This month’s student highlight is 4th-year Marketing and Business Analytics student, Macy Klein. Originally from Manchester, Iowa, Macy knew she wanted to stay in-state for college. Macy made the decision to attend the University of Iowa after sitting in on one of her sister’s chemistry lectures. Drawn to the big school feel, she moved to Iowa City to embark on her academic journey.
As a marketing major at Tippie, Macy was set to graduate in 3 years, but wasn’t quite ready to leave. After learning about the Undergraduate to Graduate Master’s in Business Analytics program, Macy applied and will graduate in May 2021.
Below, Macy discusses her experiences in marketing, studying abroad in Australia, and joining the Master’s in Business Analytics program. While Macy’s perspective on the Tippie Marketing experience is unique, her story is relatable to anyone interested in marketing.
What were some of the reasons you decided to pursue a degree in marketing?
Going in, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do something in business, so I started out there. Originally, I considered pre-law, but after taking Intro to Law, I knew I did not want to do that. Then, I chose marketing. I chose marketing-management because I liked the overview of all the different tracks, and I didn’t want to do anything specific.
I was really interested in the business side of things, but I also liked the creative side. Right now in my internship, I work more with design. The marketing classes I took didn’t really focus on that as much, but we still learn what to highlight to catch consumers’ attention, so I really liked that aspect. In a lot of the classes I took we talked about why marketing works. I thought that was really interesting and it caught my attention with the marketing major compared to the other business majors.
Also, I intern with University of Iowa Health Care, so I’m doing a marketing internship with women’s health in the OBGYN department. It started in the summer of 2019 and I was supposed to have a different internship this last summer. When my other one got cancelled, I just asked if I could keep my internship through the summer.
What have been some of your favorite marketing classes that you’ve taken?
Consumer Behavior with Andrea Luangrath. I liked the aspect of learning what works when catching peoples’ attention. It tied in the psychology part of marketing, so that was interesting and something different.
I also took Merchandise Management with Nancy Abram and I really like Nancy as a teacher because she made it interesting. The group projects were very useful because we did real-world examples and we got to go on a field trip to Von Maur. We went to the Coralville location and the headquarters in Davenport to see the supply chain and how marketing plays a role there. That was really interesting, especially because nowadays we see how retail stores are becoming less and less. Von Maur and their chains, like Dry Goods, have actually been exceeding their expectations each year, so that was interesting to learn about what works for them and why.
Although the class content in Pro Prep wasn’t always the most interesting, I also really liked Mark Winkler as a professor. He makes things exciting and you can tell he’s invested in his students.
What have been some of the highlights of your undergraduate studies?
The opportunity to study abroad. I really liked that they pushed me to do that. It wasn’t something that I originally came into Iowa thinking that I wanted to do no matter what. Even after my freshman year, my advisor really wanted me to go to China. I was like, I don’t know if I want to do that yet, being a first-year student, but then I started looking into it more. They offer a lot of opportunities for scholarships, which I’m very grateful for because without that I probably wouldn’t have gone.
Then, I started looking into the Australia program during spring of 2019. I applied on the first day that the application was available. It was really exciting just to get to go, so I was happy that my advisor told me about that and pushed for it.
I was glad I got to do that and the opportunities that Tippie provides for RISE. Especially now thinking back, I did it during the winter of 2019-2020, and looking back, I was like 2020 started off awesome. We left on New Year’s Eve and were there until January 12th. It was nice because you got enough time to learn about international business in the Asia-Pacific region, but also you have the weekends to explore more and you’re not gone that long.
Why did you decide to study abroad in Australia? How did the experience shape your outlook on international business, marketing, your personal growth?
I chose Australia because I felt like it was one of the international business perspectives that you don’t hear about as much, so I thought it would be interesting to go there. It was really a once in a lifetime experience. Knowing how far away it was from Iowa, I didn’t know if I’d get the chance to go there again. Whereas, Italy and London, I feel like you hear more about the business opportunities there. I wanted to learn about that region (Asia-Pacific), in general. It also has a closer relation to business in the U.S., the dollar value, and it’s an English-speaking country.
It was huge for personal growth. I met a lot of new people, and I travelled with someone that I had met in my freshman year orientation. That was really neat that we both got to go at the same time. I met a lot of new friends from Iowa and there were other schools in the same dorm as us. We got to meet people there and talk with them.
