Queen Mary Alumni

Alumni profile - Eliza Yachimowicz

After receiving my BS in Communications in the US, I wanted to gain a better understanding of marketing and eventually transition into more of a marketing/business-focused career. I also wanted to take the opportunity to live abroad and experience life outside of the US. Queen Mary felt like the perfect balance of those two things. I gained a tremendous amount of life experience while also getting an MSc degree at a Russell Group institution. I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity.

(Marketing MSc, 2020)

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Could you tell us more about why you chose to study at Queen Mary?

It was two-fold. After receiving my BS in Communications in the US, I wanted to gain a better understanding of marketing and eventually transition into more of a marketing/business-focused career. I also wanted to take the opportunity to live abroad and experience life outside of the US. Queen Mary felt like the perfect balance of those two things. I gained a tremendous amount of life experience while also getting an MSc degree at a Russell Group institution. I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity. Plus, I made quite a few connections along the way!

What aspects of your degree did you enjoy and what were your most memorable moments at university?

I enjoyed putting theory into practice. Although most of our assignments were hypothetical, I liked being able to take what we learned in the classroom and apply it to create our own strategies, analyses, etc. I also enjoyed our professors' encouragement to think beyond the theory and get creative. I take a lot of pride in some of the presentations I gave during my time at Queen Mary. A couple of classmates and I presented on the eCommerce behemoth, Amazon. It was a challenge to condense Amazon into a singular deck, but we made it work and got a stellar grade on it. I was beyond proud. The same goes for my dissertation. I wrote about the association between corporate greenwashing and increased climate awareness amongst Millennials and Generation Z. I take a huge interest in sustainability and maintaining an environmentally conscious lifestyle. So, combining a personal interest with my studies surprisingly made my dissertation a relatively enjoyable experience.

You recently joined RR Donnelley as an Associate Sales Representative. Could you tell us about your work and provide some insights into any projects you are currently working on?

RR Donnelly (RRD) is an unassuming company. Most people have no clue who we are, but I can almost guarantee you that you have touched or used one of our products or services at one point in your life. RRD is a global marketing and communications corporation. We provide services such as business and communications support, direct marketing, commercial print, creative, data and insights, packaging, and then some! We are the facilitators of many companies' marketing and branding. Do you know that mobile phone that you have sitting next to you? Think of the box and all printed materials that came with it – that’s likely RRD’s work.

When it comes to marketing, do not box yourself in. Marketing and general business are fluid. Every day is different: trends come and go, technology rapidly advances, and world events continue to occur. You have to be flexible and ready to adapt.

I am an associate, so I am currently working in their Associate Development Program and I will eventually graduate to being an account executive in January. At that point, I’ll be handling my own book of business and bringing in new accounts. Currently, I'm working on building that book of business.

Who has been your biggest influence and why?

I'm fortunate to say, my parents. But I need to shine the spotlight on my mom. Since I hit this earth, my mom has been a career woman. In the last 5-6 years, her career has taken off and she's doing exceptionally well (I may be a bit biased). Since I was young, I have watched her grow as a businesswoman and as a leader. All the while, she would be sure to teach my younger sister and me about work ethic, developing leadership skills, encouraging us to speak in public and speak up for ourselves. She's worked so hard to get where she is today. She now oversees a team of people handling hundreds of millions of dollars in business, training new hires, and brushing elbows with the C-Suite. I continue to be amazed by her and owe much of my success to her encouragement and opportunistic teaching moments.

I’ve also been exceptionally lucky to have been mentored by some amazing women during my internships. I’ve kept in touch with them along the way since I admire their career goals/progression and I value their feedback. Maintaining contact with them has been a game-changer for me. It's certainly given me the chance to run ideas by them, narrow my career decisions, and gain access to more opportunities in the industry.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

Keep in mind, I'm still relatively early on in my career. To date, I've been presented with the opportunity to be an account manager for a real estate/property management company experiencing rapid growth within the US. In the short time that I've been brought on to this account, I have experienced my fair share of challenges and learning opportunities. I've had to learn on the fly a lot of the time. But I find that I gain the most knowledge through hands-on experience. It's been a great experience and I've learned a tonne about myself and what it takes to be an effective leader. I still have so much to gain from it, but those are a couple of the takeaways.

