Grenoble École de Management graduate Jasmin Schawalder is one who is benefitting from the data deluge.
She heads up the marketing department at big data start-up OpenSignal, which crowdsources data on mobile phone signal and Wi-Fi coverage, in London, one of Europe’s biggest start-up scenes.
Jasmin has more than a decade of experience in the tech marketing space, working first for Samsung and Nokia in Switzerland before, after her MBA, moving to London to work for Silicon Valley-based mobile security start-up Lookout.
A lover of all things tech, Jasmin sees big data analytics as an integral component to business.
Why did you decide to pursue a career working in technology?
You can’t stand still in technology. I’m constantly learning about new social media tools, new apps and new start-up business models in the tech scene every day. I love that learning aspect.
How is big data changing the business world?
We’ve become a very data-driven society. I think that nowadays, if you don’t have data to make a decision, you probably shouldn’t make a decision.
How have you seen digitization change marketing over the past decade?
Mobile is everything now! People spend much more time on mobile than on laptops on the web. And people watch TV with their phones in their hands, so the whole TV advertising landscape has changed a lot as well.
If you have a TV advert, you should connect it to the internet in some way. There should be YouTube versions of it, and you should add a URL to it or an action for searching [on] Google.
What advice do you have for MBAs looking to pursue a career in marketing?
I’d recommend working in a marketing agency. If you work for one particular brand, you will only know about that industry and that brand. In an agency you might be working with a car manufacturer, a food company, a cosmetics company, a charity — companies which all have different targets and different demands. You get to see so much and learn so many new skills.
I also don’t think you need to study marketing. You need to study business and you need to understand about return on investment and profit because, in the end, the main goal of marketing is sales.
Why do you think increasing numbers of MBAs are looking to work in start-ups over big corporate firms?
Start-ups often need someone who can bring expertise in different areas of the business. In a start-up you’re not bound to a specific field; I get pulled into meetings with sales, finance and technical guys all the time.
What is the future for women in business?
I don’t think we’re standing still.
So many different aspects of society are changing [their attitudes to women]: education, parenting and the workplace. Silicon Valley is setting such a good example.
[But] it’s really not about your gender, cultural background or skin color anymore.
In the start-up world I’ve never felt that I’m at a disadvantage because I’m a woman.
How can business schools contribute to bridging the gender gap?
Schools can have a big impact. At Grenoble, we studied English law and were taught a lot about gender equality….There were very heated debates! For many of the men attending the MBA, this was the first time they were forced to think about equality in careers and in the workplace.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Grenoble École de Management?
Moving from Switzerland, I knew I needed more assets to compete in the London job market.
Grenoble is a well-known, well-ranked school, which offers good quality at a good price.
How have you profited from your MBA experience?
I really learnt how to work with different cultures in diverse groups. Sometimes just sitting down and discussing something for an hour [with a diverse group] is more productive than being individualistic.
What are your plans for the future?
I definitely want to stay with OpenSignal. There’s so much work to do and things I want to achieve. Running the team, hiring more people and growing the brand are my goals right now.