Strategic Marketing Communication Student is Ready for a Creative Future

Kate Dubovikova posing on a New York City sidewalk
Kate Dubovikova, current SMC graduate student

Do you have a passion for creativity and marketing? Want to make a difference with branding and campaigns? Today we are interviewing Kate Dubovikova, a second-year graduate student in Emerson’s Strategic Marketing Communication (SMC) program. She’ll share what it’s like to study SMC at Emerson, what her experience has been, and where she’s going after graduation. 

What led you to Emerson?

Originally from Russia, Kate’s first degree was a specialist degree in Linguistics and Intercultural Communication. Because of her background in communication, Emerson’s emphasis on communication in marketing appealed to Kate. “Instead of just focusing on the data side of marketing, the program focuses on the communication side of things, and storytelling is a big part of it,” she explains. “When I saw that, I thought, ‘Wow, this isn’t just the program I need for my career, it’s also very interesting.’”

Kate talked to the SMC Graduate Program Director, Brenna McCormick, about the program before enrolling. Their conversation was part of the reason Kate chose  Emerson. “My first call with Brenna is what really stood out to me in the application process; we connected on a lot of ideas, and Brenna’s enthusiasm for the profession and marketing was contagious enough to bring me on board. I hear the same thing from many other students.”

What’s the difference between earning your bachelor’s and earning your master’s?

“At Emerson, the classes are about real life,” Kate says. In her bachelor’s degree, Kate learned primarily through lectures about theory, with no focus on real life applications. At Emerson, she has enjoyed the number of group projects and open class discussions because they help her practice strategic marketing skills she will need in the professional world. 

What does your typical day look like?

Kate works two part-time jobs, and that’s usually how she spends her mornings and afternoons. After dinner, she will either head to class or study. Most SMC classes are in the evening, which makes the program convenient for working professionals. Kate is in two classes this semester, which is an average course load for the program. 

Do you feel connected in the program?

“Definitely,” Kate says. “I feel really connected with my peers. Especially since we work on so many group projects, we really get to know one another in the program.” Kate often sees her classmates outside of school and looks forward to the monthly departmental events, where all the SMC students and faculty spend time together. 

Following the department on social media also helps Kate stay connected with her Strategic Marketing Communication peers. One of her friends runs the department’s Instagram, and the SMC LinkedIn page is a great place for her to find professional connections and opportunities. 

Additionally, Kate feels well supported by her professors. All the professors in the program have regular office hours, where students can either ask class-specific questions or questions about internships and career opportunities. Plus, most faculty are located on the 7th and 8th floors of 120 Boylston, so they are easily accessible to students. 

What careers are SMC students prepared  for after graduation?

“There are so many career options,” Kate says. “That’s the beauty of marketing and this program. Even our program’s tagline says ‘Everyone needs marketing. Marketing needs everyone.’ So true as it is applicable in so many industries.” For example, in Kate’s capstone course, students take on many different professional roles, such as brand managers, public relations  managers, promotion managers, digital marketing, brand strategists, and creative directors, all of which are possible careers for SMC students. 

Two creative marketers brainstorming with sticky notes
Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

What have been your favorite courses?

“The Creative Thinking class was a nice surprise. I had never thought of something like that, but it was really interesting to learn how to maintain your creativity in the field.” In fact, the course work in this class inspired Kate’s future goals. After graduation, she hopes to become a Creative Director or Creative Strategist.

Apart from her Creative Thinking class, Kate really enjoyed her Design Communication course. In the class, students participated in a 4-day design sprint project, where they identified an existing problem and had to design a solution, prototype their solution, and showcase the prototype. The final project of the course was designing a website, so Kate left the class with her own personal website. “I think these projects show how much value the program brings to your development, and I think in marketing that’s what employers look for,” she explains.

Two marketing students work at a whiteboard
Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

“Follow your gut,” Kate says. “If you like the program, go for it, and don’t overthink.” Kate herself was at an orientation for another program when she realized the school was not a good fit for her. “With Emerson, as soon as I stepped on campus, I knew this was the place for me. They helped me transfer all my paperwork before I started at the other school, and it’s been great ever since.”

What’s next after graduation?

Kate would like to work as a Creative Director or Creative Strategist after graduation. She’s very interested in working at a marketing agency because most of her experience is with internal marketing. While she’s sad to graduate and leave Emerson in May, Kate feels well prepared for a bright future.

For more information about Emerson’s Strategic Marketing Communication program, please visit their website or reach out to our Graduate Admissions team.

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Olivia is a second-year student in Emerson's Communication Disorders MS program. Originally from Ohio, she is loving Emerson and city life. When she's not writing for the Grad Life blog, she loves to read, bake, and crochet.

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