About Katheryn Kim: Katheryn Kim has worked for Pivotal Practices Consulting in Greenbelt, Maryland for over four years. She started there as an intern in 2015 while pursuing her bachelor’s degree, and is now a Business Development Manager at the firm. In addition to her work at Pivotal Practices, Ms. Kim volunteers her communication skills with organizations such as KindWorks and Manna Food Center.
Ms. Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Maryland College Park. She completed her master’s in 2018 through Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program.
[MastersinCommunications.com] May we please have a brief description of your educational and professional background?
[Katheryn Kim] For my undergraduate degree, I attended the University of Maryland College Park and I received my bachelor’s in Communications. During my time at Maryland, I received an internship at a consulting firm for providing Business Development tasks. In that internship, there was a lot of communication involved, both internally and externally. The President of the company loved my work ethic so much that she provided me a job six months prior to my graduation. Four years later, I am still here, as a Business Development Manager at Pivotal Practices Consulting.
In my current role, I attend various meetings and conferences. I network at least once a week. Meeting team partners or potential clients is a key factor of my job, because you never know who you are going to meet within this business. On top of my face-to-face communications, there are various amounts of e-communications. This is where all the follow-ups come into play when I meet people at conferences or meetings. Emails are critical when working with the public sector; making this the main communication channel with my federal government clients.
Being at Pivotal for the past four years has made me excel in communicating with others. I am constantly communicating with different people in this business and I have grown so confident in myself that I am now independently presenting to key stakeholders when making contract decisions.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree in communication, and why did you ultimately choose the Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program at Georgetown University?
[Katheryn Kim] When I received my bachelor’s degree in Communications, I wanted to learn more. I knew a bachelor’s wasn’t the end of my educational journey. Communications is a broad spectrum of a major; I can go in all various directions. But I wanted to benefit from the program for my current job; therefore, I looked at universities who offered Marketing Communications programs.
Georgetown is a prestigious university that I dreamed to go to. When I saw the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program, I thought this is perfect. It’s marrying the two majors that I love, and this will be a great return on investment. Also, my aunt and uncle attended there, therefore I wanted to follow their paths and have a notable accomplishment.
Throughout the program, I have learned to be more strategic in marketing. Being in the program you learn a lot of tactics that are applicable to your career. Also, having professors who have an esteemed credibility within marketing helps put in perspective that these scenarios can happen. They provided their case studies on how they resolved certain challenges within their field. The professors at Georgetown are great advocates for the students. Even after the semester is over, if I still have a question, they are willing to help.
[MastersinCommunications.com] How is Georgetown’s IMC program structured, and what concepts did the program emphasize? What skills and strategies did you learn in your classes, and how did you apply them to course assignments?
[Katheryn Kim] The Georgetown IMC program is broken down to three parts:
- Two core courses
- Three foundation courses
- Six elective courses
The two core courses are Conversations to Ethics, which is to be taken at the beginning of the program, and Capstone, which is to be taken at the end of the program. The three foundation courses are preferably to be taken within the first two semesters at Georgetown. These are classes that are the baseline and, in my opinion, the most important. The six electives courses in the program go from learning about digital marketing to learning about who you are as a brand (Personal Branding). There is an array of classes that are complementary to the program. Therefore, whichever class you choose, you really can’t go wrong.
The key skill set I have learned is time management. You have to learn how to be your own project manager, being mindful of your time is critical in the program. For example, one research assignment is due within two weeks; therefore you cannot procrastinate until the night before. That was a mistake I do not intend to make again. Every assignment takes a lot of time and thorough effort. This is not like undergrad! But ever since that assignment has passed, I got a planner and I made sure I had enough time for each assignment and that I will not miss a deadline.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please describe your experience completing your capstone project? What communication issue or challenge did it address, and what were your primary deliverables (i.e. communications plan, tutorial, video, visual marketing materials, etc.)? What advice do you have for students in terms of successfully completing their project?
[Katheryn Kim] My experience for capstone is an interesting case for sure. There was a café I really liked; it was brand new, they were under just a year in business. I presented my pitch to them in taking them as my client, and they agreed immediately. Throughout the project, there were constant changes of direction for the business. For example, they wanted to market heavily on their new idea of bringing a bar to the other side of the café. I did not agree with that idea, but I went ahead and did the research. Within six weeks into the project I have conducted interviews and surveys, using Statista, Mintel, and Google. After I got the research done, the client decided to change direction on the business by focusing on the café. My advisor met with me on a bi-weekly basis to aid me in the right direction and after hearing the constant changes, I had to bring this matter to my professor.
In conclusion, the business closed within two weeks of my final day in capstone. I spoke with my advisor and my professor and the best choice was to go ahead and still present to my faculty and my colleagues; cause the show must go on.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What key takeaways, experiences, or connections from Georgetown’s MPS in Integrated Marketing Communications program have you found to be the most helpful for you in your career path?
[Katheryn Kim] From my experience in the program, the foundation courses were the most beneficial. I have learned so much in Brand Concept, Consumer Research, and IMC Strategy. These courses helped me tremendously for my capstone. Without them, I would have not met the expectations of this program and received my degree. Georgetown has helped introduce me to the latest developments in communication technology, I just wished that I had more time in the program to take more courses within this realm. But I do still use the IMC campaign 10-step strategy to my professional career when I plan a strategic plan for the company.
My second takeaway is the connections I have met through the program. The students in the program are within a similar career path. I have met the most bright-minded people here and everyone thinks differently, therefore it brings dynamic conversations to the table.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What advice would you give students just starting Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marking Communications program? More broadly, what advice would you give students who are either considering or starting a master’s in communication program, whether it be at Georgetown or another university?
[Katheryn Kim] I would say to prospective students who are considering a master’s in communication program to “take your time with the program.” Most students at Georgetown are full-time career professionals. Therefore, taking classes after your 9-to-5 job can be mentally draining. One semester, I had taken three classes, making me a full-time student. Not only was I not performing my best, I was mentally drained to the point where I was not taking care of myself. It was the worst semester I have ever done, based on my grades. The following semester, I decided to take only two classes and I could handle the rest of my life so much better.
So, take your time. At Georgetown, they give you up to six years to finish the program. Everyone has a different timeline; don’t try to catch up to someone else, because at the end of the day you will receive that same degree.
Thank you, Ms. Kim, for your excellent insights on Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marking Communications program!