In 2019, Erica Morón found herself unemployed and looking for work. Now she works at Bumble, a billion-dollar brand that has revolutionized online dating, friendship, and networking. In this interview, Erica shares her experience as an online Digital Marketing and Analytics (DMDA) student — including how it transformed her career and what advice she has for prospective students.
What were you doing before you enrolled in the DMDA program?
I had been laid off at the end of the summer in 2019 after about 14 years in media planning. When the pandemic hit, all of my job leads started to dry up. I had noticed that there were a lot of jobs that were digitally-centric or required some digital strategy experience at a minimum. I didn't have enough digital planning experience or was just underqualified for those roles. That's when I began thinking I should pivot into something else within marketing where I could apply all of my skills.
What attracted you to Emerson’s online program?
I remembered Emerson because I had gone to school in Boston and knew they had a reputation of being a good communication school. Without having a job, I couldn't commit financially to a robust in-person program which was expensive. I also couldn't commit time-wise to something like a full-time or fixed schedule program because if I did get a job, I didn’t know what my work schedule was going to be like. I needed more flexibility.
Was there anything that surprised you about the program or the online experience?
I was surprised that I was able to adapt to the online experience a lot quicker and easier than I expected. I'm always online. Apart from school, I'm always learning online. It shouldn't have been a surprise that I could learn in an online program. I was really surprised at how organized and how structured the program is from a logistical perspective.
What has been your favorite class so far and why?
I've taken something away from each of my courses. I've probably taken the most from Web Analytics. I was able to learn Google Analytics, which was intimidating for me when I logged in and tried to teach myself. I was really excited to get the certification and immediately start using it at my new job. I started a contract freelance role at Bumble back in September. It was right when school started and Bumble didn't have a dedicated media expert. So, I started as a Media Strategist coming in.
I knew I was gonna have to do some analytics and knew I couldn’t plan a campaign and just let it run without being able to tell them how it did. It was wonderful to be able to take the Web Analytics course to actually use Google Analytics every week and be able to pull my own reports and learn as I was in class. It was super useful!
What are some advantages of pursuing a degree online at Emerson?
Even though it's a rigorous program, everything is clearly outlined. What's even more great is the professors have been flexible and understanding, especially with COVID.
How were you able to feel connected to your professors?
To be honest, I'm pretty introverted and going out of my way to reach out to professors and get to know them during my undergrad wasn’t right for me. As I've gotten older, I’ve gained a ton of confidence in my expertise and my work. I noticed in the program you have to connect because it's all online. In one course, my professor scheduled check-ins to get to know her. I was so surprised that she wanted to know me: where I'm at, what I'm doing and what my goals are. It had nothing to do with the course itself, which was awesome. I think those little touches definitely make me feel more connected to my professors and even my peers through our group projects.
Can you describe your relationship with your Student Success Advisor?
What I find really interesting about the Student Success Advisor role is they're really connected to how you're pacing. For example, if I was late with a discussion post and I hadn't yet gotten a chance to connect with my professor, they would each call me just to see if I'm okay. The guidance is not overbearing; it's just right. It's nice to know that somebody's checking in on me.
How do you feel about your career now vs. before you started Emerson Online?
My confidence is a lot higher than it was a year ago.
Before the program, I never got a chance to really think about things beyond media, such as messaging, community management, public relations or creative. Being in the program forced me to think about those things. It has also given me a newly found confidence, inspiration and excitement when I log in to Bumble to do my work. It has allowed me to expand the way that I think and contribute to my teams.
How has Emerson Online helped you in your career? Can you share a specific example of how it helped, or could help, you succeed in a current or future role?
It has definitely impacted my career in terms of hard knowledge and knowledge of tools. It has also taught me to think about other things, like the human and societal impact of media.
In one of my courses, we used a simulator for Google Ads. We logged in and worked with a team to learn how to bid on keywords and optimize. Now when I go into Google Ads, I understand what I'm doing. I understand how to look at it and the nuances of how increasing my bid will impact my results or how to tackle improving my conversion rates.
In Web Analytics, we learned about the tag tracking UTM codes, which allows you to see where your traffic is coming from. I had never done that before and thank goodness I learned it when I did! I was setting up the Bumble campaign for the fourth quarter. Without this course, I wouldn't have been able to get a full picture from our reports on how our consumers were going from our ads and navigating through our microsite for the campaign.
What advice would you give to those thinking about Emerson’s 100% online DMDA degree?
If you're the type of person who needs a bit of structure and you are looking to grow your skill set or gain more confidence — this will give it back to you. You'll take something away, whether it's refreshing your ability to learn or how to learn and how to think about different aspects within marketing. I would 100% recommend it. It's a really good investment of your time and of your money.
If you are interested in expanding your marketing expertise, learn more about how Emerson's Master of Arts in Marketing program can help you succeed,