Since graduating from the Business School (formerly Cass) in 2016, Francisca Posada-Brown (MSc Marketing, Strategy and Innovation, 2016) has had a whirlwind career taking her across three continents and five different roles. We caught up with Francisca to find out more about her time at the Business School and how her career has developed since leaving.
Something that stands out in Francisca’s memory of her time at the Business School is the foundational level of understanding that the course provided her: “the ability to get a 360-view of marketing before starting a career meant that when I went into different companies, I had some really strong basic skills that I didn’t realise I had until I was in a situation where I needed to use them”. She adds that she loved how international her fellow students were: “[it] was great because I was just exposed to so many people from diverse backgrounds and experiences and I think that was a great foundation for going into the workplace”.
During her time at the Business School, Francisca was awarded the Business School Marketors’ Scholarship Award by the Worshipful Company of Marketors which, alongside financial assistance, provided her with access to “a central hub of excellence” within the marketing field. She was also partnered with a mentor who she is still in touch with today! As part of the scholarship Francisca selected her dissertation topic collaboratively with the Marketors, which she explains was “really valuable” as it allowed her to see her Master’s in the broader context of the workplace.
But how has Francisca’s career developed since graduating? She tells us, “I would say, so far my career has very much been exploring the top of the ‘T’. When we talk about the T-shape, it’s the breadth and depth: you want to broaden your skills and then have depth in a more specific skill set. I’ve definitely been doing the breadth bit so far!” Having started her career as a Digital Marketing Strategist at MVF, Francisca got an overview of the digital and metric based side of marketing. She then successfully joined the WPP Fellowship programme, a three-year leadership track designed to give participants a wide range of experiences within the marketing disciplines, “it was a really exciting opportunity to travel and get that broad experience”.
Francisca told us how her career progressed and changed throughout the three-year programme:
“Once I got into that I spent three years rotating around different companies: I started in brand strategy in London which was really interesting. It meant I was able to start at the foundation, learning about how to position and differentiate brands across all sorts of industries… Then I moved to client management in Singapore for a media agency which was an amazing opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture and discipline… I got great access to working with new people, learning, and bringing my brand skills to a media agency in a completely new region. And then eventually I moved to New York – pre-pandemic – and made a move from doing client work in marketing, to working internally on the people team at a different media agency. I did that because people are at the heart of my interest in marketing: understanding human behaviour, influencing organisational change and communication, and telling powerful stories are avenues to empowering people as much as they are ways to building successful brands. So that’s where I am now, in the same company but I’ve moved to back London.”
Such a varied career is bound to have its challenges, but Francisca explains that her overriding feeling is one of gratitude “I feel extremely privileged in the journey I have had”. If she had to draw out one challenge then it would be the ability to adapt to change, something which has characterised her career so far, “it’s really important to be able to adapt and adjust and have empathy… So, I think the biggest challenge has been truly honing that skill… not just being able to deal with change, but actively using change as an opportunity to put yourself in the shoes of others, and of course trying to thrive amidst change.”
To close our conversation, Francisca shares some advice for other recent graduates who are just starting their careers: “I would probably sum it up as: help others, ask for help and thank those who help you”. To explain this advice in more depth, Francisca breaks down this advice into its three individual points:
Help others: “helping others is about saying ‘yes’. So, if someone asks you to do a menial task in your first job, see that is an opportunity to learn, to build trust, to strengthen relationships. There is always a learning opportunity in helping others… you never know what kind of opportunities will arise from that later down the line.”
Ask for help: “You don’t have to go it alone. Especially when you are starting out, you think you have to show yourself to know what you are doing and be competent… but I think asking for help is the most powerful thing you can do because it takes courage. It also shows people that you trust them and want to do the best job you can. It’s not a sign of weakness”.
Thank those who help you: “Obviously, thanking those who help you applies to everything… follow up with people, thank them, touch base every so often with those who have had an impact on your career… because people remember these things”.