Alumni Spotlight: Christine (Brown) Pompa '13
How did you come to choose Eastern for your graduate degree?
I had learned about EMU's integrated marketing communications program online and was intrigued since marketing is my passion and something I wanted to specialize in even further, beyond my career experience and past educational pursuits. After some research, I found that EMU was one of the few universities offering such a unique degree. It was also attractive that the program was completely online, allowing me to continue working full time. It was really a simple decision after weighing all the benefits of the program and university.
Assuming you were working full time during the two years you were enrolled in the IMC program, can you share your strategies for successful work/life/school balance?
Yes, I was definitely working full time. I even had a part-time job on top of that! In addition to volunteering for two different organizations and buying a house during my program, life was certainly busy. To successfully balance work, life and school, I had to be diligent with planning and managing my time. I made it a point to schedule at least an hour or two most days to log into my classes to see which deadlines were approaching, read through the course materials, participate in discussions or work on case studies.
On busier days, I was utilizing my lunch hour at work or traveling with my textbook when I went out of town for work. You definitely have to be creative with your time and plan ahead. The flexibility of the program was great for me; while there were deadlines and due dates, I was able to work according to my own pace. I just had to schedule my time wisely to get everything done.
Did you have a particular class or professor that you believe was most impactful during your time in the IMC program?
Yes, Sheila Sasser. She teaches the creative strategy and multi-channel media classes. She was a professor that deeply impacted me during my time in the program. She is truly an expert and thought leader in marketing and advertising, bringing so many real-world experiences and examples to the class. She also offers her students the opportunity to participate in conferences and workshops outside of the class to hone their skills. While you aren't required to attend any in-person events, I was able to meet with her in person at a marketing workshop EMU was hosting. She was a delight to talk to—willing to help her students in any way she can through advice and networking.
What are you doing professionally these days?
I am a marketing manager of the professional market segment at Thomson Reuters. I am responsible for planning, implementing and managing marketing programs supporting the growth and expansion of the segment for tax and accounting business. I oversee the overall demand generation strategy, as well as campaign development and execution.
Additionally, I have been an adjunct faculty member at Macomb Community College for over a year now. I instruct a principles of marketing and a global marketing class.
In what respects have you been able to apply what you learned in the IMC program to you work?
I was able to apply the whole concept of integrated marketing communications to my work, almost immediately upon taking my first class. As technology has increased the flow of information to the consumer, utilizing the traditional channels of marketing is no longer sufficient. The customers and prospects I market to receive a dozen touch points from my company as they progress through the sales lifecycle; including emails, social media posts, the downloading of content like whitepapers, attending a webcast, etc. Each time they come in contact with the company, they need to have a cohesive experience with the brand hearing the same message.
The IMC program really solidified my understanding of this and allowed me to put myself into the shoes of the customer and really understood how and why they interact with the brands that they do. In my work, I am able to take a strategic look at marketing and realize where it has the potential to enhance customer relationships and build loyalty.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering the program?
Honestly, this is advice I'd give for anyone considering a graduate program: be sure you are ready for it. It takes a lot of time and energy and it's not easy. Don't get me wrong, it's totally worth it and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I had to work hard. If you're passionate about marketing and want to really specialize in it, this is the program to get there and the reward will be great.