DePaul University Career Center's Blog

How I Got The Job: Brand Partnership and Marketing

Zoe Parris

Negotiation, research, and public speaking are just a few of the many skills Brand Partnership Associates need on a day-to-day basis. If you have not heard of Brand Partnership and you’re a Marketing, PR & Advertising, or Communications major listen up!

Brand Partnership is all about helping brands build relationships with influencers, marketers, or ad agencies but this is not a one-man team. A Brand Partnership Manager coordinates a whole team to maximize staff productivity, lead promotional programs and sales initiatives, and assist with product launches, expansions, and the development of integrated marketing campaigns.

On February 16th, DePaul’s MCAE (Media, Communications, Arts, and Entertainment) career community hosted How I Got This Job: Brand Partnerships and Marketing, where MCAE Advisor Amy Do moderated a panel discussion with Yaritza Vallejo, Sydney Bickel, and Sara Moatamed.

Sara Moatamed is the VP of brand Partnerships at Zeta Global. Before Zeta, she was at iHeart Media, Amazon, and Epsilon. Sydney Bickel is a manager in Brand Partnerships at Instacart. Before that, also worked at Amazon in the ads department. Yaritza Vallejo is a Brand Partnerships and Experience Specialist at McDonald’s. Before that, she was at Deloitte and was also an intern at Amazon.

Here are some major takeaways:

“What do you do?”

Sydney: “The most simple way to put what we do is when you guys are on the internet consuming your content on Cosmo or CNN or New York Times and there are those ads that you see along the side. That is essentially what we sell.”

Sara: “I would say that I help brands reach new customers and maintain their current customers.”

“Do you feel like what you studied in college is aligned with your current career?”

Sara: “I studied communications, specifically PR and advertising. I wanted to be a retail buyer and I was very adamant that I was going to be so I started working. I was always obsessed with brands, and I think that actually was a great segue into what I’m doing today, just in a different realm, if you will. I just was always very brand obsessed and so, and very trend-obsessed.”

“How big are the teams that you work on? Have you had any recent projects?”

Sara: “My specific team is 15, but I also work cross-teams. So I would say probably on a day-to-day I’m probably interacting with, you know, 30-plus people. Currently, I’m launching my campaign for, Leslie’s Pool Supplies. Being from Chicago, I had no idea what that client was, but they’re actually huge in the southwest and northeast.

But we are right now trying to acquire net new pool owners because pools have become a very big commodity. I think what I loved about it was I was able to stretch the client in terms of their thinking, which is why I love what I do so much.

“To be a Brand Partner you gotta be a numbers person…”

Sydney: “ I never considered myself like a numbers person or a data-driven person at all but once I graduated, I got a job at Amazon in their ad sales department, focusing on e-commerce and digital advertising.

Your whole job is designed to tell a story with data, right? Building that narrative, trying to find the right strategy for your client. Using data, search trends, and consumer behavior. And when I got dropped into this job, I had never done anything like that. And so it was very overwhelming for me because of being thrown into the deep end, it forced me to become an expert. Now I’m the data person on my team and always am every time I switch to jobs or roles.

Which is very surprising because when I was younger, math was like my least favorite subject and I was so bad at it.”

“What tools do you utilize at your current job?”

Sara: “So a lot of times on calls, brands won’t tell you everything, right? There’s a lot of proprietary private data on info but if you just Google, for example, Abercrombie and Fitch’s investor report you can learn everything about their company. So when I’m doing research about a brand, I always dig into their investor report and learn their strategy. What they’re doing today, what their risks are, their competitors, what they’re scared about, and where they’re looking to go. And I love that resource.”

Seeking mentorship…

Sydney: “Finding mentors. That’s how I initially found my first few. Through internships that I had, I really liked either my manager at that time or my boss or the leader of the organization.

That’s how you get to like build those connections. And then once you do get your first job, I would say like still find those mentors that you can lean on. Once you get your feet on the ground, figure out who you feel safe with. As Sarah said, start to set up informational interviews with them or, coffee chats on Fridays to just try and like build that relationship with that person.”

The event hosted by the MCAE career community entitled “How I Got The Job: Brand Partnership and Marketing” is one of the many resources the Career Center provides to help students in their career exploration journey. If you would like to hear more about tech commonly used in these positions, getting used to dealing with numbers, questions to ask a prospective mentor, and more feel free to check out the full panel here.


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Book an appointment with Zoe or another member of the advising community through Handshake, or by calling the front desk at (773) 325-7431. 

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