For my professional growth, it really just grew my perspective on international business and knowing that there’s so many differences within just the Asia-Pacific region. I joked with my parents that I was going to look for a job in Sydney, and they were like, ahhh, that’s a little far! It just sucks that I couldn’t go home quick because the flight is like 13 hours.
Also, a lot of new connections. We had speakers coming in, usually multiple a day, so talking to them personally, learning about their companies and opportunities they had in the U.S. was really cool. I have a lot of connections on LinkedIn from the speakers and companies that I met there.
Marketing-wise, one of the big things that I found was how different the portion sizes were. I went to a Starbucks there and their Venti, which is the largest size here, was the size of a medium. That was really interesting to learn about, just the portions in general. Another night, we ordered pizza from a Dominoes and their large was like a small in the U.S. That was also interesting to just see the health outcomes because of those differences.
Then, thinking about how they market too because there weren’t that many chains from the U.S. in Australia. I found that they had McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Burger King. Those were the big three, otherwise they really had like no fast food. That was interesting and it made me think if their marketing laws are different because I know in some places you can’t market or put on TV fast food ads and stuff like that.
Just learning about how with the different portion sizes and different type of culture there, the marketing perspective flips when you’re marketing in Australia vs. the U.S.
What were some of the influences that helped you make the decision to join the Undergraduate to Graduate (U2G) Master’s in Business Analytics program?
I was going to graduate in 3 years, but I realized that I did not want to do that. That’s when I started looking into the U2G program because I could still get my master’s and my bachelor’s in 4 years. In a lot of marketing classes I took we talked about the analytics aspect, how much it was going to be useful in the future, and how big the industry was growing.
During my undergrad, I didn’t really take any marketing analytics classes. I did more of the consumer behavior and the merchandise side, so I wanted to tie that in. It can equip me both in going into the analytics using my master’s or doing marketing, so I really liked that aspect as well.
Basically, I did it on a spur of the moment thing. It’s weird because you don’t really decide to get your master’s randomly. I actually applied really late, it was summer of 2019 and usually you’re applying the winter before.
I was emailing a couple different people in the master’s program, and also my undergrad advisor asking them what their thoughts were. Also, I did a lot of looking on the Tippie website and in general, reading about a master’s in business analytics. I found that not that many programs did a master’s in business analytics at the time. Just knowing the background that I’ve seen from the world around me and touching on how big data is really influenced me.
Also, my internship – I had only had it for 2 months when I really started looking into the program but knowing how much data the hospital got in every day, I was like I feel like we could be doing so much more with this. That’s what really sparked me to look into it.
Then I applied; I want to say within the last week that you could. I had my interview and when they were just asking me about ‘why’, that’s when I realized this was something I wanted to do and could open the doors to even more opportunities. Really, like I said earlier, it’s nice because now I have the marketing knowledge, but also this advanced analytics degree on top of it. It can open the door to many different fields.
How would you describe your experience in the Business Analytics graduate program so far?
My experience has been really good! When I first came in, the first classes I took were Data Management and Visual Analytics, Data Programming in R, and Business Communication. This was when I was still doing my undergraduate courses. It was interesting, just that jump because I had no coding experience in the past. That kind of scared me at first.
My sister also took a coding class her freshman year and that’s when she decided, “no, I’m not doing engineering!” So, that had me worried, like, oh my gosh, I’m jumping into this with no background. A lot of people come in from different majors in this program, so it was taught at a level that I understood. It was obviously overwhelming at first, but then I really got the hang of it. It’s interesting to learn because I feel like not that many people know how to code unless you’re doing those engineering or computer science-type majors. So, it’s nice to have that, in additional to my marketing bachelor’s degree.
Even in the spring semester taking Data Science – that class overwhelmed me. Now looking back, although it was frustrating to work with, it was nice to learn the machine learning aspect of it. Even now, with this semester coming to a completion, I can see how much I’ve grown just compared to my first year in the program. I’m just taking Python this semester, but I’m like this is so much easier than if I would have taken it last year at the same time I took R. I can see how much I’ve grown through that.
Although the Business Communication class was somewhat repetitive, it was useful because I was not good at public speaking at all. It’s something that I feared and I still don’t like doing it. I wouldn’t want to stand up in front of everyone, but it was helpful overall, just learning those communication skills. Obviously, technical skills are huge, but they want you to be able to communicate that. If you just have those technical skills, you can’t communicate it to the business, and it means nothing.
