Meet Summer Effray, a Communications Consultant turned Innovation Consultant who advanced her career with BrainStation's Online Live UX Design course.
Meet Fiona Mascarenhas, a Digital Marketing Manager in Acquisition Marketing at Scotiabank’s Digital Factory who recently completed BrainStation’s Online Live Digital Marketing Course.
We spoke with Fiona about her experience learning in the Online Live environment, and how the course helped her transition to a new role within Scotiabank.
Can you tell us a bit about your education and career background?
*The opinions expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect those of my employer.*
I completed my undergrad at the University of Waterloo in Arts & Business, with a major in Speech Communication and a minor in Digital Arts Communication. The co-op program at the University of Waterloo really helped me jump-start my career. I completed almost all of my co-op terms at RBC where I rotated through different roles and gained experience in various areas related to communications, design, and marketing. I graduated in 2017 with 3 years of work experience already under my belt.
My first full-time gig out of university was at RBC as a Content Marketing & Design Specialist where I was responsible for art directing photo and video shoots, creating content for our owned media channels, and aligning our marketing campaigns to the brand guidelines. This role really crafted my creative chops and I had the opportunity to explore all the creative areas of marketing.
I left RBC in early 2018 and I am now a Digital Marketing Manager at Scotiabank’s Digital Factory where I lead the mortgages and small business portfolio for search, social, and display marketing campaigns. The transition from RBC to what I do now was not linear but the BrainStation Digital Marketing course helped me bridge that gap and get to where I am today.
What was your motivation behind taking the Online Live Digital Marketing Course?
From RBC, I moved to Scotiabank on a similar team where I had the opportunity to build the framework for marketing campaigns, creative projects, and brand standards. During my tenure at Scotiabank, I grew curious about the ecosystem of marketing beyond the creative scope. I couldn’t help feel like something was missing from my metaphorical “career toolbox”.
Late 2018, during the time of our year-end reviews, my manager and I had a very honest discussion about my career journey and where I envisioned my career heading in the coming years. I indicated my interest in joining the Acquisition Marketing team at Scotiabank’s Digital Factory but understood that this was going to be a big learning curve from my current role at the time. I had experience in social media and content marketing, but the world of acquisition marketing, especially in search and display, was a whole new beast, and I wasn’t sure how my past brand marketing experience would compare.
After this conversation, I did some research to see how other folks in the marketing industry made the switch. After a few hours down a rabbit hole researching marketing courses, certifications, and everything in between, I stumbled upon BrainStation’s Online Live Digital Marketing Certificate Course. I put together a proposal for my VP’s approval to authorize this learning expense for my career development. After I started the course, I grew more interested in acquisition marketing roles and with my manager’s support, I started a secondment on the Acquisition Marketing team where I was able to apply what I learned in the BrainStation Digital Marketing course to real-life projects.
What factors influenced your decision to take Online Live Learning rather than in-person?
I decided to take an Online Live Learning course rather than in-person for the flexibility and ease of learning. I remember what it was like in university when I had to trudge across campus in peak winter for a three-hour lecture at 6pm. I didn’t want to repeat that experience again, especially this time around after working 8 hours. I appreciated that even though I was choosing to take the course online instead of in-person, I didn’t sacrifice relationship building or the quality of learning. I had the opportunity to converse with my peers and instructor and even took my instructor up on the offer to meet for coffee.
What were some of the most valuable skills you gained during the course? Have these skills aided your professional development?
I think the timing of the course in relation to my secondment really helped boost my career development.
Since most of my past experience revolved around the creative side of marketing, I was able to further develop my left-brain skills including data analytics and strategy, which was crucial to the success of my career path change. Due to the nature of the course structure, I felt like I got an inside track to a Digital Marketing role where I could observe and learn the basics about the job before getting thrown into the real world.
Can you describe the Online Live learning experience? What was the highlight?
The Online Live learning experience was definitely unique to me. At first, I found it a bit strange to be on webcam, virtually participating in a class, but as with every good learning experience I decided to embrace it and soon got used to the virtual classroom. As the classes went on, it felt more and more like an in-person course, except that in this one, I could be in the comfort of my own home.
I think the highlight of my experience was getting the opportunity to take my Online Live learning experience to in-person. I know not everyone is able to do this depending on their location, but I was able to meet with my instructor over coffee to learn more about his experience. I also met with some members of my project group in person and was able to build on that virtual relationship. Even though it’s online, it’s still very community-based.
Do the skills you learned in the Digital Marketing course assist you in your role?
Shortly after I completed the BrainStation Digital Marketing course, I transitioned into a new role in the Acquisition Marketing team at Scotiabank’s Digital Factory. I found that I was able to apply what I learned in the Digital Marketing course to my role. The BrainStation Digital Marketing course provided the foundation I needed to build upon my skills and grow as a digital marketer.
As a Digital Marketing Manager, Acquisition Marketing for Scotiabank’s Digital Factory, what does a typical day look like for you?
As most marketing roles, there is no typical day but I’ll walk you through one of my favorite types of days – launching a major marketing campaign.
I usually get to the office early, around 8am, to start my day with a cup of coffee and breezing through my inbox. If it’s a campaign launch day, I’ll block off my morning to ensure that I can get everything into the market without any hiccups and have time to monitor it once it’s live. I’ll take a break for lunch and grab some food in the cafeteria with my colleagues, and if it’s a nice day, head outside for a walk around the block. My afternoons are usually packed with business line stakeholder meetings, vendor meetings, or campaign pitches. After the day wraps around five, I might head over to the bar across the street for happy hour with some of my friends from work.
Did the Online Live experience at BrainStation differ from what you had previously associated with online learning and courses?
The Online Live experience was very different from other online courses I’ve taken in the past because the “live” portion of the class made it feel like you were in the classroom in-person learning the material. If I had a question, I could simply ask it in real-time to the instructor, instead of having to send an email or message to get a response hours later. I found that this made the learning experience much better and more enjoyable than past experiences.
If you’re looking to accelerate your marketing career like Fiona, BrainStation offers a range of marketing courses both on-campus and online.