Experienced Marketer Gets Social Media Savvy at UCSC Extension


- Priyanka Soni, Marketing Management Alumna

Term : November, 2014
Department : Business and Management
Program : Marketing

In summer 2014, while interning for Silicon Valley startup AdviseHub, Priyanka Soni arranged for the growing company’s CEO to be interviewed on a prominent Bay Area radio show. This resulted in a noticeable increase in awareness about the startup and its user engagement. The experience coincided with her course work at UCSC Extension, where she had enrolled in the Marketing Management program in early 2014. A seasoned marketer with more than five years of marketing research and consumer insights experience in India, Soni enrolled as an international student at Extension to update her understanding of social media marketing and prepare herself for the American market.

What made you choose UCSC Extension?

Prior to joining UCSC Extension, I already had a B.S. in computer engineering and an M.B.A. in marketing and international business. I worked for close to five years at leading consumer products goods companies like Unilever and WPP-Kantar  in India. I moved to the Bay Area after I got married, as my husband’s job is in Silicon Valley. Once here, I started looking at different avenues to upgrade my skills. When I had completed my M.B.A. in 2008, social media didn’t have the presence it does now. I chose Extension because of the courses it offered and the F1 visa it provided. The international student advisor came across as very experienced on subject matters related to international students; she is very helpful.

What courses stood out to you?

I liked “Search Engine Marketing,” “Power of Market Research,”  “Advanced Social Media Marketing,” “Integrated Marketing Communication” and “Project Leadership and Communication,” a project management course. I had worked before in a market research position, and so I was excited to revisit what I had learned and upgrade my skills. In “Power of Market Research,” I presented a study on the usage and attitude of millennials in the U.S. toward social media. I researched which social media channels they use, when they use them, and for what purpose. Back in India, we had to do more face-to-face interviews and research, so I was interested in looking at online research techniques, using platforms like Survey Monkey and Survey Gizmo.

Describe your internship experience.

I interned with AdviseHub.com, a legal tech startup based in Sunnyvale. It was a very good experience because although I already had years of marketing experience, I got to learn how the Bay Area works. Our startup was based out of the Plug and Play Tech Center, where a lot of startups share space.

Every Wednesday we went to a mentorship session as a part of startup camp, where we reviewed what happened the week before. I utilized all my marketing knowledge from digital marketing (social media marketing  and search engine optimization) to traditional marketing (branding exercise, talking with radio companies and outdoor advertising groups). I launched advertising for the company from A-Z; one of my biggest accomplishments was improving the search engine ranking of the website and organizing a radio talk show for the CEO, which helped in increasing awareness about the services this company offered.

Soni completed the certificate in Marketing Management in fall 2014 and is interested in pursuing a career in marketing in Silicon Valley.

Visit our Marketing Management page to learn about UCSC Extension’s unique offerings. For information on services and programs for international students, please visit our International Programs page.

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