“Try new things,” says student Walker Matzko, who is enrolled in Emerson College’s Master of Arts Digital Marketing and Data Analytics (DMDA) online program. Walker’s decision led to a career opportunity where his new skills will be utilized, and he hasn’t even graduated yet.
What were you doing before you enrolled in the DMDA program?
I was working in the health care industry at a concierge medical practice. It was super stressful, and I needed to get out of that industry. Six months before I started looking into Emerson, I was enrolled at another college getting an MBA with a specialty in health care, but I realized that was not my bag.
Why did you choose Emerson College?
Multiple people on many different occasions recommended Emerson. My mom told me to check out their website to see if anything interested me. My little sister just happened to transfer into an Emerson undergraduate program at the same time I enrolled in graduate school. Also, one of my best friends is an Emerson alum. I found that very comforting. Emerson has a very good reputation and seems to be a good fit for me.
What attracted you to the DMDA program?
I wanted to have marketable skills that could translate into any industry. I went on LinkedIn and found out that an old friend of mine was a Data Analyst and I got on the phone with him. My barebones understanding of it was: “Here are some numbers and here is some data. What conclusions can we draw from it?” I know now that there’s way more to it, but that was essentially enough to get me interested. I knew I was going to find more success here than where I was.
Did anything else lead to your decision?
The best advice I’ve ever received is: “If you don’t know what you’re good at, keep trying things.” I also did a lot of research into this. I read various articles on what exactly data analytics means. My real passion is in film and cinema. I love movies. I thought I’d go with something slightly safer, but something that could put me where I want to be. In the future, I could end up running digital campaigns for Universal Studios. The fact that it’s a very new program really excited me. Also, Mike McGuirk, Executive-in-Residence and Graduate Program Director of the DMDA program, was on a podcast and that was a big selling point for me.
What was your enrollment experience like?
The enrollment was all completely online. I definitely had some questions. One was: “How do I make sure financing is in order?” Emerson was able to guide me through that process. Everything went so smoothly and that was really great. Mike would call me to pick the classes, something I thought was super easy. The first course was an Introduction to Digital Marketing course. One of the courses was Digital Marketing and Campaigns and the big takeaway was that I learned how to run an email campaign and that was very convenient because the job that I’m going to be starting is an email marketing job.
What skills have you learned so far and how have they helped?
In my first semester, I took an analytics course and I was working with Professor Eng. Now I’m certified in Google Analytics and I was able to put that on my resume. It felt like a pretty decent accomplishment. Luckily, a former classmate who has since graduated landed me a job. I’m super psyched to finally have a marketing gig.
What led you to desire a career in marketing?
It was really all about what I can do, what I’m capable of, and what did I want to do? Several people said to me in undergrad and later, I can see you in marketing. I think I have a fun-loving personality. I love to laugh and I think I would be able to use that in my work in one way or another. Even if not, I like the collaborative aspect of marketing and the fact that it is project-based.
Can you describe the online learning experience? Any fears associated with this?
It’s broken up by week. There is some reading to do at the beginning of the week and then there is something due Saturday night, usually a forum post or a writing assignment. The writing assignments are due Saturday or by the last day of the week.
My fear of enrolling in an online class was that I’d be ignored and that hasn’t been the case at all. The professors are all incredibly responsive over email. When I have a question, they’re there. That’s been very helpful, very attentive. Also, when we have forum posts, we’re instructed to respond to two other forum posts and open a dialogue with our classmates. We have projects together. Two of my classmates and I did an email campaign for Adidas and that felt very good. We delegated work.
Can you describe your relationship with your Student Success Advisor?
Samantha is absolutely wonderful. She happens to give me calls while I’m on my commute home and it’s so convenient for me. She literally registers my classes for me, which is amazing. She’s very attentive. I turned in an assignment late, and she gave me a call and said, “Hey, what’s that about?” I turned it in and then that was fine. She makes sure I’m doing the work I have to do. She’s a very big support and it’s a lot of help.
What job opportunities are out there for students like yourself who are pursuing a DMDA degree?
From what I can tell, literally, every industry that advertises now uses digital marketing. If you’re a hospital, if you’re in the military, if you’re any kind of food chain, you need an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter account and you might need LinkedIn, too. You need people to manage those accounts and keep up with the brand that may or may not have already been built. Even more importantly, you’re going to need people to analyze the data and see who is looking at these posts and who is responding, and then see what conclusions can be drawn to guide the choices of the company and turn a profit. That’s the future I’m looking at for myself.
How will you apply your skills to your new position?
I just had a second meeting with my future boss and he ran through one work activity that I’ll be doing. A client said he wanted to test two different email campaigns, which is A/B testing. I’ll be tweaking email campaigns to see what works and what doesn’t.
What skills will you have after completing the entire DMDA program?
I plan to be certified in different kinds of software, SEO, content creation, web analytics, email analytics, and brand management.
Do you have any advice for professionals who are thinking about a DMDA degree but are unsure about how to proceed?
Honestly, just dive right in. if you don’t like where you are or you want to learn more and you want to get ahead, just dive in and if it doesn’t work out, then you can always pull out and try something else. If you don’t know what you’re good at, just try something. Do research so your decision is an educated one.