Are there any opportunities that you wish you had taken advantage of during your time at Tippie?
I was in Women in Business for just one semester and I really wish that I would’ve joined sooner. I did it in the fall of 2019, but I didn’t do it in the spring. My workload and class schedule were a little difficult, but I wish I would have signed up earlier. I wish I would have done it my sophomore year and even freshman year. My freshman year, I was more shy and I didn’t do as much.
I also wish that I would’ve taken more classes with Mark Winkler. I wish I would have done more of the marketing analytics, since now I am doing business analytics. I feel like that would have been good because it differs in adding the marketing aspect to the analytics.
How do you feel your experiences at Tippie have prepared you for life after graduation?
A lot of the real-world projects that we do, specifically in the marketing undergrad program. In almost all of my classes we had group projects where we were working with real companies and doing research. For Merchandise Management we did a project with Aldi. A manager from the company came in and we had to find new topics or stuff that would work. She actually was going to take them back to the company. That was helpful knowing we’re working with a client and trying to do research on stuff that would actually work for them.
Also, in the Introduction to Marketing course that everyone has to take, there’s a lot of group projects there. The aspect of working with teams really prepares you. No matter what company you’re in, you’re going to be working with other people.
My undergrad advisor was also really good. I still just asked them a question the other day, so having them always be there is really helpful. With a lot of the other colleges, I hear my friends not liking their advisors at all. Tippie does a good job of having good advisors that are going to answer your emails and give you good advice, whether you want to hear it or not.
With the master’s program, the Career Management team is really good. They are there for you and they’ll help you, but I do need to utilize them more. It’s nice knowing that if I get down to the wire and still don’t have a job come May, I can reach out to them. They have all these resources lined up for you, even after you graduate.
Then, obviously, my study abroad prepared me by exposing me to different cultures, learning that business can relate wherever you go, and being open to travel. It made me realize that I wouldn’t mind traveling for a position. You do have to prepare for where you’re going by learning about how the culture and talking about business is different.
What are you hoping to do after graduation?
I’m not 100% sure yet, it kind of depends on where I can find a job. I’ve applied with Wellmark in Des Moines, which would be more of the analyst aspect in doing insurance. I’ve also applied to Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, and Sanford Health in Sioux Falls. Those are a combination of positions like healthcare coordinator of a division. So, that would be an overview of using all the business skills that I’ve learned.
My internship was going to be at Nationwide this summer. I’ve applied there knowing that I have some background with the company. That would be more in the personal product line and insurance side. I’m definitely leaning more towards health care, but otherwise using my master’s degree in analytics.
I’m also looking at some marketing analytics positions. One of the Sanford positions I applied for was in marketing metrics for their cardiovascular department. Also, there was a position with Mercy, with their heart center in West Des Moines, doing marketing analytics. For Mayo Clinic, I applied for a marketing manager position.
I don’t want to sit at a desk all day and just code or work on research. I guess I wouldn’t say not working on research. Some medical-type positions, I would want to do research, both on the marketing side and combining it to show my results through the technical analytics skills I’ve learned. That’s really what I want to do. Going out and doing research on the marketing side and then putting it together with the technical skills.
What advice would you share with other marketing students approaching graduation?
I would say don’t worry if you don’t really know what you want to do, but don’t narrow yourself on applying to just a certain position. You never know if something you randomly decide to apply to will end up appealing to you. It’s also good to know where you don’t want to be. I’m not sure exactly where I want to end up, but I know where I don’t want to end up. You can not know what you want to do or even where you want to be. I feel those things too right now, but I feel like you don’t give yourself enough credit for knowing what you don’t want and that’s huge. If you know where you don’t want to be, you’re halfway there to figuring out what you want to do.
Through my internship right now, I’ve learned that you can come in with new ideas. You can’t completely try to change the job. But when it comes to marketing, you can be creative and come in with ideas. They really like that you can be a self-starter. At least at the hospital, they like that they don’t need to tell a marketing person exactly what to do. You can kind of come up with that. Through my internship I’ve been able to kind of make my own job. Obviously there are things that you need to do, but you can adjust that to what the company needs once you get in there and figure it out.