Digital Marketing is a growing discipline with plenty of opportunities to learn and help build a company’s digital presence. This is the path Prateeksha Barman chose when she embarked on an International MBA at the University of South Carolina. Not only did she make a big career change to do it, she also left her native home in India. Currently doing her internship at Nuxeo, we caught up with Prateeksha to learn more about her decision to leave her job as a Systems Engineer and her home, and what she’s learning along the way.
1. You spent almost two years working at Infosys as a Systems Engineer, what kind of work did you do during your time there?
For the first 4 months I did the professional training. After the training I joined the manufacturing unit for Infosys. I worked for Apple Inc. For the first two months with Apple I was part of the testing/quality assurance team for the Apple Concierge app. After that I joined the development team for the same app and was involved in developing it, the business requirements gathering, client interactions and so on. It was purely Java development for most of the time.
2. What drove the decision to leave your job (and your home) to attend school in the US and get a degree in Marketing?
Actually at the beginning I hadn’t thought that I would come to the US, it was a gradual decision. During my time as a systems engineer I realized I was more interested in understanding and being part of the management team. I wanted to have the big picture of the organization and be more involved in the processes and how decisions were made at the managerial level. That was when I decided it was time to go for an MBA because without it I didn’t think it was possible to make the transition.
Also, when I worked for Apple it made me want to work in a global environment and interact with people from different cultures and countries. And I had always heard that the American education system is very different from the education system in India, so I thought that this was the time to experience the education system and the work culture. That was why I decided to join the International MBA (IMBA) program at the University of South Carolina.
It was the exposure I was looking for. After I joined the program, it was then I realized that it was marketing I loved the most. I also had a strong analytical background, so I thought I could be more involved in the business analytics part. That’s why I am doing a dual concentration in Global Marketing and Business Analytics.
3. Was the transition from Assam, India to South Carolina difficult?
I would say it was not that difficult because I have lived away from home since I was sixteen. The college I attended was not in my state. Then after my undergrad I went to Bangalore for two years. That is where I worked. I use to visit home during vacations and holidays.
When I moved to the US, I was used to being away from home and being independent, settling down in new places, moving a lot and adapting to new people and completely new cultures. It was a gradual transition. The only thing that is different now is that I miss my family and friends back in India a lot more than I did before.
4. Nuxeo isn’t your first internship, you worked in Mexico for a while. What did you do there?
I didn’t actually work there. Nuxeo is my first internship in the US. In Mexico I went for the Spanish language training and the business cultural overview of Mexico. It was actually part of my IMBA program. I studied for four months at Technologico de Monterrey, Guadalajara in Mexico doing language training. During that time I also developed a business development and marketing strategy for a local family owned business as part of a project.
5. How did you come to join Nuxeo?
I was looking for an internship in the field of marketing and I wanted to work in the US during the summer. At the time my cousin, who was a friend of Jane Zupan (VP Marketing at Nuxeo), introduced me to her. She was looking for an intern and I was looking for an internship that would help me transition from a systems engineer to marketing. This was a good fit for me because it was marketing for a software company. It couldn’t have been a better transition. After an interview with Jane, they offered me this position in Boston and I immediately took it. I loved the place and the tasks that Jane explained I would be doing. That’s how I ended up with Nuxeo.
I didn’t know how this remote working arrangement would work out (I live in South Carolina), but it’s worked out fine. Everyone is available all the time, so if I have any doubts or need to talk to anyone, everyone is always there. The only difficulty is managing my time. I have to find time to work on Nuxeo during office hours, and between my classes.
6. What types of Marketing activities are you working on at Nuxeo?
Basically it’s all online marketing. I’ve worked on all the Nuxeo marketing team activities. During the summer I worked mostly with the marketing automation tool, Marketo. My main task was creating and maintaining the online campaigns, creating group campaigns, and analyzing the performance of all the campaigns. I also worked on email marketing, did SEO strategy creation, content review, and newsletters.
Right now it’s a little different than what I did in the summer. This time it’s a project that involves mapping the marketing funnel for Nuxeo, lead segmentation and improving customer engagement and conversions. This is my part-time internship right now.
