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Christine Cuoco – Twitter & Harvard: She Is Innovative, Curious, And Sincere

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Christine Cuoco, Senior Director of Global Business Marketing, Twitter

Alumna of Harvard Business School (MBA, 2004) and Dartmouth College (BA, 1998: Math)

In three years, Christine Cuoco has built Twitter’s North American marketing team and now reports to the Chief Marketing Officer, leading more than 50 marketers working with the sales team and advertisers in Twitter’s offices around the world. After starting her career on Wall Street and earning a Harvard MBA to transition to marketing, she excelled in roles strengthening new subscriber marketing at Time Inc. and brand strategy at American Express. Learn why her Wall Street foundation serves her well in technology, and the lessons that continue to shape her success.

What do you love about your job?

I love my Twitter colleagues and the fact that, together, we’re creating something with a lasting impact.

What attracted you to tech?

I was drawn to Twitter, even more than tech, and wanted to help build something at a company with a mission that mattered to me.

Similar to aspects of Wall Street, there are three elements of tech that will keep me in the industry: 1. fast pace; 2. constant change; 3. continual learning. I think the pace at Twitter is quicker than Wall Street. While Wall Street is an intense place to work, in tech you’re often building businesses that haven’t existed before.

As a marketer today, why did you start your career on Wall Street?

When I was earning my bachelor’s degree, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my career. I majored in math to address my love for problem solving and mainly took liberal arts classes to satisfy my curiosity about the world. Dartmouth’s career services office was also excellent and connected me with internships at Sesame Workshop, J.P. Morgan, and PwC.

While I really enjoyed working at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind “Sesame Street,” I had an unpaid internship and college is expensive. I also appreciated J.P. Morgan’s culture as an intern. Many colleagues were friendly and eager to explain their roles. I ultimately started my career there developing fixed income investment strategies for institutional clients because I knew a Wall Street training program would also give me a business education on the job.

What inspired you to pursue your MBA?

I decided to go to business school after four years on Wall Street. I had some tremendous managers, and one of them said, “Look around. Whose shoes do you want to fill?” When I couldn’t identify a role, I knew I had to find my passion. I also believe that who you work with matters more than anything, but realized colleagues couldn’t be the entire inspiration for your job when I saw some people move on after a merger. I learned finding the right combination of passion and people makes me happy—and that’s not easy.

What have been some keys to your success?

Throughout my career, I haven’t defined myself—or my skill set—narrowly. I never called myself a banker or publisher. I sought out a variety of jobs at American Express, but never considered myself someone “selling credit cards.” Looking back, I realize this made me evaluate my next opportunity broadly, without worrying about the title or having every desired job qualification.

What has been your biggest business lesson?

Your personal brand matters more than anything—your reputation, integrity, and sincerity. You take that everywhere.

If you had to pick a career “wow moment,” what would it be?

In 2013 I joined the new agency development team at Twitter to make a more obvious impact through my work. One of the first things we did was build a significant partnership with a global agency holding company. I worked with three people to get the partnership developed and signed in a few months. It brought together skills developed throughout my career and allowed me to work on a small, fun team and know I was a crucial part of that work. At a big company, work like this takes longer, and requires more people to execute.

What can younger professionals learn from your path?

To my surprise, I’ve found most of my jobs through “loose connections.” When I transitioned to marketing, I had coffee with a Dartmouth alum who spoke in one of my classes about his role at Time Inc., and five years later he offered me a job. When I was looking at American Express, I went out for drinks with a friend, and her friend knew someone at the company who got me my first interview. With Twitter, I got an unexpected intro to someone building a team.

I was lucky, but I was also prepared. I knew what I was looking for in each instance and could clearly articulate my value and goals.

Recent Forté volunteer experience: Speaker at Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference
Her role model: “I don’t have just one. There are aspects of managers I’ve had over the years that I treasure: deep subject matter expertise, intelligence, forward-looking leadership, warmth, etc. One manager pushed me outside my comfort zone and let me take an improv class to build my confidence with speaking up because I’m a quieter person.”
Words of wisdom that inspire her: Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.
Song that makes her turn up the volume: Whatever is on!

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