MktSoc Alum Meet & Greet: Claire Tao
October 11th, 2021
By: Janny Hong
Claire is the former co-president of Marketing Society. She graduated from Stern last year with a concentration in Marketing and Sustainable business, along with a minor in psychology. Currently, she is working at Capgemini Invent, which is the strategy arm of Capgemini, an information technology services and consulting company.
What exactly do you do at Capgemini?
On the Invent side, we provide the vision beforehand. Within Capgemini Invent, there are three capabilities; the one that I’m in is called Customer first. Here, we apply a customer-centric mindset to all different things. For example, traditional advertising marketing asks “How do I make a campaign so that consumers like my product?” but the customer-centric flips the question to “How do I design a product that meets a customer’s needs?”. Personally, it’s important for me to have a human-centered perspective when it comes to working. It’s more meaningful for me to conduct interviews, map out people's needs and pain points, and solve that.
What is a challenge you face at work?
A part of this job is learning how to make the same process happen quickly again and again, which takes a lot of practice and experience that I don’t have yet. Specifically, for every project, you need to build a deck as a deliverable. At the start, you need to build a deck to show what you know to your clients, at the end you need a deck, and a lot of decks throughout, which is a lot of time and effort. To do it from scratch every time is not feasible, so there are a lot of resources and processes in place to make sure we’re not dedicating our whole lives to making decks. But it’s still a lot of time spent on that. And personally, I’m hoping, with practice and experience, to get faster at it.
What is the work culture like?
Consulting tends to have a rough culture as an industry stereotype but our company is an exception, which is why I like it. During the past two months, I’ve been here, there’s been an enormous emphasis on work-life balance, addressing burnout, setting boundaries. Obviously, there are some nights when I work late but everyone at the company that I’ve met really made it clear that they want all of us to prioritize our mental and physical health, especially in a time like COVID. I actually had a call with my VP this past Monday and his first advice was to learn to say no. Even when he asks me to do something, it’s okay to say no because I don’t have enough time or prioritize other things.
The other thing of our culture is feedback. There’s a huge emphasis on having a learning and growth mindset, and being open to feedback means not taking things personally. It’s a huge part of how we work day-to-day so there is constant feedback. Knowing that when receiving feedback, it isn’t about me as a person and something that can help me improve in the future, can bring you a long way.
How has Marketing Society played a role in where you are today?
Clubs are such a valuable part of the Stern experience. I don’t know how anyone could go through NYU or Stern without being part of a club, especially at Stern. Clubs are an enormous part of the learning experience and I think club leaders should be paid because the value added to the community is enormous. Personally, it was not only an opportunity to connect with different people but also to take on responsibility. That was really huge for me. During the time I was able to take on the co-president role with Fred, I just learned so much from that experience; I learned that I can’t micromanage everything and to trust the other members. The other thing I learned was that by the time I got to this role, I was confident in doing all of the other roles, ranging from social media, new projects, to mentorship. And that’s incredibly important in both school and as we enter the workforce; it’s valuable to be able to understand what the people around you are doing and essentially if you want to rise up in the company ladder, you need to get to a point where you can confidently say “I can do that role that’s directly above me”. So I would encourage people to do that while at school.
What are some things you miss about Marketing Society?
So many things. First of all, I’m jealous that you guys are able to meet in person. When Fred and I were president, it was completely remote which made it really tough. I just miss the community. When we first started out, our eboard didn’t know each other super well but by the end of it, we were able to get closer and build a community despite being home alone.
What career advice would you give to Marketing Society members?
Well, the Marketing Society is made up of so many different kinds of people. And even though it is a marketing club, there are many different reasons people join. So in general, I would recommend going somewhere you like the culture. That’s part of why so many people like Marketing Society; it’s a welcoming space with an open and friendly community that is a lot less intimidating than some other parts at Stern. So culture is the most important factor, and less so about the industry and company, you’re going to.
For those who are going into marketing, I would encourage them to explore what they want to do because marketing is a very broad industry. For example, ask “Do I want to go the traditional route of advertisement? Do I want to do brand strategy from one brand perspective, or do I want to go on the agency side to work on a bunch of different clients and brands? Or from a less traditional product perspective, do I want to go into financial services and think about what it’s like to market a fund or in a tech perspective to market a software as a service”. Ultimately, different people will have different interests. So try them out, figure out what you like and dislike.
In what ways can we try them out?
Obviously, internships are a great way to try it out but not the easiest way; not everyone is able to get an internship in every single area of marketing. So talk to people who are early in their careers in a role that you’re interested in. Give them a cold message on LinkedIn, telling them that you’re interested and would like a quick call to learn more about your position and work. But don’t be discouraged when you don’t get an answer because not everyone has the time to check their LinkedIn. Honestly, I would recommend just talking to people.
If you could redo your years at NYU and Marketing Society, what would you redo?
If there’s something I could have done differently, which there are a lot of, I would not have overcommitted. I definitely overcommitted a lot and everyone feels this pressure to overcommit. I would have just focused on a few things earlier on; I learned this later on when I basically dropped everything to do Marketing Society. I should have done this earlier.
I would also have talked to more people, gotten more involved and bold. I think being remote and at such a large campus with so many students, it’s easy to feel disconnected, especially without a campus. Be bold about the way you get involved; don’t be shy or afraid. When I started going to Marketing Society meetings, there was no one I knew at the club but I went because this was something I was interested in, and look what happened. Even though I was here all alone, I just joined.
In conclusion, it’s okay to explore but don’t stretch yourself beyond your limit. I don’t think anything is worth sacrificing your mental health.
If you would like to get in contact with Claire, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janny Hong is one of MktSoc's Fall 2021 Co-Content Directors. She is a junior at Stern studying Operations and Computing & Data Science. This post is part of her special project vertical: Interviewing MktSoc Alumni!