Case 5

MBA graduate and biotechnology professional makes challenging transition to Marketing in telecommunications.

“What was really important to me was the guidance Diana provided, which I feel was her key differentiator when compared to other coaches. She won’t just give you a checklist, she’ll actually help you find your direction and guide you towards achieving it. Just like a good leader, she helped me learn exactly what I should do, why I should do it, and how I can do it. These are all skills that I’ll keep with me in the long term.”  (Clarence)


What was your situation prior to entering the coaching program?

I completed my Bachelor of Science at the University of Waterloo in Biochemistry. I then went on the complete my Master’s in Chemistry. After I finished my education, I moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba to work in a highly scientific role at a pharmaceutical company. I hadn’t even considered business or marketing at this point. It was only after I went back to get my MBA at Ivey that I realized I should focus my career on marketing.

But, it’s very difficult to break into marketing in the healthcare/pharmaceuticals space. The company size is typically smaller and Hiring Managers place significant preference on experienced marketers from similar companies. There’s no shortage of marketing professionals, which makes it even more difficult for someone coming with no former marketing experience.

What steps did you take to differentiate your application?

The first thing I learned was the importance of the self-discovery process. This is usually taken for granted, but it’s so critical to seriously look at what you’re good at and truly passionate about. Diana took me through some questionnaires, tests, and conversations that helped me discover not only that my expertise fit in marketing but also that I genuinely liked doing it.

Diana also taught me about how to create an effective networking strategy by defining who to talk to, where to find them, and when to reach out. There’s a lot more to it than just jumping into the sea and grabbing whichever fish you see first. You have to talk to the right people in order to make the right things happen. Plus, Diana comes equipped with a vast network of professionals and can always find the right people to refer her clients to. I spent six months in the job search and during that time I met over 50 professionals, but it was worth it when I met the one who would take that leap of faith for me.

What was also important for my situation was communicating that the skills I’d gained were transferable to marketing. Diana helped me realize that my analytical mindset and ability to innovate were characteristics that fit well with marketing and so should be leveraged throughout my application.

What was your success coming out of your coaching sessions?

I landed the role I’m currently in as a marketer at a top Canadian telecommunications company! I realized while working with Diana that focusing too heavily on healthcare took me away from other opportunities. After being introduced by Diana, I had an informational interview with the Director of the division I’m currently in. I was hired the same day that I interviewed.

Do you have any advice for other professionals in similar positions?

There’s no one key to success in a job search, but if I had to narrow it down, for me it was all about being authentic and well prepared. Working with Diana helped me focus my search on roles that excited me, which assisted me to communicate my enthusiasm throughout the process. I combined this with hours of practicing interview questions until my messages and value offering became fluid and part of my thought process. This ensured that I came across as polished but also authentic.