The Executive MBA gave Natalie Truong a valuable peer network and the confidence to take her career forward.
Head of B2B Marketing (Pacific), Mercer
The MBA (Executive) has given me the tools and frameworks to make critical business decisions.
Talk about an important lesson during your career.
At my role at CPA Australia I was managing recruitment internationally, so I was looking after five markets. A key learning was that an image that worked in Australia you would never be able to sell that in Singapore, Vietnam or Malaysia. Marketing is about making it relevant for people – if you can’t understand where they’ve come from or what they’re looking for you’ll never be able to sell a product, let alone a message to them. For me, it just comes back to the brand. Is that branding something I can relate to and if it’s not, you can have the cheapest home loan or the cheapest product in the market and I still wouldn’t buy it from you. With marketing it’s always subjective, so there’s not one thing that you can talk to everyone about.
What was your experience of studying the Executive MBA?
At RMIT, I had a wonderful experience because I chose my course knowing what I wanted to do and what I wanted to get out of it. It was amazing because of the types of people that I met, the breadth of people I met. Some international, some local. Each single person had a different reason for why they wanted to do the MBA. I thoroughly enjoyed all the experiences and the lecturers. One of my favourite subjects was entrepreneurship, where you had a whole semester to come up with a business idea and pitch it at the end of the semester.
What was one of the highlights of your studies?
One of the most critical things that I learnt is the group work and the type of people in the group work. You need an absolute mixture of people to do your work really well. Going into that MBA, I was thinking “you’re not a marketer, I don’t understand you”. But during the course, we were put into groups not by choice, so I could be working with someone who was an engineer, an architect or an accountant. There was even an undergraduate student from drama studies. So the five of us would have to work together, which is no different to a real workplace.
What did you learn about the qualities that are important for success?
Being curious. The ability to understand that it’s subjective so you can’t get too precious about it and to understand why people are attracted to a brand in the way that they are. Some people have a blind loyalty to a brand and when you ask them why they can’t articulate it. And for a marketer that is the ultimate goal, to find that exact piece of curiosity that has made that person the way they are. Being observant is another key factor; it’s very much about respecting not just people’s point of view, but their time. Respecting who your customers are.
What advice would you give to young marketers coming through?
I think as a young marketer, it’s good to get a lot of experiences, a breadth of experience while you’re studying. As you get more experienced in marketing, I think it’s really important to work for brands that really resonate with you, that you really understand what they stand for. I am a mix of data and observation. If you take that pure data analytic side of marketing you miss the side, how do you then relate that to a person, a customer. They won’t relate to your numbers they relate to how you make them feel as a brand and how they can associate with that brand. As a marketer it’s critical to know what’s happening in the world, the facts are important the numbers that are coming through daily, weekly is important. What’s important for me is getting out and talking to customers. It’s really important as you develop through your marketing career, to really love and be able to relate to a brand. It’s only then that you can be really true to create a message that resonates with the audience and your target market.