Interview with Lauren Hock Regarding Career Presentations at Chicago Universities

Lauren HockAbout Lauren:

Lauren Hock is a Marketing Science Senior Analyst who has consulted for clients including Intel, Qualcomm, Comcast and ESPN. At her current company Critical Mass, a full-service digital agency in Chicago, she provides analysis and strategy for a global luxury car brand.

Lauren received a Bachelor of Sciences in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University, where she became certified as a High School English teacher and a 35mm & 16mm film projectionist.

Can you explain what you and your team are doing with the Universities in the Chicagoland area? What is the goal?

Our team is reaching out to Chicago universities so that we can speak to students about Digital Analytics.

Our goal is to encourage students to explore Digital Analytics as a career

Northwestern UniversityWhat is the makeup of your audience? Undergrad, grad, areas of study, etc.

On January 24th, we presented to Northwestern University students on campus; we had about 30 attendees and a simultaneous webinar for students of Northwestern’s Online Courses.

Attendees were a mix of undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Psychology, Economics, Predictive Analytics, Integrated Marketing Communications and Sports Administration.

We were also excited to see University employees attend, who had both professional and personal interests in Web Analytics.

How have you gone about securing time and audiences on these campuses?

I reached out to University Career Services, where the Associate Director for Employer Services kindly coordinated the campus event for us and got the word out to students about the event.

The Associate Director also partnered with the School of Continuing Studies to coordinate the webinar for distance learners.

What are the main themes of your presentation?

The main topics of our presentation are the following:

  • What is digital analytics and who needs it.
  • The types of companies digital analysts can work for and the typical responsibilities for each role.
  • What job candidates need on their resume to get hired.
  • Advice for those looking to break into the field, be promoted or find a new opportunity.
  • The WAA Career Guidance for Digital Analytics Professionals (October 2011) was a great resource for our presentation, especially for explaining the differences between working for an agency, vendor and client-side.

What kinds of questions are you being asked by the students?

Many students asked about the best way to prepare for the field –

Questions included the following:

  • If someone is just starting out in the Web Analytics industry, is it better to begin at an agency, vendor or client-side?
  • How can students learn the toolsets for this field, such as Google Analytics, Excel and SAS?
  • Is there demand for analysts who have strong creative skills?
  • What is the best way to prepare for certification tests, especially the Google Analytics Individual Qualification test?
  • Before the advent of Digital Analytics, how did companies measure their marketing initiatives?

How much do students seem to already know about digital / customer analytics and the career potential of the space before your team arrives?

Many students were familiar with social media monitoring and the importance of data-driven marketing, but for most attendees this presentation their first exposure to website measurement, mobile app analytics and online testing and optimization.

After the presentation, attendees expressed interest in how web analytics can help us understand customer behaviors on websites and how this analysis can inform better user experiences.

What are your plans for future presentations?

We hope to present to colleges throughout the Midwest; currently we are planning our next presentations for Loyola University and DePaul University in Chicago.

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