Career Profiles: Emmeline Wong, 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.

Gala1Emmeline Wong is a Haas senior and a first generation college student. She transferred in from College of San Mateo in Fall 2012. She was born and raised in China, but is also deeply influenced by South American culture after living for eight-and-a-half years in Peru. Her expertise in cross-cultural understanding and versatile personality has enabled her to gain multiple work experience as a student.

In community college, she served as a Student Senator for her school’s student government and as Co-President for the Beta Xi Eta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She has also worked part time as a Trade Assistant at Northern California World Trade Center and Sales and Loans Associate for Buy Sell Loan, Inc.

At Haas, she was exposed to multinational firms. She interned for Cisco doing Global Partner Marketing – Strategy and Operations last summer and was an Analytics Associate for Tesla Motors in Fall 2013. She is currently the Director of College Marketing for Wallit, a local student-run tech startup; Kiva Zip Trustee for Berkeley Microfinance; and still does international market research for Chinese & Peruvian Small Businesses, which she has been doing since 2009. Emmeline has not yet responded to full-time offers for her career post-graduation. However, she knows that marketing and data analytics is something she wants to continue pursuing in the future.

What made you pursue marketing? What makes it so interesting to you?

I was born and raised in China, but also lived 8 years in Peru prior coming to the U.S.A. I have always loved observing people’s behavior, identifying their needs and delivering solution to their “pain”. I used to think that marketing was all about advertising and influencing people’s mind. However, as I learned more about it, I became more and more fascinated by the strategic planning side, which includes thinking whether a team is going towards the right direction, addressing the market, and examining the product’s relevance to the customer. Marketing is more than just specializing and focusing on one specific area, it is a combination of psychology, and strategic and creative thinking.

You have interned for a variety of firms, from tech startups to Tesla Motors to Cisco doing marketing and data analytics. How were you able to snag interviews from these innovative companies?

I have always been curious about everything around me, and I never underestimated anyone or any opportunity I came across. I found those opportunities by being genuinely curious and interested in the team members and the projects they were doing, and I naturally became part of them. Every single person and small experience serves as a stepping stone. I joined projects that seemed fun to me, and I naturally did more and better than expected because I was engaged and inspired.

I definitely felt a little pressure watching many of my peers getting into big name firms, but I always chose to follow my guts and do what was most interesting to me. Like Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”

RECOMMENDATION: Be genuinely interested in the people you meet. You never know what doors can open up. Do what is fun to you. You can only do well in projects that you enjoy staying up for, and still feels like you are just having fun. At the same time, ask yourself “how can I differentiate myself from others that are also interested in this field, and are also talented?” (Hint: expand your skillset while doing what you enjoy.)

How were the interview processes like?

Marketing-related interviews are always fun because they are very thought-provocative. A book that helped me prepare was “Case in Point” by Marc P. Consentino (it was introduced to me by Ivan Zhou. Thank you Ivan!). Other questions are related to creativity and problem solving, such as picking a product you like and marketing it to a random country.

In terms of the process, most of the interviews for internship took place on campus, and some of them would start with a phone screening. Afterwards, you are invited to face to face interviews.

Going to career fairs was very helpful as well, because that way the recruiter can get an impression about you and take notes on your resume. In fact, I got my interview with Cisco at a career fair. Full time interviews would be more tedious since it requires 2-5 rounds of interviews with a mix of behavioral and case-based questions.

RECOMMENDATOIN: Put yourself out there, meet people, and show genuine interest in them. They will either refer you into their company or help you prepare interviewing for another company. For the interview, always think “why should the company hire me instead of other brilliant UC Berkeley candidates?”

You transferred in from community college and had to take on the recruiting process more challengingly than others. How were you able to assimilate to Haas so well, and successfully persevere the pressures of ABC recruiting?

First of all, I am still humbled by the amazingly brilliant minds at Haas, and it was not easy to “assimilate” to Haas. I was not only a transfer student, but an immigrant that came to the U.S.A. 6 years ago without any guidance in my academic career. I did not even think of going to a 4-year university, let alone Haas. But somehow, by doing things that interested me helped me get to where I am now. This is why I always follow my heart.

In my first semester, I was overwhelmed with all the clubs/fraternities and company names I had never heard of before. I felt that the definition of success was to get a job at one of the big ABC companies, but I did not want to be “one in the crowd” nor give up my aspirations. Fortunately, I have good mentors that gave me career and life advice. They helped me identify career paths that matched my values and personality. I reached out to alumni and asked for their experiences and passion as well, and was reassured that I would do a great job in marketing and eventually project management (managing a team). It all comes down to following your guts.

RECOMMENDATION: Read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and find organic mentors. These will be the people that truly care about your personal and professional growth. Be charismatic and grateful, and pay it forward. I want to take this opportunity to thank David Olson, Tony Luh, David Riemer, Jesse Ante, Aaron Mendelson, Marty McMahon, Anthony Sandberg, Robert Apodaca, Jean Mach, Aliaksandr Hudzilin, Joseph Cheng, May Yang, Veysel Berk, Alan Wells, and Holly Schroth.

Do you have any advice for other Haas and Cal students in general, who are also interested in either tech startups or general marketing?

Besides the small tips I have provided above, read The Economist to predict future trends and opportunities, and enrich your skill set by practicing case studies. Also, complement your business degree with technical skills like programming. Some sources I recommend are: General Assembly, Tradecraft, and Tealeaf Academy. Every year, there are new graduate students who are super brilliant and can do the job you are doing. You need to think constantly about how you can be a good asset to the company you are working for. Learn as much as you can wherever you go.

Denice Sy
Class of 2014

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