantial impact on the whole city.”
Victoria Conlon, Associate Brand Manager at The Kraft Heinz Company
After graduating from the University of Alabama in just three years with a 4.0 GPA and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Victoria Conlon began looking for Master of Marketing programs to kickstart her career.
“I definitely wanted to do a one-year program that would help me dive deeper into specific areas of marketing, whereas my undergrad degree was more of a broad business and marketing background,” Conlon said.
Conlon joined the inaugural Master of Marketing class at Vanderbilt, drawn to the school’s strong business reputation and its comprehensive MBA-level marketing curriculum. “I think it’s great to learn from people who have actually been in the industry, to talk to MBAs (and) professors who have been at marketing agencies (and) are in different areas of marketing,” Conlon explained.
Leveraging the strong quantitative skills she developed at Vanderbilt, Conlon began her marketing career as a Marketing Analytics & Insights Professional Intern in Disney’s Parks and Resorts division, working cross-functionally with the Marketing Strategy Team to analyze key metrics to boost revenue and park attendance.
“I got to see the different elements of marketing that I wanted to target,” Conlon said. “One of the areas that stood out to me was marketing strategy, and I knew that I always wanted to lean back towards the CPG space.”
True to her word, after completing her Disney internship, Conlon began working in the CPG space as a Senior Marketing Analyst at Kraft Heinz. Conlon was soon promoted to her current role as Associate Brand Manager at Kraft Heinz, where she leverages her B2B marketing skills to make an everyday impact in consumers’ lives.
“The Career Center (emphasizes) making connections and learning from people’s experiences… and that’s how I ended up at Kraft Heinz through the networking process (and) personal connections,” Conlon said. “But also having a marketing background, having the (Master of Marketing) degree and then doing the internship at Disney really helped cue me up for success in the brand path.”