7. What is the most interesting aspect of your job? What is the most challenging?
This is my first experience working in the US and working in marketing, so it’s all very exciting. Every day is interesting and I’m learning something new. The most interesting thing where I’m working remotely and independently is that it’s a challenge to get the work done, be productive and manage my time, and really be into what I am doing. I keep exploring a lot. There’s a lot of research involved. When Jane gives me a task, it’s my responsibility to finish it on my own. This is the most interesting thing to look forward to because she really trusts me and it’s up to me how I finish the task.
8. As a digital marketer - what things are Nuxeo doing well? What would you like to see more of?
I didn’t have a lot of experience in digital marketing before working with Nuxeo. But after spending a lot of time and doing a lot of research, I understand that Nuxeo is one of the few companies that have rich video content. I learned from experience that video content is very important for any company and it has definitely helped Nuxeo from a digital marketing aspect.
Also, Nuxeo’s marketing is very focused on its audience, so it doesn’t just produce content for anyone, it’s meant specifically for technology architects, engineers or IT project leads.
Every time I see a new post from Nuxeo, I see a few tweets or shares. But I think everyone from the Nuxeo family could be more involved, share the content more to increase popularity and get the ball rolling. I think that’s something we could all do. Since I know that everyone is very interested in a lot of activities and putting things out for everyone, maybe we could promote it even more.
9. From your perspective, what are some of the key challenges in the digital marketing industry today?
By working in the field directly the first thing that I realized was that it’s important to write content for the audience that would actually captivate them and build their interest. And that’s very challenging and difficult, because anyone can create content, but creating content that is captivating and useful is challenging.
Also digital marketing use has dramatically increased in the last couple of years. So it’s important to differentiate yourself. There is all sorts of information out there, so it’s challenging to come up with content that is unique. I believe Nuxeo is doing that, but we still have a long way to go. In addition, effectively using social media is a challenge.
10. You are also working on a project right now for the H. E Corley Elementary School (Leader in Me). What’s that about?
The school has recently adopted the “Leader in Me” program for schools. It’s a school-wide model for elementary schools and colleges which increases student engagement. It teaches kids right from the age of three or four how to be a leader or effective manager in whatever they do. H.E Corley did not know how to promote the program and communicate it to people in the community. That’s where we come in. It’s a team of three people and we are working on re-positioning the Corley brand. It’s basically creating a communications strategy plan for Corley and helping promote the program, also bringing the students, teachers, parents and the community on board with the program.
This project was available for the school and at the time anyone could have opted for it. I found it very interesting because it had direct community involvement and it was for a school. They didn’t have a huge budget, so we had to work on a tight budget and tight time schedule. It interested me a lot. I had to drop one of my school subjects to take this project.
11. What are you plans when your internship ends? What is your dream job?
My internship ends in December, but I will still have five more months in my MBA program. Right now after my internship I’m definitely re-considering and maybe next year I will again apply for an internship at Nuxeo. After graduation I would really love to work for Nuxeo.
But regarding the dream job, I wouldn’t say I’m looking for any big brands, I’m not looking for any particular job or position as my dream job. I want to do what I love and I really want to be happy when I work because I had some previous experience where I was not very happy with what I was doing, even though I was part of a big brand and had a dream position as a computer engineer. So working in marketing and business analytics, and being able to motivate and contribute to the team I am working for, make a difference in the company I am working for, that’s my dream job. Basically be happy with and excel in what I am doing.
6 Quick Facts About Prateeksha:
- Favorite bedtime reading material? I never read at bedtime. Before sleeping I make it a point to watch a couple of shows that I love.
- Favorite band/music? To name a few I love the Imagine Dragons, Adele, Maroon 5 and I listen to a lot of Hindu music.
- What do you miss most about Assam? Food and home.
- Hardest language you have learned? Spanish, I was never exposed to it before I came to the US.
- Describe Nuxeo in 5 words or less: International, Technology Driven, Growing, Employee Friendly and Fun
- Best advice for young girls today: I’m so not in a position to give any advice, but I’ll definitely share what I believe and what I follow everyday: “Aim high, be driven, be ambitious but stay grounded”