Tiffany Tran: Boundless curiosity spells success in marketing
Bachelor of Business Administration, 2014 | Henry W. Bloch School of Management
Title: Marketing strategist, Helzberg Diamonds
Hometown: Orange County, CA
Why did you choose UMKC?
I graduated from Liberty High School. I wanted to stay nearby but go into business. I had peers who attended UMKC who recommended the business program, so I thought, “okay, let’s do it!”
How did you choose your field of study?
Marketing allows me to be both analytical and creative. I didn’t truly find my niche in marketing until I took a Market Analysis class junior year. That is when I realized I really loved and appreciated data.
What was your favorite thing about UMKC?
My favorite thing was that the classes didn’t seem too big. It still felt personal. They were very small and intimate.
“My favorite thing was that the classes didn’t seem too big. It still felt personal. They were very small and intimate.”
Who was the most influential faculty or staff member at UMKC?
Assistant Professor Jeff Johnson was not only my professor, but also my sponsor when I was an intern at Infegy. He saw me through that entire process before I secured a full-time position. He’s really awesome and very helpful to his students.
Can you tell us more about your internship at Infegy, which then turned into a job?
Infegy is a software company. They aggregate social media data—blogs, forums, Facebook, Twitter, reviews—to help makes sense of online social dialogue. I did a lot of one-on-one client interviews, understanding the market and the landscape. I also created content by showing how amazing the software is, so it opens new doors for sales.
Do you have a favorite memory from UMKC?
In college, I wasn’t very good at was public speaking. In a class, Professor Johnson told us how, when he started working in the railroad industry, he didn’t speak up enough. His boss told him, “If you don’t speak up, you’re never going to advance.”
He conquered that by going through Toastmasters. That’s what led me to joining Toastmasters, and it’s been so great. I learned so much.
What did you learn about yourself at UMKC?
I learned that I was more data-driven than I even knew. Before pursing marketing as my career choice, I thought I wanted to be an accountant or work in finance because of its focus in numbers, but after a few intro classes, I quickly recognized I wanted a more creative field.
Do you have any advice for students entering UMKC?
Be proactive in joining clubs and participating in something. I did it later in my college years, but I wish I had done it sooner. All the relationships and people you meet and connect with—that’s so important.
For business students, especially those that are going into marketing, I would tell them: Marketing is very broad. Often people have a hard time honing in on what they really like or are good at. In your marketing classes, try to pinpoint things you enjoy. That will help you position yourself.
Tell us about your current position.
At Helzberg Diamonds, I help us understand the market forces that drive bridal jewelry purchases, uncover opportunities to grow the business, nurture key partnerships related to wedding, and work to streamline existing tactics for the bridal segment. I get a pretty good mix of being analytical, critical and creative!
What are the challenges of your field?
Simplicity is key in my field. Data can be daunting and finding patterns is only one part of the equation. The hard part, in my opinion, is condensing all of that information in a digestible format that answers the “So what?” factor. So what about this particular finding? Why should I care about this insight? Why should I listen to what you have to say?
What are the benefits?
I get to uncover human truths. These truths, for example, can help influence businesses in a variety of different ways, like fueling marketing strategies or informing new product development.
What is one word that best describes you and why?
Curious. I am always questioning everything. It’s sort of like a never-ending cycle of curiosity because I constantly want to dig even deeper by asking more questions!
Do you have a motto you live by?
No matter who you meet in your life or who you work with, you should always find one thing that you really love and admire about that person. Even in times when it’s really difficult.
What makes you unique?
I’m able to feel someone’s pain if something is bothering them. That helps me a lot in my job. When someone is talking to me one-on-one, I can sense if there’s something more to why they don’t like a particular tool.
What are your goals for the future?
I want to do a lot more philanthropy work to help single parents, troubled teens and children.
What’s your favorite place in Kansas City?
If there’s yummy food, I am there. Some of my favorite places to dine are Bluestem, Kokothai, and literally the only food truck I follow is Bochi Truck. Check them out!