Teachers College, Columbia University Director of Enrollment Marketing
Florida State University Bachelor's, English Writing
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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
So I got my start in, you know, market Communications. When I was still in college, I went to Florida State University in Tallahassee, which is a far cry from Manhattan, um, working for the student newspaper. And that's really where I got my writing chops up. And after I graduated, I went and became a reporter, covering politics and government and the courts on After a couple of years, like a lot of reporters, you have to decide if you want to continue on a path where you have a lot of exciting experiences, but not very much money that comes with it. And so it or you move around the country or you go into what we call the dark side, which is public relations. And so I did the ladder and went to work for a firm where I was working with retail and restaurants and other nonprofits. About a year into that experience, I went to work for all right, I'm sorry I got an account that was a law school, and that was my first sort of foray into working with higher education, and I learned a lot about what that means. And as you know now I work for education about a year into that experience, working with that client, they said, we've created in the House of Position and we don't feel like interview anybody. So if you would like this job, you can have it, which is very unusual. And at 28 I was the marketing director at a law school, and I came into that experience with the expectation that I was going to working. So new brand standards and key messages and other identity things that the content I had for a very long time. And so I did that job about 6.5 years, and around 2007, 2000 and eight, the law school market took a very dark turn where people stopped going and we were a large law school. So where is my department used to be very creative and collaborative and fun. It became the Office of Crisis of, you know, defending against lawsuits and layoffs and all kinds of things that were not fun. And so one day my boss called me in and said that she was leaving. But she said, Please don't come with me. Go to your own thing. This is your time to fly and she left, and about three months later call me back and said, Psych, Please come work for me again. I would like to have you on my new team. So I followed her to a new position at another school in the northeast corner area. Learned a lot more about higher education from a different perspective. And about a year or two in that one decided that I really wanted to leave Florida, where had been my entire life and try something new. And I interviewed all over the country and wound up at a job just outside of New York City, where I learned again about higher education and how that works and all of the intricacies that that come with it and then went to work for an agency in Manhattan that specialized. We're working with higher education clients Fordham, Sarah Lawrence, Seton Hall and a few others, and eventually I got a call from a mentor of mine that said, Hey, there's a job that's open to Colombia. It will realize that your career path we think you should apply and see what happens. And I thought to myself. I have applied for so many jobs where I came in second place. Fine, I'll do it. And lo and behold, four months later, I was offered what I consider to be my dream job, and that's how I got basically in a very roundabout kind of way meant to my current job.

What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? What are the top three priorities? What are weekly work hours like?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
okay, so I'll always goes in. And Random order Weekly hours or not really a thing, especially during Cove in, um, marketing in general is not a 9 to 5 job mean things will happen after hours will happen over the weekend will happen in the mornings, and at the risk of turning yourself into a martyr, you do have to have to work life balance. But it is not a structured as a typical job again, just based upon the realities of things happen. And we're very digital world now. I mean marketing, especially where you could use various channels to reach your target audiences. And it's it's not going to be at the most convenient time for your personal life. That being said, I would say, typically, I'm a 96 kind of guy would be my busy season beyond that. There again, there will be some some circumstances where you have to kind of step up when it's not necessarily convenient for you. I do not try to make that an expectation of my team because I am the director of the department and its its not necessarily their their cross to bear when it comes to you know, emergencies that happened outside of typical working times. But, um, so there is no e guess again, 96 typically, but there will be some times when things just happen. Uh, responsibilities. I am very tied closely into enrollment for the college, Which again, for any college running business, you know, having customers come to the front door. It's critical to your vitality. So I'm charged with developing strategies and tactics to reach perspective, students who align with who we are and what we do. When do we serve and our career outcomes? On a typical day that could be developing digital campaigns through Google or Facebook or Instagram, it could be more traditionally developing brochures or pamphlets that we would pass out during an open house. It could be managing photo shoots or video shoots. It's very creative and collaborative. It really does speak Thio how I like to work, which is to never be bored, but also to work with other people. My top, your priorities. Let's see here It would be effective in no particular order, you know, bringing in Web traffic qualified web traffic into our website of students who really do again aligned with who were trying to reach it would be also developing enquiries, which is people who have reached our website and said I want more information and you know, finally reaching people who who apply where programs and are the right fit for our programs and who will be admitted and it ultimately come to our class is when they start in the spring or fall.

