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Essay 1 :
a) What is your short-term goal following graduation from the Georgetown McDonough Full-time MBA Program? What skills are you seeking to develop or improve upon in order to reach your goals?
b) What is your long-term career goal?
Almost a year back, I got an opportunity in the BFSI vertical of XX to contribute in their Digital Marketing Team. I got a chance to work with some of the top performing teams at XX in Product Management and marketing teams from Banking, Capital Markets and Insurance clients across the globe, providing me and opportunity to develop deeper insights in marketing and in gaining an end-to-end business perspective.
As a lead for Email Marketing team for FS, I am involved in conceptualizing end-to-end Email Marketing strategy for FS clients, providing segmentation, design, execution and analytics solution adhering to regulatory and organizational frameworks. As advanced analytics has the potential to positively impact customer engagement, I have also been involved in analyzing and restructuring of client’s mix of channels to have a more prominent low-cost digital offering that could reach and serve new market segments and enhance measurement insights and media integration. These efforts have assisted clients in leveraging digital networking touch points to attract new customers, engage effectively and efficiently manage content across digital channels, thus increasing redemption rates.
This experience has encouraged me to pursue an MBA from Georgetown and take a position in the Marketing Strategy team for Financial Services organizations that are at the fore front of innovation such as Bank of America, American Express, Citibank, PayPal, T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. etc. For e.g. While working for one of our largest clients, with the help of advanced analytics, I was able to effectively segment clients by slicing data from multiple channels enabling me to create powerful customized offers based on client characteristics like loyalty analysis, interest graphs, eligibility and client vintage. The effort enabled significant penetration and the client witnessed improved closure rates. For my future employer, I would like to create digital engagement models that will enable data and digital thinking to be integrated into the strategic planning process, creating and driving towards a digital road map for various lines of business.
To assume such roles, I will have to leverage my past experience and meet gaps around various aspects of marketing—such as marketing channel strategies, consumer behavior, managing customer value, new product management, etc. and also build Strong understanding of various FS sub-domians. I am particularly interested in studying courses such as ‘Financial Services Management and Regulations’, ‘Impact Investing’, ‘Strategic Market Segmentation‘, ‘Leadership and Social Intelligence’ and ‘Social Marketing’. The improved curriculum at Georgetown provides a comprehensive integrative learning by providing greater emphasis on analytics and service to the business and society, pushing students to become principled and innovative leaders.
As rightly mentioned by Dean Thomas in his vision statement, featured in Unityfirst — ’Looking ahead, it is about driving innovation’. The role of marketer will require increasing knowledge of digital marketing technologies and platforms in order to effectively lead the marketing organization of the future. Upholding the vision of Dean Thomas, my long-term career goal is to stay abreast of disruptive technologies and enhance my expertise to assume vast roles as Marketing Director heading international marketing operations, and then evolve as Chief Marketing Officer for a financial services firm.
Essay 2 : Describe a global business challenge and its relevance to your post-MBA career.
While interacting with the Marketing teams across banks, insurance and investment companies, I have realized that value and preference based communication drive share of wallet. As financial services firms try to achieve these goals, there are three major challenges they face— Strong regulatory oversight, dynamic economic forces and being technologically efficient. . Of these, leveraging technology as a business enabler stands as a global business challenge because it influences the nature of interaction between the customer and the financial services provider. Since financial services are largely information based and their operations are evolved around services, the nature of how they are marketed is rapidly changing due to the emergence of disruptive technologies globally connected consumers, diversified local consumers, multi-channel misses, and overlapping interest of organizational structures.
For leading global banks today, customer-centricity is the king and the degree to which banks focus on building relationships and revenues with existing and prospective customers will be a key determinant and will be a critical success factor for banks. Hence for banks to be successful in the future, digital marketing is a core capability as it defines and redefines customer experiences across multi-channels. The successful banks will master—innovation in online banking, customer voices across digital channels, mobile services and social media. As banks gather insights into existing customer behavior, enhance coordination across customer-facing channels and strengthen their digital channels, they lack clear strategy and an agile execution to ensure measurable improvements.
Financial Services industry today captures 13% of the total market share of digital marketing spending but that doesn’t reflect in the ROI of marketing budgets. Attracting more qualified leads to the site and being able to cross sell and up sell to existing customers are essential to achieving growth but that requires setting up a digital ecosystem, a balanced perspective of short-term and long-term goals and cross-functional collaboration. For e.g. Bank of America reduced its spending on traditional television and print advertising and doubled its digital spending as do many other financial organizations but the defining move here is not spending but digital awakening. Such endeavors in creating digital ecosystem are rare though imperative by marketers today to bet their dollars.
For Insurers, the ability to gather customer data and use it to create and deliver targeted products is a key element of high performance. The challenge facing insurers is to develop a distribution strategy that capitalizes on the strengths of each respective channel and allow them to match the right customers with the right products and services, at the right price through the right channels. A digital insurer will need to embrace bold change, but in a new way by being innovative on three fronts – connected to reinvent the customer experience, analytics for richer insights and smarter decisions to enable better outcomes and agile to stay one step ahead.
Given the strength of this trend, a fully functional digital channel is no longer a differentiator for leading financial services organizations. Rather, differentiation and competitive advantage will come from providing a digital experience that is relevant and tailored to each individual consumer. As most of the FS organizations lack the combination of business understanding, marketing savvy and deep technology capabilities to develop and implement a holistic strategy to create engagement models, through my MBA I will focus on meeting this gap. A decade ago the ecommerce or digital function would have reported to the CIO, but today we are seeing about 50% reporting to the CMO – This trend alone can be attributed to the fact on how digital marketing has taken center piece in the organizations innovation game plan. As a marketer, my technology background will come handy and experience in consulting clients on digital marketing strategies will help me in justifying the investments that I will make for the organization I will be associated with.