Early Lessons Learned as the New Managing Editor of the Applied Integrated Communications Class

Post created by Jace Gersten
Applied IMC (Winter 2023)

After starting my role as Managing Editor/Managing Director for this quarters AIMC class, I had very little knowledge of what my job would entail, and to be honest 20 days in I still don’t know what is coming next, but that that is just part of the process. In my opinion there is no better way to learn than to be thrown into a situation that you are unfamiliar with, try to figure it out and learn from your mistakes. Or to put it simply with one of my new favorite quotes adopted from my professor, Dan Purdy, “fail forward.”

Not even a month into my position, I have already learned a couple of important lessons. Be proactive in addressing problems and organize and to meet with your team early. As managing director along with my two other classmates on the executive team (Sara Slone & Karlie Kildall), it is ultimately our responsibility to make sure that the solutions from our 6 product managers are feasible, differentiated from each other, and solve the goals and objectives from our client, Ed Love, (director of the marketing department). This seems like a pretty straightforward task until you realize you are already stuck on the first step: understand your clients goals and set measurable objectives for your team. We already knew from the previous quarter that we would have to further clarify with our client exactly what our objectives were and how to quantify them. So far, this process is coming along somewhat smoothly. We met with our client early in the quarter, and even though we were working with the marketing department; a non-profit, that doesn’t have easy marketing objectives like “increase gross profit by 5%” we were still able to conjure up some objectives that were quantifiable and could be passed to our team.   

Although our new objectives were not perfect, they were  good enough and our product managers hit the ground running. They met with their own teams and started brainstorming products that would satisfy the objectives of our client. About a week went by with the product managers team’s  progressing when I learned my next lesson of the quarter. Karlie, Sara, and I realized that a few of the teams had very similar product ideas. To no fault of their own, we had 3 out of 6 teams positioned to create video content as their product all aimed at the same target market and all 3 having similar concepts. As I said, this was not their fault and something I probably should have seen coming since I had faced the same issue during my time as a product manager. The previous quarter when I was in their shoes, our class faced almost the same issue. We had roughly 5 different target markets from the marketing major to serve. Potential students, current students, and early, mid, and late career alumni. Big surprise, most of us chose current students as our target market, because we are current students, we are already familiar with this group, and who doesn’t want to work on solving problems for themselves and their peers! The reason I wish I had seen this coming is because it likely could have been prevented or minimized if our team as a whole (PM’s and the executive team) had been communicating clearer and working together earlier. Fostering our team chemistry sooner would have allowed us to work together to understand all the teams involved and diversify our solutions.

With that all being said, this quarter is only just starting and I am very confident in our teams ability to stay agile and my own ability to learn and improve from my mistakes. Don’t be afraid to try something new and fail forward!