What are major challenges and pain points in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in overcoming them? Discussing examples will help students learn better.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
we have taken major challenges. Nobody has an unlimited budget. I mean, you are given, you know, at the start of a fiscal year, the amount of money that you have to do, we need to dio and Europe. You're competing with people in some cases who have more money than you have, who have a larger staff than you have, who have a better reputation than you have. And you have to be very nimble. And you have to really apply what you have by way of intelligence, whether that be through historical data or Web analytics, or being able to just literally speak to people who have subject matter expertise on your expanded team to figure out. How can we do what we need to do based on the resources that we've been allotted during this time? I'm somebody that has never been shy about seeking out help for assistance or clarification. Um, but it's an ongoing conversation. How are we going to able to do? We need to dio I was seeing a certain examples here, so when I started at where I'm at currently, our budget was painfully not were needed to be, and in order to justify expanding our resource is had to do a lot of research and looking at white papers. And we're referring Thio best practices to go back and say, Listen, if you need to do to accomplish what needs to accomplish here is where we should be But here's where we'll like to be. So there's sort of the must have been the nice to have. And, you know, the college was willing to take a harder and sharper look at the expectation that we that we needed, um and so that was you know, it was daunting, but ultimately I think they saw the wisdom and investing in marketing because ultimately marketing will bring you the kind of customers that you need Thio thrive.

What are the job titles of people who someone in your role routinely works with, within and outside of the organization? What approaches are effective in working with them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
alright, So job titles that I would typically work with would say, internally, it's gonna be a lot of people who were faculty. The faculty at a college, if that's where you choose to work as a marketing person, are truly the product of the program. There they developed the curricula. They are the face of the programs there, the names of the programs. So you need to be prepared to engage and in certain cases educated what marketing is and what it isn't and be open to ideas that are not necessarily familiar to you on be prepared for feedback that you might not appreciate initially, but ultimately being ableto collaborate and come to an impasse that really, I think serves the greater good. Externally worked with a lot of agencies who seek to further the businesses of businesses like mine. You know, digital agencies, you know, account executives, graphic designers, photographers, videographers. I think again I'm going back to your question. How do you afford with them? Effectively, you really need. I have always been somebody that comes into equation with open mind and and a willingness to collaborate and not coming in with a fully baked idea that may or may not be the best practice, E. I mean, I'm an active learner on, you know, as I get a little further into my life and career. Um, but but also I think at a certain point, if you are responsible for the day to day, if you're a project manager being brave enough to a certain point, say, All right, we're done. This is this is the direction we're going to take. So that's my approach that

How would you describe your management style? How has it evolved over the years? Can you tell about experiences or books that influenced your management style?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
I mean, my management style is how I prefer to be managed, which is I give my team and the individuals to whom I work around and with Ah lot of rope and I come in with, Here is the ultimate expectation. Here's where we need to be and you take You're working style and you're working preference. And if you could arrive at that point, you know, using your decision making and the way you want to approach projects, that's great. But if you need feedback and if you need direction, clarification. My door is open, the math, my responsibility. And similarly, you know, as I mentioned, I like that make myself for myself. I don't want someone to tell me exactly how to do something I want him to tell me. Here's what we need to be on this particular initiative. Apply your talents. Apply the reasons that we brought you onto this team in the first place and get it done. However again, if you if you are uncertain about a certain direction or if you have questions that I haven't resource to to refer Thio Um, I've been saying there's been any books necessarily that have been influenced that management style. I would say that I've had really good mentors. I have been very, very fortunate. And perhaps that's not common that every boss I've ever had, even when it started on the wrong foot necessarily. And they don't always started on the right one, Um, who have been very good about empowering and listening and providing feedback and being very delivered about, you know, the direction that we are going to be taking and how my role is going to play an important part to that. To that end, um, and as far as it has evolved over the years, I would just say I mean, I think it evolves is just one evolve as a person. You know, I you know, I was a young manager and had to figure that out. I inherited a team early on in my career and had to figure out how to manage people who were older than I waas. They probably still, rather than I am Andi, people who are younger than me and people who are about my age, who had similar experiences and just being again very open and willing to hear that feedback, but also be prepared for ultimately making some difficult decisions that everyone's gonna likelucky. I've been lucky to be not only yeah, influenced by Goodman Tours, but have been able to overtime call those mentors, my friends. And that's not always something that you could get out of out of, Ah, working experience that there are people that I, you know from 15 years ago, that I would still call on for advice or a laugh or just Cem Cem thoughts on something that I'm I'm working on. I've been very, very lucky.

