How science, a bathroom stall and brown shoes led me to the IMC program


Hello to all the IMC students and those searching for a master’s program. My name is Amy Clausen and I’m going to be sharing my experiences with you over the next few months. I thought I would start with a bit of background and what led me to the IMC program.

hazmatI graduated with a B.S. degree in molecular biology back in 1993. I remember how excited I was to get my first job in a lab, only to realize that it was a whole lot of repetitive tasks such as hours upon hours of being donned in a getup that was just shy of a hazmat suit while I sat in a sterile room pouring cell culture media. Half a year later and a couple of crazy co-workers, I found myself in another lab doing endless pipetting day after day. I was only a year into my career and wanted to find a new one (sidenote: I have tremendous appreciation for those who can do research all day as its a critical part of our advancement in medicine and science – its just not me).

The bathroom scene:

In the public bathroom at the lab I was working at, I was talking to another one of my co-workers about how bored I was of the job. I thought all the stalls were empty but the was mortified when I heard a flush. I glanced over to notice a pair of brown shoes. I quickly washed my hands and headed out for some more mindless pipetting. Later that afternoon as I was sitting at my cubicle entering the data into an excel spreadsheet, I happened to notice those same brown shoes walking by. I looked up to realize that those brown shoes were attached to the feet of my current boss (sigh). Yep, we made eye contact and we both knew that the conversation was heard. But instead of making my life miserable, she did me the greatest favor of all time.

Making the move to marketing:

My current boss in the lab happened to be friends with the marketing director at the biotech company I was working for. The marketing director was looking for an assistant and how lucky for me, my boss figured I was perfect for the job, knowing that I was bored to death of being in the lab. And that’s how it all began. Ever since making the move into marketing back in 1995, I had been self-educating and reading just about every book I could relating to marketing. I was fortunate to work my way up and transfer to another biotech company that I am currently working for now. It was the best move I could have ever made and have loved being able to use my science degree in a non-lab position.

So why the IMC program or better yet, why the IMC program after being on the job for 16 years?

Several reasons:

  1. Focused and relevant program.
    The days of spray and pray marketing are over (you know – spray your message to the masses and pray that it sticks to someone). When I started in marketing in 1995, the internet was just starting to make its debut. To be accurate, it was called the world wide web and all our marketing materials specifically said “visit us on the world wide web at”. Can you imagine? When’s the last time you called it the world wide web (or included the www for that matter) or had to tell people what that meant? Mass advertising was the common approach. That’s all changed now. With the rise of social media channels, interactivity online, smartphones, tablets/ereaders etc., consumers control what they want to read, when they want to read it and how they want to access it. It’s no longer the marketers decision as to what to put out there and how (unless you of course want to be ignored). I wanted a program that would emphasize the newest platforms/approaches/channels/tactics etc. You can’t get a better program than the courses offered in the IMC at WVU that gives you 13 solid classes covering every topic from PR to consumer promotions to cause marketing to creative strategy to emerging media to marketing research to web analytics to mobile marketing and on and on and on. I didn’t want an MBA that focused all on business and gave me 4 high-level overview classes of marketing. If you’re up against the MBA in the next marketing interview, who do you think will be more competitive considering the marketing environment today?
  2. Flexibility.
    I am a full-time working mom of 3 kids. My job requires me to travel at times with client visits and conferences. The last thing I wanted was to be tied to a classroom. The IMC program allows me to sit on the sidelines of the soccer field while I watch out of one eye and type my posts on my iphone at the same time. Sure, it means I multi-task, but that’s a whole lot better than missing the games because I am sitting in a classroom. I’ve completed posts on an airplane and sitting aside the Mediteranean Sea in Israel for business. It goes where you go and you do it on your own time (which sometimes means at 1 am – but I choose when it works for me, not the other way around).
  3. Diversity and credibility. 
    I would be as bold to say you won’t find a program with as diverse a student base covering all corners of the country, all levels of the workforce with an incredible cross-section of backgrounds. The professors aren’t by-the-book kinds that are only in the classroom every day. They are out there in the thick of it with you. They have an enormous amount of experience of things that work and don’t work. The program is also attached to a physical brick and mortar school that is accredited. That was important to me in a time where online and virtual places are popping up all over. I didn’t want to find out that my degree was purchased from some guy in a garage somewhere.

So that’s the story that led me here today. What were some of the reasons that brought you to the IMC program? Or if you are still looking for a masters program,  what is it that you are looking for?

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3 Responses to “How science, a bathroom stall and brown shoes led me to the IMC program”

  1. Marjorie Waddoups Says:

    Hello Amy:

    What a great story!

    It took me decades (I am forty-something?) to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. My mom said I could sell the shirt off my back, and I loved flipping through magazines, not to read or check out the latest fashions, but study the ads. I was an ad junkie!

    I had a toddler in tow during my undergrad studies, so like you, I have a deep appreciation for sitting in the stands and watching her play volleyball, being there for her. I love my virtual classroom, I have learned more from classmates, professors and the IMC program than I could have possibly dreamed of. Good luck during the rest of your adventure on the world wide web.

    From this point forward, I have a renewed respect for bosses with brown shoes!


    ~Marjorie Waddoups

    • AClausen Says:

      Thanks for your note Marjorie. Sounds like you have some great natural skills for this field. Having good sales skills will help any marketer in understanding how marketing truly assists the sales process. Best of luck in the rest of your program as well!

  2. Using the Right Tools Makes a Big Difference « WVU IMC Student Blog Says:

    […] endeavors into an active life. As my fellow student ambassador Amy mentioned in her recent post, you can work on classwork anywhere. The ability to work on class assignments on the sidelines of […]

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