Can you describe the work you are doing now?
As an Integration Strategist on the Brand Marketing team at IBM, I think about how different teams within marketing and different touch points all come together and show up as “one IBM” in the market. Our job is to create the external-facing advertisements that you might have seen from IBM, whether on TV, in print, or in other touchpoints that we have, and influence how the brand is showing up in the world. We also think strategically about how people see our brand. How does it show up? What are the perceptions? And then we run advertising campaigns to affect how we want the business to be shown. My role, specifically, is about making sure that all teams within IBM have the necessary resources so that they can create their own assets while ensuring that everything is aligned from a global brand perspective.
What is a post-graduation project you have worked on that you are most proud of?
I joined IBM at a really exciting time. In my first 8 months at the company, I got to work on relaunching the IBM brand. This is not something that happens very often, but whenever there is a critical point, IBM will reinvent the brand — as they have done over the past 100-plus years. A lot of people have the perception that IBM is making computers and hardware. But for a while now, IBM has been focused on producing B2B software and cutting-edge technology like AI, hybrid cloud, and quantum. So, to accurately reflect what we’re doing in the market, our goal was to re-introduce the IBM brand to the world — portraying “who we are” and “what we do” in a modern, creative way. In terms of the process, we worked with our creative agency partner to come up with a new brand platform, design system, and tagline for the company, which is “Let's create”. You will see it reflected in all of our advertising, on our website, and on social media. “Let’s create” is an open call to our partners and our clients to come work, create, and innovate with us, while also alluding to our wider ethos of the need for creativity in business. Throughout this project, I was lucky enough to get a full end-to-end view of how a campaign of this scale comes to life and I am excited to continue building upon this new brand platform with my team.
What type of professional development experiences did you engage in during your Minerva journey that helped you in your current career?
I worked on a lot of hands-on projects and maximized the experiential learning opportunities in each city on the rotation, which helped immensely in transitioning to the workforce. In contrast to some traditional degree programs, Minerva provided access to multiple unique work opportunities during the 4 years, so I did not feel like I had to wait until I graduated or right before my senior year to gain work experience. Starting college, I remember wanting to learn how things are done in the “real world” like collaborating with multiple stakeholders on a project or even small things like writing a concise work email. At Minerva, I was able to start building those skills in my very first year through term-time projects and summer internships. Having those various work experiences while living in different countries and experiencing how different companies and cultures work was invaluable for my current role and likely will be for many roles throughout my career. Maybe most importantly, those experiences helped me discover what I am interested in and what sort of problems I want to help solve in the future.
Is there a particular project that stands out from your Minerva journey?
I always think back to this story from my second year, when I was working on a civic project in India. Our goal was to help facilitate and grow an incubator for local women entrepreneurs who were making goods like clothing or food for their local communities. When I initially read the project description, my mind immediately jumped to Silicon Valley buzzwords like “startup incubator” and “agile working” — as we had been studying in San Francisco the year prior. A few weeks later, when we went to visit with the project leads, we were met by a group of incredible woman entrepreneurs, welcoming us to this small town in western India. We talked with many of these powerful women in beautiful saris who told us about their initiatives and it just hit me that the core of entrepreneurship is really about solving problems in the community that need solving. It was a real eye-opening experience for me because I always felt that startups had to be these flashy, VR or AI-related initiatives. At the end of the day, it is not about that at all. It is about problem-solving, innovation, and improving your community. Working on that project shattered many expectations that I had around what entrepreneurship, startups, and incubators should look like, and how they can actually work very differently, but still very efficiently, in different contexts.
What are some learnings from your Minerva classes that you find yourself applying to your life or work now?
I think the things that I rely upon the most are problem-solving skills and frameworks. Regardless of the role or industry you are in, there are inevitably always going to be problems to solve. In my current role, I am usually not the final decision-maker and there are multiple stakeholders that I need to go to before actions are taken. In this environment, I have found that one of the most important skills is presenting what exactly the problem is, what the ideal state looks like, how we want to approach it, what resources are needed, and how we can mobilize different teams to get there. And that is essentially the problem-solving framework we learned at Minerva.
If you were inspired by Megan's story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, apply to join Minerva today.