How do you manage conflicts within and across teams? How do you promote trust, openness and a healthy work culture? Sharing stories will greatly help.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
so I hate conflict. I don't mind admitting that I'm a left handed middle child. I've always been someone that has not been overly aggressive when it comes to forcing a point. But conflict does happen. And I think that one thing that you have to be prepared for, especially marketing, which in many cases if you are not a marketer, can be distilled into photographs and fonts and color choices when it is so much more strategic and deliver than that is allowing someone that, as that has questions to ask those questions. And if they have ideas, that might not necessarily be what you would consider to be the most value added questions in an equation. Well, those questions to be asked, but also be be very transparent. The process. How have we gotten to this point? You know, whenever I meet with somebody internally, um, at the college, I am very cautious and careful. Thio articulate. Here's how the brand is a right where it is, and rather than have someone come across and say, I want myself to look different, which happens all the time in the rest of the colleges to come back and say we have invested a lot of time and money and resource is to come to this point, and you deserve to benefit from an elevated brand. There's a reason that you recognize Starbucks and Apple store from a mile away because they've really done a lot of work to make sure that you know who they are. And it doesn't always take the first time but being able to come in with that, the very transparent and open and receptive ear. When you meet with people eyes important, I would say his first promoting trust. I'm a wheezy wig. What you see is what you get. I really am. I'm someone that I try to, and I pride myself on being able to be a person that people feel that they can approach and will not be, you know, shut down. Or, you know, Ato Worst Case, mocked for having concerns or questions about an approach again because it's marketing again is something where people don't necessarily have an appreciation for all of the science behind it. They see the pretty parts of it, and that again is the end game. So, um, sharing stories. Let me think here I mean, there's been many, many times when people have come to me and have literally said you're making this up as you go along, right? Answer is no. Um, there's a and and I can see why you might think that. But, you know, you gotta have a thick skin and you gotta be prepared for these questions, and and don't take it personally.

How can one get better recognition of work from one's boss and higher management? What mistakes should one avoid? Stories or examples will be quite helpful.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
so first of all, I mean, recognition is great. I appreciate it myself. I think if someone's looking for recognition, it is not just doing one's job is going above and beyond mean being reliable is great. But being someone that is a superstar is exemplary, and that's where that place comes, comes in. I that a lot of people over the years who wanted a lot more in the current role based on doing what they were currently doing, and if you want more, you have to do more if you wanna be. I mean, I knew someone that really had a hard time with I'm gonna work from home. This is before killed, of course, and at the same time would say, Well, since they don't let us work from home at the moment I leave this office, I'm not doing any work and that Z, that's fine. But you know, my approach would be I'm going to do some work from home so that I could be trusted with that responsibility. So in the event that I asked for that, they know that I could be relied on. It won't be a gamble, Um, that I mean that's one example. And again, I think it depends on how you're how you're wired. If you are comfortable being in your lane, doing your 9 to 5 doing literally the bullet points in your job description, that's great. I would expect recognition, if that's what you wanna dio. If you're looking to go above and beyond and thirst for advancement and recognition, you're gonna have to work that much harder and be known in your role. I'm a steak, I would say again, I'm just going back. Would be, um, if you're looking for mawr, albeit money or benefits or recognition, however, that is, don't expect to get that for doing the minimum. It does not how it works.

