Navigating IMC as an international student — Vitamin IMC speaks to Jean Chang



Navigating IMC as an international student

Vitamin IMC speaks to Jean Chang

When talking about jobs, international students tend to ask many prominent questions:

What kind of job can I do?
What should I learn now in school?
How can I stay in U.S longer?

Well… there are no standard answers…

To bring personal perspective, the Vitamin IMC team interviewed Jean, a Northwestern Taiwanese alumnus who graduated from the IMC full-time program in 2014.

She shared her studying and working experience, and how she fits herself into the new environment and her second home of Chicago.

We asked her some questions:

Vitamin IMCCan you please briefly introduce your background?

Jean: I’m Jean from Taiwan. I got my undergrad degree in agriculture economics at Taiwan University and had 3 years of working experience in marketing and project management in Taiwan before coming to Medill IMC.


Vitamin IMC: What’s your current job? Tell us your day-to-day works.

Jean: I’ve been working as a digital analyst at Energy BBDO for 3 years. Energy BBDO is a Chicago-based agency focused on branding, advertising, strategic planning, creative development, promotions, digital, CRM, and multicultural.  

My daily work is pretty diverse. These are some of the things I do:

  1. Web analytics:
    • Conduct Adobe analytics and Google Analytics to report the website performance based on measurement plans
    • Provide insight and recommendations to optimize the website’s performance
  2. Social analytics
    • Run Social listening tools (Netbase, Crimson Hexagon) to monitor social mentions in categories and providing insight into new business development.
    • Run Pinterest analytics, Facebook Insight, Twitter analytics, YouTube analytics, Tailwinds, Unmetrics
  3. Content analysis
    • Analyze 3 years’ Newsletter content for Right at Home, providing insight/recommendations for the creation of new content
    • YouTube analytics (video audience retention), providing insight into video content strategy
  4. Marketing Research
    • Use ComScore to identify the websites that target customers visit the most to provide recommendation of Ad placement
  5. CRM Email Analytics (I did this in my first year but don’t do this currently)
    • Reported on email performance QoQ, YoY, by extracting data via Exact Target and Tableau
    • Member database in-out analysis and acquisition channels evaluation
    • Newsletter clicks map and content / subject line optimization
    • Coupon performance analysis
    • Worked with account team to provide insight and learning / action items


Vitamin IMC: Back in the days you studied at Medill, are there any concepts, lectures or books that you think is the most helpful for your current job?

Jean: People always say it’s easier for international students to find jobs and stay in U.S if they focus on data analysis. However, there are other chances. If you’re not interested in or not good at coding/math, you can consider digital analytics jobs, which acquire the ability of utilizing existing data software (Google analytics, social media analytics, etc.) instead of coding software.

In terms of IMC lectures, “Digital Analytics” and “Social Media ROI” are especially helpful to my career path.

The “Digital Analytics” course provided comprehensive digital marketing frameworks and tools, such as website tagging, website analytics, programmatic marketing etc. Of course, it also took me a lot of time practicing on my own to master these tools, but they are highly relevant for job interviews and my current day-to-day work. “Social Media ROI” course let me first learned about “Social listening” tools, which are also crucial for digital analytics jobs.


Vitamin IMC : If you could restart your Medill IMC journey again, what would you change?

Jean: Let’s talk about something other than academic performance. Social network is a big part of my life, however, after I started working, I realized that sometimes I lacked cultural knowledge (Entertainment, sports, etc.) to build real connections with my co-workers and new friends.

If I could go back to school again, I’d try my best to explore new places and things to do, watch more American shows in my spare time (take advantage of Student Amazon Prime!), and go to more sport games to experience the culture and the vibes. (Chicago is a good place to do it!). These are also good ways to build new interests and balance our busy school lives (Studying it still important, of course).


Vitamin IMC : Any other suggestions for international students?

Jean: We left our hometown and came to a new nation facing a new environment and culture while speaking another language. As a non-native speaker, you might sometimes feel uncomfortable and unnatural to express yourself during discussions in school or at work. This is especially true if you were an opinion leader in your country, the comparison is more obvious. You’d feel under-confident, which brings weaker expression and chaos in the thinking process.

To solve this problem, here is my suggestion is: Calm down, and accept it. It’s fine. Don’t compare yourself with the old you, because things are different now. Believe me, once you accept it and stop comparing your performances with the ones in the past (and in your country), you’ll feel less frustrated, which would help you break the mental barriers.

Focus on what you’re doing now, maximize your learning experience and most importantly, be confident- your abilities will definitely be seen.

Written by Crystal Chow




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