Tell us about a hard decision you had to make in your career? How did you deal with it?

Is it wrong that choosing how to get started has been the biggest upheaval I’ve experienced thus far? I would say that at the beginning of your career, especially in business and marketing, you encounter so many opportunities in a variety of industries. It's incredibly exciting yet very intimidating. I have so many interests and I would love to combine those interests in the work I do, but it's been hard to narrow it down and understand what you truly want out of your career. However, that's the beauty of the beginning of your career. I view this as the time for me to explore different areas of interest and find what works for me and what doesn't. As intimidating as it may be, it’s a good kind of discomfort. It pushes me to try new things.

Would you say this is an exciting time to be in marketing?

I would say so. Scary, but still exciting. I use “scary” in terms of the pandemic and its effect on the industry. For job hunting, I’ll admit, it’s been difficult. Especially for new graduates, it will be tough. But like I said before, there are so many industries and verticals that have a marketing team of some capacity. It may not be the “dream job,” but that's what's so exciting about it! You have the opportunity to gain insight into an industry you may have never considered in the past. That's been a big learning curve for me this year. I want to emphasize that it's all going to be OK and to look at this as an opportunity rather than something hindering your growth.

Aside from that, the path of marketing has changed drastically this year. Companies have had to completely ditch their overall strategies to adapt to Covid. When lockdown kicked in, think of how many businesses completely changed gears with their advertisements, content, and then some. Although it’s not ideal, it’s still cool to see how we’ve had to adapt to a rapidly changing world. We've had to utilize resources we've never used before or we've had to speed up the process of utilizing platforms or technology that were still very much in developmental stages. It’s exciting to see how we’re using different tactics that we would have never considered a year and a half ago. It will be fascinating to see how we will expand upon these new tactics and use them now that we are returning to a bit of normalcy.

How is the industry changing for the better?

From my perspective, I think companies are more socially aware and are taking proper precautions when marketing themselves. Of course, we still see missteps from time to time, nobody is perfect, that's for sure. But I do believe that companies are taking more responsibility and are learning from past mistakes. I do think that the industry has a long way to go, however, it is refreshing to see businesses take the initial steps to be more socially responsible. Especially in nations that are driven by capitalism, businesses big and small have a tremendous influence on building a better society.

What practical advice do you have for students interested in marketing?

When it comes to marketing, do not box yourself in. Marketing and general business are fluid. Every day is different: trends come and go, technology rapidly advances, and world events continue to occur. You have to be flexible and ready to adapt. Think beyond what is normal and acceptable in this industry. Oftentimes, the craziest ideas can become the most innovative. Don't just take what you learn in the classroom at face value, they are merely providing you the building blocks in which you need to expand upon. So, why wait to test the waters until you get started in the industry? Start while you're in the classroom. You are surrounded by those who know the industry like the back of their hand. Use that to your advantage and run your wild ideas by them. Not only will it allow you to receive feedback, but it will also set you apart from your peers and give you a head start in your career. Some of my most successful moments in school stem from thinking beyond the confines of project requirements and using it as an opportunity to push myself and be creative. This shows that you're thinking beyond the theoretical study of marketing and actively applying it to real-life situations.

Where do you see yourself in 2030?

I’d love to be living in London again. I miss it dearly and dream about making it my permanent home one day. Headshot of alumna, Eliza YachimowiczHopefully, by then, I'll be mentoring a team of young hopefuls much like my present self, and focusing my career on strategy, digital solutions, advocating for sustainable corporate responsibility, and working alongside some amazing companies. Who knows, maybe I’ll go back to school and get my MBA in management? I also envision myself planning my next vacation to some far-flung location while sipping on a glass of wine and laying on the couch with my golden retriever. That sounds like a dream!

If you would like to get in touch with Eliza or engage her in your work, please contact Nathalie Grey at n.grey@qmul.ac.uk.