What indicators are used to track performance in a job like yours? Think of the indicators such as key performance indicators (KPIs), objectives & key results (OKRs), or so on.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
Yeah, this goes back to what I mentioned earlier. We looked very closely on when we invest money in marketing. How is that? You know, transitioning into enquiries, which is people who come to our website and said I specifically one way more about your programs. How much of the Web traffic to a website could be attributed to marketing? How many of the applications that we have in the pipeline can be tracked back to the efforts we put out? I'll be it by way of, you know, the geography is already been investing money or the program we've been investing money those those would be that the biggies.

What marketing software and channels do you use to find and engage prospective students? Which are less effective? Which one do you recommend to students to learn?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
I would say I mean, the most obvious ones would be things like Google and Facebook and Instagram and to someone linked in which works better for graduate because those Softwares, whereas in the old days you would buy an advertisement in The New York Times or you buy a band around on the website and you're locked into that those channels allow you to very specific. And where these ads appear, the age ranges of the individual you're trying to reach the search terms. They're looking for their level of education. Um, and so and as these things unfold, you can also move. Your resource is around. So if you find that one channel is not performing, you stop investing so much and then you put it in the channels that are a Sfar is less effective. I mean, I think that's kind of a loaded question. I think it depends on what you're looking for. If you're looking to reach a lot of people, things like Facebook and Instagram will reach a lot of people. They are maybe less intent on converting, which again is someone that says, I want to know more about your program. Um, whereas things like Google Search, which is literally somebody who searches graduate programs or master's degree and X, or whatever it is that you're that you're that you're that your company provides are very they're currently looking for your stuff, so again it depends on what you're looking for.

What skills and qualities do you look for while hiring? What kind of questions do you typically ask from candidates?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
qualities I look for. Okay, so I think there's hard skills, which is Are you qualified to do the job, right? Do you understand digital technologies? Can you? Right. Are you, uh how seasons are you in terms of years of experience. But when I look for soft skills, I think that's where you sort of separate the wheat from the chaff is you have an emotional curiosity. Are you Are you Are you brave enough to ask questions if you have concerns, do you? Um what is your thirst for advancement Again? It goes back to enlist of curiosity, but I want someone that comes in the door wanting an opportunity beyond what they've been offered currently. Like, long term with what are your plans And where do you see yourself going? Even if it means nothing on this team. Long term, E make no bones about telling people when they come. Come work for me. That this might be might not be your in game, and it shouldn't be. But if you play your cards right, and you really give this this opportunity, you're all the opportunity beyond this are boundless. So just hang in there and and really give it your all. What? I ask the candidate e I'm load to ask questions. Like where you see yourself in five years because nobody knows where I'm gonna be in two months. I have no idea. Um I mean, I ask questions like, How do you like to be managed? And, you know, tell me about a time when you had a conflict and how did you solve it? Just get a feel for someone's grit. I mean, my team was very heterogeneous when you look at their personality types, but I think ultimately it works for us. But it's fun as a manager, that's for sure.

Can you discuss career accomplishment(s) that you feel good about? Please discuss the problem context, your solution, and the impact you made.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
separate any personal, like employee of the month type stuff that comes and goes. I mean, that's not my currency, necessarily. I feel like whenever I when those things, people being nice. I think whenever I'm able to be a part of an extended team, that's contributed to a institutional success and that would be, you know, enrollment or other things that really matter to the organization. I feel really good about that. I mean, and I I've always said to my team, I take all of the blame, but I share all of the credit So when things go not so right, that's all on me. I should have caught it. But when things go really great, you know I pay that down big time. I've been really lucky to work on teams that are, I would say, small and scrappy that, you know, I've never had, like, a team of 15 people that just, you know, they're obviously and it's as well machine. I've got people come in and that really roll up their sleeves and have been able to really add a lot of value to the things that really mattered. Thio organization. I'm dancing around the accomplishments. But, I mean, they've been far and wide again. It's it's been, you know, some strokes on behalf of you seeing your ship saying we like what you're doing. We like we like the way this brochure looked like the way website looks, you know, the numbers have been in the right direction. Um, yes, there's been some external accomplishments as well. I mean, there are There are a lot of higher education organizations that wreck that look at and recognize the work that people like me and my team dio and we've been able thio be recognized.

