The past two years is a time that I grew tremendously, both professionally and personally. I attribute a large part of the growth to the opportunities I found at Merkle. I worked with Ogilvy and Microsoft for five years in China before coming to the U.S., but the growth I’ve experienced at Merkle has been exceptional. I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned during my time at Merkle that you may consider as you look to join the right analytics team and environment to fuel your own growth.
#1 — Trust your gut to find the right cultural fit.
“Trust your gut” — that’s the number one thing you learned working for one of the best analytics teams in the industry? The answer is yes because it was my gut that led me to Merkle. When I graduated from Northwestern, I had another job offer with more money and a powerful alumni network in Chicago. But I couldn’t forget the great time I had during the interview process with Merkle. I was true to myself — honest, curious, and wearing a cheerful white dress that suited my individuality. I had an immediate connection, and I felt Merkle liked me not only for my professional capability, but also as an individual. I attribute a big part of my progress at Merkle to a great cultural fit because it is crucial to long-term job satisfaction. Learn about Merkle’s culture here.
#2 — Fast growth is the top criterion of a great first job.Looking back at my career, the times I grew most were when the business was expanding because it stretched me to new areas of learning. Thanks to Merkle’s double-digit growth rate and aggressive expansion in the digital area, I’ve had opportunities to work on cutting-edge, "cool stuff" projects like data management platform solutions, connected attribution, and marketing measurement solutions using the latest analytic methodologies and technologies available in the market. The last thing you want in your first job is to be stuck in the same role for years. In our Quantitative Marketing Group (QMG), we have a rotation program that provides a systematic solution for employees to explore new roles and offers access to the latest methods, tools, and technologies.
#3 — Ask and work for what you want (and you will be supported).
One of the best piece of career advice I got was from the VP who hired me. When I asked for advice about navigating corporate America, she said, "In America, you need to ask for what you want." And I did just that. When I felt I didn’t click with my previous manager, I asked for a change and now I work with a five-star manager who has championed for me from day one.
In addition to the opportunities to work on cutting-edge projects, I was also encouraged to expand my day job to integrate my professional interest — corporate culture development. My idea of the Executive Talk Series received strong support from the QMG leadership team. I ran Merkle’s largest knowledge sharing program for a year and recently volunteered in the Mentorship sub-committee of the Women in Leadership program — a great initiative aiming to facilitate career development of female employees at Merkle.
I celebrated my second anniversary at Merkle in February, the same day as the Chinese New Year of 2015. Symbolically, this implies success, prosperity, and a bright future — I have no doubt I will find them here at Merkle.