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Harvard MBA Talks About Online Financial Services

Meet the marketing brain behind fast-growing financial services brand, Media Ingenuity

By  Kate Jillings

Fri Mar 30 2012

Tell us about 'Media Ingenuity' and your role at the company?

Media Ingenuity is a leading online financial services company headquartered in London. We leverage data and digital media to connect consumers with the UK’s largest financial services brands. We also meet consumer needs by developing our own brands for personal finance services and products. As Marketing Director, my role is to manage our activity across all online channels including display advertising, paid search, email, search engine optimisation, as well our customer insights and analytics.

What big changes are currently taking place in the marketing of financial services?

In the world of online financial services marketing and aggregation, there is a growing effort to provide consumers with the necessary tools and information to find consumer finance products that best fit their personal circumstances, rather than comparing products purely based on price. We are also beginning to see more resources being shifted towards the marketing of products beyond motor insurance.

You have an MBA from Harvard, why did you decide to do an MBA?

I spent the first five years of my career with American Express, and although it was a fantastic experience, I felt that it was too early for me to commit to the only career path I had known until then. As such, I saw business school as a terrific chance to broaden my horizons, round out my skill sets and knowledge, and meet some extremely talented, intelligent and successful people who could open my eyes to new opportunities.

What's your best, and worst, memory from your two years at Harvard Business School?

Overall, my time at HBS was filled with great memories. There were a few occassion during the first semester where the combined burden of coursework and recruiting was quite dauting and stressful. However, there are many great memories which outweight the bad ones, with the best being the sense of accomplishment you get on graduation day and sharing that moment with family and friends after two great years.

Is an MBA helpful for an entrepreneurial career?

Absolutely. There are numerous opportunities to leverage an MBA for an entrepreneurial career path, including relevant coursework and case studies, various business plan contests, the mentorship of some of the best professors in related fields, and access to an unparalleled network of alumni in the start-up and angel investor/VC world.

If you were applying to b-school now, would you still choose HBS?

Without a doubt. But there are many great business schools out there. Each applicants just needs to decide which criteria are most important to them and talk to as many professors and alumni (and visit the schools if possible) to choose the one that is right for them.

You spent 7 years working in various strategy roles at American Express and Bain & Company - what were the highs and lows?

I have been fortunate to work in places that have contributed tremendously to both my personal and professional development and allowed me to work alongside very intelligent and inspiring people. If I had to choose a high, it was being selected by the American Express senior executive team from 373 project teams in 12 countries for the Chairman’s Premier Award for innovation, the company’s highest employee recognition. As for lows, as a consultant there are times when the hours and nights away from home can take their toll but the learning experience and the camaraderie with your team make it worthwhile.

You also co-founded your own exclusive events company - what was the motivation behind this venture?!

I co-founded the event company two years ago with 4 other friends with similar backgrounds who share a passion for music, food and hospitality. Inspired by the daytime scene of destinations such as New York, Miami and the South of France, we saw an opportunity to launch an exclusive event business that caters to like-minded young professionals from around the world currently living in London. It was a great learning experience and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who are thinking about doing an MBA?

If you have an idea you truly believe in, try to put together the right team, a sound business plan and go for it! An MBA is by no means a requirement to succeed as an entrepreneur. But if you are still not sure about your next move and want to spend two years learning from and with some amazing people who will be future business leaders then you certainly cant go wrong with an MBA.