What responsibilities and decisions did you handle? What were the top three priorities and pain points? What strategies were effective in dealing with challenges?

Based on experience at: Senior Project Manager, Enrollment Marketing, Drew University
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
all right. So when I got to Drew, that was a new position that was created specifically because, like again, I mentioned at the top of the call. Enrollment is regardless of where you work in a college, Um, that's how you keep the lights on. And they had really been wisely attuned Thio the importance of investing in enrollment structure and a marketing structure that really supported that goal. And I came in and had to really sort of be very deferential toe work that have been done in the past. And many of the decisions that were being made as they related to look and feel or or or or the investment of money to support marketing was not my call it with my recommendation. So when I got there, I had to be very deliberate and explain to individuals that have done things in particular way for a very, very, very, very long time and why we should shift away from postcards and direct mail and B'more willing to invest in digital strategies that again, I mentioned earlier, arm or target, herbal and scalable and trackable and able to be rejiggered mid campaign on day trusted me to to to do that. I mean, it was I was there my third week and they said to me, Hey, you just got here. But we want you to write our entire enrollment marketing plan for the next year, and you have four weeks to do it. And I lost sleep over it because it was just I know how to do marketing, but I don't know you very well. But over time they really allowed me to have that freedom. You know, their their priorities were again. It was enrollment, enrollment, enrollment. Those of those were top. Great. There was There was no other confusion around that. It was not about raising money was not about branding. It was not about anything else other than reaching students who would be a good fit for college in North New Jersey. That was expensive. But the great college with great programs and a lot of potential but had not really been, uh, in market for a very long time. So, you know, I think that the the strategy music again I'm involved just pivoting towards more modern approach to, you know, a college that had been doing things a particular way for many, many years. And it worked. It did work because of the team, because I mean

What college programs did you attend and what were their best parts? How did each of your college programs prepare you for your career?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
um I've always been studied, you know, sort of the creative fields, communications, marketing, English. I've always been a good writer, Andi. I think that's really served. I would say to any marketer out there. If you're a good writer, you're gonna be among the best among the good. Because anybody could. Right? So if you are able to put up some sentences together and have a sort of ah wit about you, you're gonna be really successful in this field because nobody can do that. I've always been really happy to to put the pen to paper from the very beginning. From high school leaving I was I was in high school newspaper, Uh

What three life lessons have you learned over your career? If any, please also discuss your experiences facing adversity, or trying something unusual.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
real life lessons. Let's see, the first one is. Don't be afraid to share vulnerabilities. Don't be afraid to have what we call difficult conversations because in many cases they go much better than you fear and be known in your job. Don't be the best kept secret. It's not a good look. Um, there there are, especially these days. It's easy to be a background player because everything has been digital and remote. But I'm telling you, most apprehended. I've gotten my entire careers because I have been somebody that people know me. Even doing this chat with you is me being a little more known toe the world and, you know, and I'm not doing this for a job advancement. But again, you know, being brave enough to be out there is very, very important, um, facing adversity. You know, not so much, I would say, you know, without going into too many details of a young face, people have routinely thought I'm much younger than I actually am. What comes with that is it's great at your high school reunion, but in your job, if you people think that you're much younger, they don't give you a fair shake sometimes and think that you are gonna wet behind the ears and you have to be patient with that, too. And whether you have a baby face, if you have the chops over time, it's gonna play in your favor.

What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Nov 18 2020
So if you're looking to advance in marketing and this is my career path, I would look for any opportunity to contribute content, you know, and and things change all the time. If you can play a role in a social strategy or writing copy or learn a little more about, you know how how paid campaigns work. Learning more about Google analytics that's gonna play out so importantly as you advance is a marketer because it's not just, you know, flash and pop. Like I mentioned earlier, it is all these things that we're doing that could be debated color response, whatever. How did that contribute to a bottom line? And so, if you can, even working with the digital agency or a publication or website whose purpose is to, you know, push out content to a broad audience is going to be very important for you.