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Finlandia Success: Carley Saint-Onge ’15

May 31, 2017

This month’s Finlandia University alumni success story is focusing on Carley Saint-Onge – a graduate of Finlandia’s International School of Business. Saint-Onge is now working in marketing for Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas. In this question-and-answer session, she talks about the world of small schools compared to big schools, digital marketing, business-to-business marketing compared to business-to-consumer marketing, what it was like to move to a new region and what she remembers best about her time at FinnU.

Finlandia Success Carley Saint-Onge

MEET Carley Saint-Onge

  • Major: Business
  • Graduation Year: 2015
  • Hometown: Marquette, Michigan
  • Current Location: Dallas, Texas
  • Job: Digital Marketing Program Manager at Texas Instruments
Where has your career gone in the 18 months since graduating from Finlandia?

Since graduating from Finlandia, I’ve moved to Dallas, Texas and started my career in a marketing position at Texas Instruments. I’m currently in a three-year rotational program, where I will have two 18-month rotations. My title is Digital Marketing Program Manager and I am in charge of implementing global digital marketing strategies and programs for the amplifier product lines at TI. In short, I work to get electrical design engineers to design with and buy amplifiers that enable your everyday electronics, like smartphones, computers, TVs, etc. from our TI.com website. Since being in the role, I’ve learned how to manage communications to our world-wide customers through various marketing channels.

How has working in a corporate atmosphere worked out for you?

In my year and half of working in a corporate setting, it’s been interesting to learn how a corporation operates. With over 30,000 employees across the world, it’s important to have systems and processes in place, especially in marketing to ensure we are speaking to the TI brand in one voice. I’m a structure-oriented person, so the processes work well for me. It allows me to be consistent, efficient, but still a creative marketer. On a day-to-day basis, I work within the company’s best practices, but the skills and behaviors that I’ve developed in the corporate atmosphere can be applied elsewhere too.

You also had an internship at a smaller organization, how did that compare?

I often think back to my internship in the communications department at Lundin Mining Corporation’s Eagle Mine in Humboldt, Michigan. I worked regularly with five people in our department. I knew the specifics of what the others were working on and had a relatively easy time staying aligned across the organization. Compared to my current role, I still have a general idea of what my peers are working on, but staying aligned and interconnected across the entire company can be challenging. On the other hand, working in corporate is as big as you make it, meaning you could network and meet someone new every day if you wanted to. Either way, no matter how big the company is, you learn the goals and objectives of that organization and how you play a vital role in the success.

You’re now located in Dallas, Texas, which is quite different than the Upper Peninsula. What are some of the things you’re liking about life down south?

I’m a small-town girl at heart – I grew up with all of my family and friends within a 10-minute drive. It was an adjustment moving to a city with a population of almost two million people, but it was a change I wanted to take on. I love all things that have to do with the warm weather – golf, tennis, running and being at the pool, so moving to the south was a no-brainer. I would never have guessed I’d be working for a Fortune 500 semiconductor company, but here I am and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it so far. Dallas itself is a pretty unique place. We have great food, shopping, parks, museums, sports, music and other entertainment. If you’ve never been to Texas, I definitely suggest you visit – just not in the summer when it’s 100 degrees!

When you look back at your Finlandia experience, what was your favorite part?

My favorite thing about Finlandia is the close-knit atmosphere and how everyone there is your biggest cheerleader. I spent three years at Michigan State University, which is a huge school with over 50,000 students. I didn’t know my professors on a close level, and what they knew about me was whether I was passing or failing their class. At Finlandia, I had close relationships with several of my professors – some, in fact, I still communicate with from time to time. Even now, being asked to do this interview is a pretty cool thing. It shows that the school really does care about you – especially what you’re up to after you get your diploma. That kind of encouragement isn’t present in large schools and I know that because I was fortunate enough to experience both.

What can you tell us about digital marketing as a career path?

In school, we learn about traditional, business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, but digital marketing is unique and growing as everything is transitioning to the web. If you’re like me and spend a majority of your time on the internet, you’ve already gotten a great head start on having a career in digital marketing. It’s a fast-paced, creative and rewarding career. Unlike most traditional marketing, in digital marketing, you can see the results you are driving through customer intelligence and data analytics from the web. The consumer behavior to buy goods and services on the web is not going away anytime soon, so if you have an interest in marketing, I highly suggest going the digital route.

It sounds like your work is mostly in the business-to-business (B2B) spectrum. What do you like about that?

B2B marketing is similar in many ways to B2C marketing, with the main difference being that the B2B audience is employees whose job it is to create new products. There aren’t as many suppliers in B2B marketing, especially in the semiconductor industry, so it is a matter of making sure TI products are displayed to the customer on the web at the right time, in the right place and with the most relevant content. In B2B marketing, I like that you have a more focused group and you don’t have to fight through the marketing noise quite as much as you would in B2C. 

If you could give advice to a business student who is nearing graduation, what would it be?

Three things – find an internship that is relevant, start preparing for a transition and leverage the people that you know. Finding an internship that is relevant to the career path you want to take is very important because you will gain valuable on-the-job type experiences that you wouldn’t have otherwise. For example, in my internship, I learned how to effectively run a meeting, manage projects, and communicate professionally and concisely. Managing and working with people is not a skill you can get just by reading a text book. My other piece of advice is to start preparing yourself for the transition from college student to business professional. At school, you’re working on assignments and trying to get a good grade on the final exam so you can be done with the subject and move onto the next one. In a career, you’re working on projects that may take six months to a year to complete and doing it is only as a sub-task to an even larger objective. It takes some adjusting and getting used to as you enter the work force. Lastly, leverage the people that you know. It can be uncomfortable asking for help getting a foot in the door at a company, but it’s an effective way to help land the job you want. I found out about the marketing rotation program at TI through a relative who has worked for the company for over 30 years. I was able to get my job by leveraging the experienced people around me.

This article on 2015 alumna Carley Saint-Onge is part of a regularly produced series titled Finlandia Success. E-mail alumni@finlandia.edu to suggest alumni who might make a great feature in the next Finlandia Success story.

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