Career Profiles: Aneri Shah, Microsoft, Marketing

Career Profiles is a series of posts that will feature Haas students who have accepted an internship or full time job offer across various industries. This one is on Marketing.

2839267Aneri Shah (Class of 2014) is a senior, double majoring in B.S. Business Administration and B.A. Economics. She has extensive leadership experience while at UC Berkeley, currently the President of the Undergraduate Marketing Association and a Cohort Leader for the Haas Business Student Association. She founded Lean In (Circles) at Berkeley and co-founded the Berkeley Marketing Club, where she has served as Vice President. She has been the VP of Finance for Consulting Club at Berkeley, Business Development Director for Cal Do Something, Media Relations Director for CalPIRG, and Marketing Committee Member for Berkeley Women in Business. Aneri was also involved with mentoring for Young Entrepreneurs at Haas and dancing for Sorayya Bellydance Team during her time at Cal. She is an inducted member of the Sigma Alpha Lamda Honors Society and National Society of Collegiate Honors.

Aneri had an e-commerce internship with Exicon Limited, worked on strategy for The Open Classroom, and managed marketing for Gwanshee, all in Hong Kong, the summer after her freshman year. She was also a Marketing Associate for BranchOut, and a Marketing & Communications Associate for Glassdoor in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Last summer, she interned for Microsoft, and will be continuing there as a Product Marketing Manager as her first career post-graduation.

When did you first realize that marketing was what you really wanted to do?

I stumbled upon marketing the summer after my freshman year. At the time, I thought I wanted to pursue consulting as a career, and I was interning at a boutique mobile consulting firm in Hong Kong. On my first day, they told me my project was to help them with search engine optimization, and asked if I knew what that was. I had no idea, and so I spent the rest of the summer learning about SEO, digital marketing and social media analytics. After that, I worked at several other startups doing the same kinds of things, and was able to build my knowledge base.

You are working for Microsoft post-graduation. What will be your job title, and what makes it so interesting to you?

I will be working as a Product Marketing Manager on Microsoft’s Yammer product, part of the Microsoft Office Division. I am extremely excited as this gives me the opportunity to work closely with a product and see how to optimize growth & engagement. I get to work with many different teams, including engineering, product management, marketing and sales and see how the work of all those teams comes together to affect user behavior. I also love the culture at the company: it is incredibly open and collaborative, and I think there will be many opportunities for me to learn new skills.

How was the interview process for Microsoft?

I interned at Microsoft last summer so I can speak to the internship interview process. The first round was a phone interview in which they asked questions about basic marketing knowledge, my favorite and least favorite products, and how I would launch a new product. The final round consisted of four interviews on the main campus in Redmond, WA. Each of the interviews was different, but they included behavioral questions, market sizing, a market entry case for a non-related industry and strategic questions about Microsoft products. Each of the interviewers was testing for different skills, and they all came from different teams/functions. Eventually, they placed me in a team based on my prior experience, skills and interests.

Can you provide tips for students to help differentiate themselves when recruiting?

The main tip I have that I cannot emphasize enough is to craft your story. Think through all your experiences and see how they build up to make you a good fit for the position you’re applying for. Beyond your clubs and internships, think about your coursework, hobbies and personality traits and determine how they have helped prepare you for the position. The ability to tell your story in a compelling way can be an immense competitive advantage. Beyond that, obviously make sure you know your technicals, such as cases and relevant formulae, and do extensive research on the company. After the basics, read their 10-Ks, earnings reports, analyst reports, commentary and interviews. Better yet, find out about the specific team you’re interviewing for, and read blogs and LinkedIn profiles of people on those teams. Being able to reference specific strategies and tactics they’ve used will definitely make you stand out in an interview.

You have myriad experience in marketing with your campus leadership positions and internships. How do you think this has prepared you for your career after graduation?

The best thing about Berkeley, in my opinion, is the amount of opportunities that are available to you. For me, many of these opportunities came through the clubs that I joined – I met great people, worked on challenging projects and gained valuable real-life experience. I joined the Undergraduate Marketing Association my freshman year, and worked on the strategy consulting team, consulting for clients from eateries such as C.R.E.A.M to tech startups. Each of the projects was comprehensive and provided me insight on what I was good at, what I needed to work on, and what I wanted to learn more about. I was able to both devise strategies and execute scalable plans, and many of the skills I developed were exactly what I could build off of during my internships.

Do you have any general advice you would give other students that you wish you knew earlier as an undergrad?

Don’t take yourself too seriously! Berkeley can be a stressful place when you are constantly surrounded by such talented & dedicated people who seem to be able to juggle a million things without breaking a sweat. Find your place, and find your people. Figure out what you enjoy and want to pursue, take on interesting challenges that matter to you, and find people who make you the best version of yourself. Forget about the rest. College is short, and the best way to maximize your experience is by becoming the person you want to be.

Denice Sy
Class of 2014

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